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Explore the Capitol Hill of Canada

By Daniel Alcalá |

Walk up the Capitol Hill of Canada and climb the Ottawa parliament clock tower to enjoy the view from the tallest building of the city.  

Canada is one of the biggest countries in the world and it’s also one of the coldest. Also, it harbors many attractions, mainly natural, you just visit the Canadian Rockies to understand what we are talking about. Yet, the few cities that conform it stand out as touristic centers, such is the case of Vancouver, Quebec and Ottawa.

Ottawa, a Cultural City of Canada

One of said cities is Ottawa, this great country’s capital, and it’s located in the southeastern part of the territory, close to Toronto, Montreal and Quebec. In Ottawa you’ll find numerous places that are full of national emblematic monuments, many of them declared historic sites. Most of them are located in the oldest part of the city, known as Lower Town, between the Rideau Canal and the Ottawa River. There, the combination between nature and urban development is impressive, and to prove it, let’s just say that the Rideau Canal was declared Cultural Heritage by the UNESCO.

Ottawa is full of museums and art galleries, and even though you can drive across the city to visit them, DINKtravelers, your world travel guide, recommends making the tour on foot. This way you’ll be able to appreciate your destination much better and you won’t have trouble when you reach downtown, where it’s difficult to find parking lots.

The Capitol Hill of Canada

One important spot you should visit is the Parliament Hill of Ottawa, also known as “The Capitol Hill of Canada”. It’s a political and cultural center characterized by historic buildings that conform the Parliament premises. The development includes the Centre Block and the Peace Tower, both built in Neo-gothic style.

Originally, the Capitol Hill of Canada was planned as a great fortress because the terrains found in that area belonged to the monarchy. Besides, it had a privileged location because it was naturally protected by the Ottawa River. And in order to complement the scenery, we must point out that it was built in the middle of a beech and hemlock forest.

[Agregar foto de la colina del Parlamento y la Torre de la Paz de Ottawa]

Changing of the guard in the Capitol Hill of Canada

As in the Buckingham Palace in London, a changing of the guard is held at the Capitol Hill of Canada, even the guards wear the same outfit as the British Royal Guard: red jacket, black pants and big black hats. It is done everyday during the summer, since 1959 at 10:00 am. The perform is held in the Parliament Hill of Ottawa, among the Governor General’s Footguards and the Canadian Grenadier Guards, composed mainly by reservists. We advise you to arrive 15 minutes early so that you get a good place to see the changing of the guard in the Capitol Hill of Canada. Remember that this event is free and last approximately 30 minutes.

Ottawa Parliament Clock Tower in the Capitol Hill of Canada

On the other hand, the Ottawa parliament clock tower, formally named as the Peace Tower,  is famous for being the tallest tower in Ottawa and, actually, it’s not allowed to construct any other building that surpasses the tower in height. We recommend climbing to the top so you can enjoy one of the best views of the city. Its conception coincided with the end of the World War I, so in 1917 the Prime Minister Robert Borden dedicated this site as a memorial for the Canadians who fought in it.

The Clock

You will notice that the Peace Tower has a large clock. This was a gift from the United Kingdom to Canada in 1927, for the 60th anniversary of the Canadian Confederation. The original clock is no longer in operation and was replaced, but it is still display on the observatory deck of the tower.

The Gargoyles

Another characteristic feature of the Ottawa parliament clock tower are the stone carvings that form grotesque reliefs and gargoyles. The second ones are responsible for taking out the rain water from the Peace Tower, but they are not in use anymore.

Guided tours of the Capitol Hill of Canada and the Ottawa parliament clock tower are given hourly and they’re free. Best of all, local students will be your guides and we guarantee they’ll make a great experience out of your visit; quite fun, actually.

Events in the Capitol Hill of Canada

Canada Day

We recommend you to make your trip in summer, because it is when several music festivals are held, in which are invited renowned artists from all around the world. But, undoubtedly, the celebration that commemorates the independence of Canada is the best. So you can not miss the celebration of July 1, when Canada Day is celebrated.

On the Parliament Hill of Ottawa, the ceremony takes place gathering importan people of Canada, like the Prime Minister, the Minister of Canadian Heritage and some other governors. From the Capitol Hill you can enjoy the amazing air parade that the Canadian Air Force performs, as well as the muscial act that closes the event.

[Agregar foto de celebración del Día de Canadá]

Winterlude Festival

However, if you want to spend your holidays during the winter, the Capitol Hill of Canada is also a good place to enjoy, in here are held other events during this season of the year. In February, for example, there is the Winterlude Festival, in which various activities take place. One of them is skiing through the Rideau Canal in Ottawa, that starts near the Parliament Hill. This activity holds the Guiness Record as the longest frozen skating rink in the world. During this event, both the Capitol Hill of Canada and the Ottawa parliament clock tower are iluminated with Christmas lights.

Now that you know everything about the Capitol Hill of Canada, you are ready to travel to Ottawa no matter the season of the year. Have ready your camera and take stunning pictures from the top of the Ottawa parliament clock tower, at your return don’t forget to share them with us.