Other national capitols, like London, Paris, and Moscow, have hundreds of years of history behind them which attracts tourists quite apart from their function as the homes of the heads of state. However, in North America things are different. Ottawa is defined by its function as a national capitol. Otherwise it would just be another city where companies operate. It would quickly disappear in the shadow of Toronto. Therefore if ever you are in Ottawa, take some time to visit its raison d'etre: the houses of parliament. This page is compliments of Housemaster Home Inspections.

Located on what is known as Parliament Hill on the southern bank of the Ottawa River, the houses of Parliament attract upwards of three million visitors per year who are visiting the city. It is not merely a tourist attraction, however. This is the seat of Canada's government. Hundreds of politicians, bureaucrats, and functionaries work in this building when parliament is in session. You may even see some of them on your tour, which is free.

There is much to admire about parliament. It was designed by renowned architect Calvert Vaux and built in 1859. The building itself is done in the imposing and ornate Gothic Revival style and the grounds are landscaped in the traditional English style. Unsurprisingly, given that badge holders in the Canadian government technically still report to the Queen of England, much of Parliament Hill is modelled after the English Parliament in London.

In addition to seeing the building, gardens, and workings of the Canadian political machine, there are also numerous monuments and statue on-site that are well worth visiting. They include popular historical figures that are probably represented in some homes, such as Queen Victoria and John A. MacDonald, as well as lesser known figures like D'Arcy McGee and John Diefenbaker. There is also a centennial flame and a monument to the police.

Because tours of Parliament are free, they are first come, first served, which means you can't book one for the break during your conference unless you can convince nine other people to come with you. The tour lasts about 20 to 60 minutes depending on whether Parliament is in session and you will have to find off-site parking as well as go through stringent security. There is a souvenir shop on site, but no restaurant or canteen.

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