Along with the Empress Hotel, the Parliament Buildings dominate the scenery in downtown Victoria.
Victoria is the capital of the Province of British Columbia and is home to the Legislative
Assembly of British Columbia.
The Neo-baroque buildings face north on Belleville street facing the Inner Harbour and diagonally across from The Empress Hotel. A statue of Queen Victoria stands on the front lawn as well a statue of a soldier to commemorate the province’s World War I, World War II and Korean War dead. Atop the central dome is a gold-covered statue of Captain George Vancouver.
Francis Rattenbury, a recent English immigrant, 25 years old, entered a contest that was held in 1893 and signed his drawings with the pseudonym “A B.C. Architect”. He progressed to the second round, signing his drawing “For Queen and Province” and eventually won the competition.
This 12 ½ acre property has served as a site of government in British Columbia since 1864. The original structures, known as the Birdcages, were built to house the elected assembly for the Colony of Vancouver Island and continued to be used by the Legislative Assembly after British Columbia became a Province of Canada in 1871. The current Parliament Buildings were officially opened on February 10, 1898.
The grand scale of its 500-ft (152-m) long andesite façade, central dome and two end pavilions, the richness of its white marble, and combination of Baroque rigorous symmetry, use of domes and sculptural massing with the rusticated surfaces of the currently popular Romanesque Revival style contributed to its being an innovative and impressive monument for the young province.
Its success garnered Rattenbury many more commissions in Victoria and other parts of the province, including the Legislative Library (constructed between 1913-1915 and the cornerstone of which was laid by Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught), the design of the Empress Hotel, the Crystal Gardens indoor swimming pool nearby, and the Vancouver Court House (now the Vancouver Art Gallery).
Free guided tours are available throughout the year. Come to discover the history of the province, the architectural splendor of our cherished heritage building and learn about British Columbia’s parliamentary process.
Fall, Winter, and Spring (September 8, 2015 – May 13, 2016)
Monday to Friday: 9:00 am to 5:00 pm.
Summer (May 16, 2016 – September 5, 2016)
Monday to Sunday: 9:00 am to 5:00 pm.
Please contact the Parliamentary Tour Office at 250-387-3046 or firstname.lastname@example.org closer to the date of your visit for up-to-date schedule information.
Tours last approximately 30 – 45 minutes
All tours are free of charge.
Self-Guided Tour Books
Special Access Requirements