THE PARLIAMENT BUILDINGS

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THE PARLIAMENT BUILDINGS

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

legislative chamber

Legislative Chamber

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.

Parliament building Victoria, BC Visitor in VictoriaFrancis 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.

 

Rotunda at parliament buildings

The Rotunda

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.

Tour Information:

​​​​Fall, Winter, and Spring (September 8, 2015 – May 13, 2016)

Monday to Friday:  9:00 am to 5:00 pm.

Visitors are welcome to join a free public tour or to explore the building on their own self-guided tour.
Guided tours begin from the waiting room inside of the Main Entrance and are offered regularly throughout the day.​

​​Summer (May 16, 2016 – September 5, 2016)

Monday to Sunday:   9:00 am to 5:00 pm.

On weekdays: visitors are welcome to join a free public tour or to explore the building on their own self-guided tour.
On weekends and holidays: visitors must join a free public tour or reserve a group tour in order to enter the Parliament Buildings.

Please contact the Parliamentary Tour Office at 250-387-3046 or tours@leg.bc.ca​ closer to the date of your visit for up-to-date schedule information.

Tour start

Tour Length

Tours last approximately 30 – 45 minutes​

Cost

All tours are free of charge.

Group Bookings

Groups of 15 or more must book a tour in advance. Group tours can be requested online.  ​

Languages

Tours are offered in English and French throughout the year. Other languages may be possible depending on the availability of staff. Please contact the Tour Office for more information at tours@leg.bc.ca.

Self-Guided Tour Books

Self-guided tour books are available in a variety of languages at the ParliamentaryTour desk or on-line.

Visitor Information​

The Legislative Assembly is a working building. Please ask the members of your group to talk quietly while inside the Parliament Buildings. Food and drinks are not permitted inside of the Legislative Assembly. However, there is a Parliamentary Dining Room​ where visitors can enjoy a meal.

Parking

There is no public parking available on the property. Street parking and pay-parking lots are located nearby. For more information, please visit our Visitor Parking​ page.

Special Access Requirements

The Parliament Buildings are accessible for visitors in wheelchairs and those with limited mobility or young children in strollers. Please follow the ramp on the west side of the Main Entrance steps and ring the buzzer for assistance.​​​

 

 

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About the Author:

I've lived in Victoria over 30 years and I still can't believe how great this city really is! My husband, Bruce, and I have traveled the world but coming home to Victoria is still quite often a celebration. Together, we want to share our love of the city and the area by giving you an 'insider's' insights of where to go - what to do - and how to get there!

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