The Parliament Buildings of Canada are designed and built in honor of the country’s people, history and greatly upheld values such as freedom and democracy. Going for the Parliament Building Tour is a must for any tourist visiting Canada’s historic capital. The tour will allow you to marvel at the exquisite architecture and features of some of the most visually stunning government buildings in the world.
Here are some practical travel tips to guide you.
- The guided tour inside the Parliament Buildings is absolutely FREE but the schedule for the tours may vary. You can check the visitor’s section of the Parliament website to confirm the schedules.
- To get the free tickets for the tour, proceed to the Center Block, Wellington Street in Downtown Ottawa. The visitor entrance is at the base of the Peace Tower. You can collect the tour ticket and ask additional questions at the Visitor Welcome Center (VWC) situated inside the Center Block, just after the public entrance. This is also the area where you will stay while waiting for the tour to commence.
- The slots for the tours are limited and are on a first-come, first-served basis. If you are going on a group fewer than 10 people, you can get same-day tickets, which are available from 9 a.m. daily.
- Reservations are only entertained for groups of 10 people or more. Reservations Office number is (1) 613-996-0896.
- Even though you’re getting free access to the Parliament Building, you will still be required to undergo a security check. During the busier times, there can be a line-up so make sure that you go to the meeting spot earlier than your scheduled tour time.
- The tour duration can last about 20 to 60 minutes. It tends to be shorter when there are events or renovations happening in the building.
- There are restrooms inside the Center Block, and facilities are wheelchair accessible. The staff always try their best to facilitate visitors with special needs.
- Ottawa Airport is only about 15 km away from parliament which is convenient. You can compare flight prices well in advance to save some money, especially considering how expensive domestic and international flights to Canada are these days.
- There are plenty of hotels right near parliament, therefore try to find one close by to cut down on unnecessary transport in downtown Ottawa.
If you are planning a visit to the Parliament Hill, consider visiting during these special times.
- Every morning during summer (July –September), the Changing of the Guard ceremony takes place on the front lawn. In the evenings, you will get to witness the Sound and Light show, which features amazing lighting effects projected on the buildings synchronized with lively music.
- During Canada Day (July 1) celebrations, the Hill becomes the site for a massive concert and entertainment event culminated by a spectacular fireworks show.
- During December, Parliament Hill is majestically illuminated with thousands of lights because it is one of the main sites of the Christmas Lights Across Canada program.
- From July to September, the East Block of the Parliament Hill opens its doors for public tours. This section was the main seat of power for Canada during its first century as a sovereign country. In this tour, you will get the chance to see three fascinating rooms that maintain their original 1872 design. The rooms with a view of the past include the Office of Sir John A. Macdonald, The Privy Council Chamber and the Office of the Governor General.
Official Website Page for Parliament of Canada: http://www.parl.gc.ca/Visitors/centreblockmap-e.asp
For an overview of the Parliament Hill Tour, please check out a related article under our Bucket List section: “The Ottawa Parliament Buildings: Truly A Must-See“
Accommodation Information – Ottawa, Canada
Where do we stay while in Ottawa?
Ottawa has some really nice accommodation options to choose from. Since we have been to Ottawa many times, we have stayed in different regions of the city. If you want to stay near the Casino then we have a recommendation for that area. We also are quite familiar with properties right near Parliament Hill, and also near Kanata if you’re thinking of checking out a Senator’s game while in the Nation’s Capital. Please take note that we have no direct affiliation with any of these properties, but our writers have stayed at them. All review scores are researched at the time of writing and subject to change over time:
Finding the Cheapest Rooms in Ottawa. Suggestions
Ottawa has a wide range of accommodation options to choose from for all budgets. If you book well in advance, big discounts can be up for grabs. Try using the world’s best hotel price comparison site. Many of our readers also choose to book exclusively with booking.com due to their excellent customer service, superb cancellation policies and large selection of rooms to choose from. Another solid option is www.agoda.com. Ultimately, the choice is yours.
To save you some time, I have created quick links to each one of these sites and their respective property lists for Ottawa:
Be sure to book well in advance if travelling to Ottawa during holidays and major ice hockey tournaments.
Flight Information – Getting to Ottawa, Canada
What is the closest airport to the parliament buildings of Canada?
The closest airport to the parliament buildings of Canada is Ottawa International Airport (Ottawa MacDonald-Cartier International Airport). Airport code = YOW.
How long does it take to get from Ottawa Airport to the Parliament Buildings?
In a car it should take you anywhere from 20 minutes (with little traffic) to 45 minutes (with traffic) to get from Ottawa International Airport to the parliament buildings.
How can you find the cheapest flights to Ottawa International Airport?
I would suggest shopping around a lot first. In our particular case, we used a flight comparison site called BookingBuddy for our flight booking to Ottawa. Not only did we save money by using a flight comparison site, but also the time and annoyance of checking random sites all over the web. Here is a link to their comparison page if you want to get a feel for prices to Ottawa for your intended dates of travel:
Where Can I find parking information for Ottawa Airport?
Here is a link to Ottawa Airport’s parking information page to get your started.
How far is Ottawa Airport from Parliament?
Ottawa International Airport is about 15 km away from parliament.