Parliament Hill is the most visited site in the Ottawa-Gatineau area, yet few people are familiar with its actual history.
This tour skips the usual talk about Prime Ministers and government processes typical of ‘official’ tours to focus on many controversial aspects of Parliament Hill’s largely unknown history, including the following:
- How colonial officials dispossessed the Algonquin of the land now known as ‘Parliament Hill’;
- The British military plan to make ‘Barracks Hill’ into a fortress; role of the Hill during the building of the Rideau canal;
- The decision to make Ottawa the capital and the Hill the site of government;
- Working conditions, strikes, injuries and death associated with construction of the Parliament Buildings;
- The Great Fire of 1916;
- Monuments, statues and the politics of official commemoration of Canada’s past on the Hill;
- Members of Parliament who were radical advocates of qualitative change;
- Use of the Hill for national celebrations, government propaganda and political protests; and
- Bombing, shooting, policing and the use of troops on the Hill.
Unfortunately, most books about Parliament Hill reflect the official story. Those interested in learning more about topics covered on this tour should use the Internet and their local library to track down alternative sources of information.
What our clients say
“An interesting and informative history of the Parliament buildings, a history you will not learn in the "official tours". The history of the workers, of citizens and their struggles to be heard on the Hill while still visiting all the major buildings and monuments - only seeing them through a different lens. Informative and challenging. A great addition for visitors Continue Reading
“I've lived in Ottawa for ages and can't believe how little I knew of our city's past. The tour leader has distilled an impressive breadth of research on these subjects, and in addition to presenting an engaging story, is seemingly impossible to stump for an answer to any related questions! It was time well spent and I'd recommend the tours Continue Reading
Book Parliament Hill tour
- All tours are $30 (cash) payable at the end of the tour.
- Tours must be booked at least 24 hours in advance. (You will receive confirmation of your booking.)
- Tours proceed rain or shine and start from the amphitheatre at the corner of Mackenzie and Rideau/Wellington, next to Milestone’s restaurant (across the street from the Chateau Laurier). Google Maps..