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.