Legislature Buildings, Victoria

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  • Parliment and the Veterans Memorial in front
    Parliment and the Veterans Memorial in...
    by mtncorg
  • George Vancouver stands atop the Parliment
    George Vancouver stands atop the...
    by mtncorg
  • British Columbia Parliment building in late winter
    British Columbia Parliment building in...
    by mtncorg
  • pieter_jan_v's Profile Photo

    BC Parliament buildings

    by pieter_jan_v Updated Oct 3, 2012
    BC Parliament buildings
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    The Parliament buildings are build for the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia. First construction started in 1893 and lasted till 1897.

    On February 10, 1898 the building was official openend.

    In 1972 a 10 year restoration was started.

    The buildings can be visited either with a guided tour or a self-guided tour.

    Visiting hours:
    Summer: Daily: 9AM - 5PM
    Winter: Mo-Fr: 9AM - 5PM

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  • glabah's Profile Photo

    Tours of the Legislative Buildings Best Off-Season

    by glabah Updated Feb 7, 2011

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Parliament Entrance plus Totem Pole

    [This tip is still undergoing editing. Please check back again soon for additional information being added.]

    Tours are offered inside the main building of the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia on many days. During the winter months it is only during the weekdays but this expands to all days of the week during the peak tourist season.

    Tours are currently free of charge, which makes them one of the best values in Victoria. It is also possible to take your own self-guided tour. However, I highly recommend the guided tour, as I found the tour guide to be able to pointing out many things about the building and grounds that I would not have noticed otherwise.

    The reason this is a much better activity in the off-season include that there are fewer other tourists (I was the only person other than the guide for the first part of the tour, until we were joined by two visitors from Germany). However some of the rooms that are most interesting to see are completely closed if the Parliament is sitting. Thus, you get better value for your free admission if you visit in the off-season.

    Facing the parliament building from the harbour, there is a huge set of stairs. To the left of this is a small door with a guard standing outside. This is the main public entrance, and it is through here that you need to go to get to the tour office. If it is going to be a little while before the tour starts (there is a sandwichboard sign telling the time of the next tour) you should explore the building a little on your own.

    Explore the grounds as you are able to do, as there are some interesting statues and other monuments scattered about in a few places on the grounds as well. This is best done after everyone has gone home or early in the morning on a weekday, as the building is surrounded by busy streets and it is much more enjoyable to explore when there is less traffic around.

    On the web site below, hit "Public Education and Visitor Info" on the menu on the left side, and the rest required to get to the tour schedule and open hours should be fairly obvious.

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  • WulfstanTraveller's Profile Photo

    The old Parliament, now Legislature, Buildings

    by WulfstanTraveller Updated Oct 10, 2010
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    The Legislature Buildings of British Columbia are a majestic and stunning structure that partially dominate the Inner Harbour of Victoria. Built of rough stone and richly decorated in an eclectic mixture of Victorian Gothic, Italianate, and 19th-century Romanesque styles, the buildings are an early masterpiece of Francis Rattenbury, who went on to design many signature buildings in Victoria and elsewhere in Canada, primarily BC. These include the Empress Hotel and part of the Banff Springs Hotel.

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  • mtncorg's Profile Photo

    BRITISH COLUMBIA PARLIAMENT

    by mtncorg Written Mar 23, 2010

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    British Columbia Parliment building in late winter
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    Build it and they will stay, especially when the building is as lavish as the one you find here on the south banks of the Inner Harbour - or so goes some people’s theory anyway. The building was opened in 1898 and is reportedly of Romanesque Revival style. The architect, Francis Rattenburg - an English emigrant - used his success here to cash in on other building projects - the design of the Empress Hotel, for example - both here in Victoria and elsewhere in the province. Atop the central dome is a gold leafed statue of George Vancouver. Queen Victoria sits out across the front lawn shaded by a large redwood tree - there is an obelisk remembering town founder James Douglas on the other side of the tree. A Veterans Memorial and Native totem pole stand on the northern corners of the lawn. Tours of the interior of the Parliament can be taken during the week. A study of British Columbia political history can be said to reflect the building in which the action has taken place - a bit brash and, at times, royal.

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  • richiecdisc's Profile Photo

    The British Colombia Parliament Buildings

    by richiecdisc Updated Nov 22, 2009

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    the impressive BC Parliament Buildings

    The British Colombia Parliament Buildings were approved for construction in 1893 but the original $500,000 approved funds were about a half million dollars short so the finished product did not open until 1898. The impressive monument heralded the arrival of the province with its grand size, use of domes, and a combination of Romanesque Revival and Baroque styles. Designed by Francis Rattenbury, it brought him many commissions including Victoria's other iconic symbol, The Empress Hotel. The Legislative Assembly of British Columbia convenes here.

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  • Carmanah's Profile Photo

    The BC Legislature Building

    by Carmanah Updated Sep 25, 2008

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    The BC Legislature Building
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    This building is certainly one of the architectural highlights of Victoria. Sitting at the south end of Victoria's Inner Harbour, the BC Legislature Building is where all of BC's elected MP's come to have meetings and debates throughout the year. Each elected MP represents about 50,000 people in the province, and it's their responsibity to make sure the people's concerns are heard by the government. The BC Legislature Building is the forum where this takes place.

    As a tourist attraction, this building gives you beautiful architecture and gardens, but you can also take a free guided tour which I highly recommend. The tour provides a short history of Victoria and British Columbia, the Canadian government and how the parliamentary system works here, how the BC Legislature building is used, the stories of the architect who designed the building, and the stories behind the stained glass and architectural elements throughout the building.

    If you visit in the day time, be sure to come back at night to see the building's facade entirely lit up with thousands of little lights - a beautiful sight indeed!

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  • cinthya_in_victoria's Profile Photo

    Amazing architecture!

    by cinthya_in_victoria Written May 2, 2008

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Parliament Buildings hosts BC's provinvial legislature. It is as big and priminent landmark as the Empress and was designed by Francis Rattenbury also. There are free guided tours of the interior during summer. Take your time to enjoy the exterior and the gardens.

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  • darryl.wilson's Profile Photo

    Another free attraction!

    by darryl.wilson Written Apr 27, 2008

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Here's another one that won't break the bank! There aren't many in Victoria that come under the category of free. But a place you will definitely enjoy visiting is the British Columbia legislature. Tours are offered in multiple languages and they are absolutely free. You will learn not only a little bit of history of Victoria and British Columbia, but you will also get to see some incredible architecture and learn about the system of government used in Canada and British Columbia.

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  • Jefie's Profile Photo

    Seat of the Capital of British Columbia

    by Jefie Written Jul 7, 2007

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    The Legislature Buildings of British Columbia
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    The Legislature buildings in Victoria are among the nicest ones in all of Canada. Construction began in 1893, partly to prevent the capital from moving back to New Westminster, near Vancouver, and the first session took place in 1898. The buildings were designed by Francis Rattenbury, the same architect who later designed The Empress Hotel; he was only 25 years old when his design was selected for the Provincial Legislature of British Columbia.

    Free tours of the buildings are offered daily but I have to admit that of all the Canadian Legislature buildings I have visited (7 so far), this had to be one of the most boring tours. Visitors can only visit the first and second floor of the rotunda, and take a quick look at the chamber (which was initially built for about 45 Members of Parliament and is therefore surprisingly small) through a grid. Because there is so little to see they have tried to include some animation with historical characters, but it's not very interesting. But hey, it's free entertainment so if you're looking for something to do on a rainy day, it's always a good option :o)

    Don't forget to walk by the buildings in the evening to see them all lit up!

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  • ChadSteve1975's Profile Photo

    Isolating the Powerbase

    by ChadSteve1975 Updated May 16, 2007

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    History to see here
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    It seems strange that a state like Brittish Columbia in all it's size would locate its legislature on Vancouver Island. Nevertheless its there.

    It's quite a magnificent building. Visitors are quite welcome although I didn't notice any signs for guided tours but I do hear they are offerred.

    It would have been more meaningful with a guided tour. Oh well so be it.

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  • penumbra's Profile Photo

    of British Columbia

    by penumbra Written Oct 31, 2006

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    BC Provincial Legislature

    One man, Francis Mawson Rattenbury designed the two main buildings that dominate Victoria’s inner harbor, the Empress Hotel and the BC Provincial Legislature. The legislature has been around since 1898, and is worth a second visit at night when the building is illuminated.

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  • Dabs's Profile Photo

    Parliament

    by Dabs Updated Aug 20, 2006

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    Parliament
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    One of the architectural gems along the waterfront, the Parliament Building, was built between 1893 and 1898 during the reign of Queen Victoria who has a monument built for her on the front lawn of the building.

    During the week, you can visit the building on your own or you can join a guided tour complete with a costumed actor playing James Douglas, the father of BC. We started off on our own but caught up with the guide, perhaps the tour is a bit basic for BC residents but I thought it was interesting and it included a visit to the legislative chambers.

    I was sorry that I didn't overnight in Victoria as one of the highlights is supposedly seeing the Parliament Building lit up at night.

    Fun fact (well, fun for everyone but Mr. Rattenbury!): the architect, Francis Rattenbury, involved in a seemy love triangle, was bludgeoned to death by his second wife's lover with a croquet mallet, how very British! And poetic justice for his 1st wife I might add, he left her after 25 years of marriage when he was in his mid 50s for his 27 year old second wife, Alma.

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  • worldkiwi's Profile Photo

    Victoria's graceful icon.

    by worldkiwi Written Aug 7, 2006

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    Victoria's iconic Legislature Building.

    This beautiful building stands gracefully beside the picturesque inner harbour of Victoria. The large grassy lawn in front of the building is a sunny spot to lounge in the summer. Tours of the building are available and I regret not doing this now, but my time was limited in this city. I certainly took many pictures of this building. For a night time shot, see the General Tips section of this page.

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  • Jetgirly's Profile Photo

    Home to BC's Government

    by Jetgirly Written Jul 2, 2006

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    Evening at the Parliament Buildings
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    Like the Empress Hotel, Victoria's Parliament Buildings were designed by Francis Rattenbury. They are home to the Legislative Assembly, which is composed of the Lieutenant Governor and 79 elected Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs). Together, they work to make laws, approve finances, and generally keep the government in line. The building is also home to extensive government offices, a library, and TV broadcast facilities. Rattenbury's design centers around a three-story central rotunda with marble decor surrounding it.

    From the outside, note the gold statue of Captain Vancouver on top of the largest dome. On the grounds, you will find a statue of Queen Victoria (front and center), a rose garden (west side), and Confederation Garden Park with as stone wall showcasing plaques from each of Canada's provinces and territories (west side).

    Visitors are welcome to take a tour of the Parliament Buildings, free of charge. In the summer, tours are offered daily and can be provided in several languages (if you book twenty-four hours in advance). See the website for details.

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  • Blatherwick's Profile Photo

    BC Legislative Buildings

    by Blatherwick Updated Mar 7, 2006
    BC Legislative Buildings

    This architecturally impressive building, built by Francis Rattenbury in 1898, is where BC's legislature sits. There are free tours and you can watch the debates in the visitors galleries without prior appointment. After sitting through one of these you'll probably be left thinking how the province is able to function.

    Outside of the building, look up to the top of the main dome and you will see a figure of Captain Vancouver. He was the first British navigator to sail around what is now Vancouver Island. At night, the building is lit up thousands of white light bulbs lighting the entire structure making for a pleasant stroll around the inner harbour.

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