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.
Summer: Daily: 9AM - 5PM
Winter: Mo-Fr: 9AM - 5PM
[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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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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