The Canadian political system consists of the House of Commons (where the politicians sit) and the House of Senate (where the Bills are passed into law). To have a full understanding of this, you should attend the free guided tour at the Centre Block of Parliament Hill. You will also have a chance to see the actual House of Commons & House of Senate, unless there is a session on the day of your visit.
Being the capital of Canada, Ottawa has many historical buildings and monuments such as Parliament Hill, the various meseums, National War Memorial, various statues etc. In fact when you walk around the city, you will notice many old colonial buildings still existing till today.
Since Ottawa is Canada's capitol, it stands to reason there are a lot of national memorials there. The National War Memorial cenotaph is by the Rideau Canal and easily accessed. Along further down Sussex Drive near the National Gallery is the peaceKeeping monument. The National War museum is here as is the National Archives. The Canadian Mint has a museum as does the Post office.
Now this is an interesting flag..
It's called the Unity flag, created in 1995 by a group of people, mostly anglophones which want Quebec to have a better recognition within Canada.
(1995 was the year of Quebec's last referendum for sovereignty)
The blue stripes that take about 25% of the flag, represent the french-speaking population of Canada (At the time..).
This lobby is also trying to make this flag the actual official flag of Canada.
Personally, I'm not into that that much..but I still apreaciate.
You can learn more about the history of this flag and of the lobby behind it at:
The flame is surrounded by the shields of the Canadian provinces and territories. There are years inscribed on the border of the fountain, corresponding to the shield above, indicate when the province or territory joined Confederation.
Every day, visitors throw coins into the fountain. An Act passed by Parliament in 1991 ensures that those coins go to fund research by and about Canadians with disabilities.
Experiencing Canada Day in Ottawa was fantastic. The day was one big party of free admissions and free events and concerts (I saw Sons of Maxwell perform and think they are a great example of Canadian talent). Paint your face, wear a flag in your hair, sing Oh Canada on Parliment Hill for the telecast to the rest of Canada. Even the non-Canadians I met had a great time. Just make sure you book your accomodation well in advance.
This is the official flag of Canada.
(It was a bit low because of the death of the Queen Mum the day before.)