The Supreme Court of Canada was established in 1875. It is Canada´s highest court.
There are guided tours, free of charge, of the Supreme Court of Canada. The guided tours are offered from early May to the end of August. In the winter time from September to April one can get a guided tour, but by appointment only. The tour lasts ca 30 minutes.
On the tour one gets very informative guidance of the Court and learns about the workings of the Canadian Judicial System. The tour guides are law students and I must say that our tour-guide did an excellent job, she was very friendly and knowledgeable.
The building of the Supreme Court of Canada is open to public from 09:00-17:00 and the English tours start on the hour - then there are French tours which start on the half-hour, with an interval from 12:00-13:00. I opted for the English tour ;)
The tour starts from the Grand Entrance Hall (very impressive) with marble staircases. There are 3 courtrooms at the Supreme Court of Canada - we got guided through 2 of them. While waiting for my tour to start I looked through the exhibits on display in the hall - amongst them were gifts given to the Court.
We first visited one of the two courtrooms of the Ferderal Court of Canada, which is located on the grand floor, where we got an introduction to the Judicial system and an opportunity to dress up in a judge´s rope and have photos taken. Only I and an elderly gentlemen took that offer.
The second room we visited was the Main Courtroom. There in the middle of the room is the Judges´ Bench with nine chairs. To the sides are the tables for law clerks and the media. Here we got a very informative tour of how the Judicial System of Canada works.
On the ground floor of the Supreme Court of Canada - adjacent to the Great Entrance Hall - is the Judges´ Gallery. While waiting for my guided tour of the Supreme Court of Canada I visited the gallery.
Photograps of the judges of the Supreme Court of Canada - present and past - cover the walls of the Gallery. Here are also busts of some of the judges and a photo above the fireplace of all the judges at the Supreme Court in year 1894.
There are several armchairs of the judges of the Supreme Court on display at the Gallery as well.
Well worth a visit.
There are two statues standing outside the Supreme Court in Ottawa - Justicia and Veritas by Walter S. Allward. The artist started making the statues in 1912 and worked on them for 8 years. Then he got a bigger assignment - the building of a huge memorial to the Canadian heroes of Vimy Ridge. It wasn´t until fifty years later that the statues were found and finished and placed outside the Supreme Court in 1970.
Justicia and Veritas - Justice and Truth - the principles that underlie the Canadian legal system.
The Supreme Court is unlikely to be one of the top stops on most tourists' itineraries when they visit Ottawa, but if you're interested in Canadian politics and law, it should be a part of your visit. The building is quite impressive and is a marked contrast from the older and darker structures that form part of the core of Parliament Hill. Set back from Wellington Street, the main structure of the Supreme Court is open for tours, although you do need to contact the tour coordinator ahead of time. The main building contains the Court Room in which the Supreme Court Justices hear cases, as well as a Gallery, several libraries and a conference room. Outside the court stands a statue to Canada's first Francophone Prime Minister, Louis St. Laurent.
Booking a tour at the Supreme Court is only necessary when the Court is in session (September to May). During the summmer months (June to August) tours of the buildings are run continually during business hours.
The Supreme Court of Canada sits in this very impressive Art Deco structure just to the west of the Parliament Buildings on Wellington Avenue.
Tours of the building offer a glimpse into the main chambers of Court - and are quite fascinating.
The cornerstone of the Supreme Court was put in place by Queen Elizabeth - the spouse of King George VI - later the Queen Mother - in 1939. Even in the middle of World War II and its deprivations, construction continued through the early 1940s, and the building was opened in 1946.
The architect was Ernest Cormier. Walter Allward was responsible for the sculptures of Truth and Justice that flank the main entrances.
Construction of the Supreme Court building began in 1939 and although it was completed in 1941, it first served as a wartime facility. The Supreme Court of Canada finally moved in 5 years later, in 1946. It is of course the highest court in Canada, and the nine judges hear on average 80 appeals every year. Hearings are open to the public, and from May 1 to August 31 (9:00 am to 5:00 pm), it is also possible to go on a guided tour of the Supreme Court. Although the building's facade looks rather small and austere, the interior is much nicer and tours are quite interesting, especially as all the tour guides happen to be law students.
The Supreme Court of Canada is Canada's highest court. It is now the final court of appeal, the last judicial resort for all litigants, whether individual or governmental. The court is composed of nine justices, formally appointed by the Governor General on the recommendation of the Cabinet. Its jurisdiction embraces both the civil law of the province of Quebec and the common law of the other provinces and territories. When handling Quebec civil law cases the court is careful to have them reviewed by the three civil law judges that are always on the court.
It is possible to visit the courts. Guides, who are all future bloodsuckers (law students), will familiarize you with the operation of the Canadian judicial system and will explain to you how legal issues of public importance are dealt with by the Supreme Court of Canada. When the Court is in session, it is possible to sit in on the hearing of an appeal.
From September 1st to April 30th, the building is open to the public from 9am to 5p.m on Monday to Friday. From May 1st to August 31st, the building is open to the public from 9am to 5pm daily.
The Supreme Court stands a short distance from Parliament Hill. This court interprets the Canadian constitution and is the highest court of appeal in the land. It hears criminal and civil cases from the ten provincial courts, the three territorial courts and from the Federal Court.
It's open May to August daily, from 9 am to 5 pm. Guided tours of the courtrooms are offered every day and are absolutely free!