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A Visit to Parliament

Ottawa’s Parliament Hill is one of Canada’s top visitor sites

In summer, visitors to Parliment Hill in Ottawa, Canada can see the Changing of the Guard and a Sound and Light show every day.
Sitting atop a hill on the banks of the Ottawa River is the striking Parliament Hill, the centerpiece of the downtown Ottawa landscape. The Gothic-style structures are home to debating politicians, but also offer a number of ways for visitors to enjoy one of Canada’s top sites.

Take a guided tour. Free guided tours are available every day, on a first-come, first-serve basis. Visitors even have the opportunity to head up the Peace Tower for stunning views of the city.

Watch the Changing the Guard. Every morning during the summer months, the ceremonial Changing the Guard takes place in all its glory, complete with a regimental band and pipers. The ceremony begins at 10 a.m. sharp, but it’s a good idea to arrive a little early to snag a spot with the best view.

Celebrate Canada Day. On July 1, Canada Day, Parliament Hill becomes a focal point for massive celebrations, with hundreds of thousands gathering for special entertainment and a fireworks spectacular.

Catch a Sound and Light show. From July 8 to Sept. 6, 2014, the Centre Block on Parliament Hill will come to life with Mosaika, an exhilarating sound and light show that takes place nightly. The free, bilingual show tells Canada’s story, spanning the country’s vast landscapes and diverse cultures.

Enjoy the art and architecture. Take a self-guided tour of the Hill to pick out hundreds of gargoyles, grotesques, reliefs and bosses carved into the stonework of the building. Wander the grounds to see numerous sculptures of important Canadians.

Get in the holiday spirit. If you’re visiting Parliament Hill in December, you’ll be treated to the colors of thousands of decorative lights, making it one of the premier sites to enjoy the annual holiday displays of Christmas Lights Across Canada.

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