Visit 5 of Canada’s Most Beautiful Political Landmarks (Without Leaving Your Couch)

April 19th, 2013 by Kate Fane

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On April 9th, Google Canada brought its special panoramic camera to Parliament Hill, promising a virtual tour of the historic buildings for viewers around the world. While the results haven’t been uploaded yet, it won’t be long before online visitors have access to the House of Commons, the Senate, the Library of Parliament, the Hall of Honour and even Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s office.

In honour of this exciting development, we’ve put together a list of five other important Canadian political sites you can tour with a simple click of the mouse. 

British Columbia Parliament Buildings. Victoria, BC

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If you ever need a push to start your next project, just think of Francis Rattenbury: soon after immigrating to Canada from England, he won a contest to design the British Columbia Parliament Buildings when he was just 25 years old. Originally budgeted at $500,000, the final bill for construction was $923,000, a pretty serious amount of money back in 1898. It was well worth the cost though, as the Parliament Buildings were recently listed as one of the 11 most beautiful government buildings in the world.

Hôtel du Parlement. Quebec City, Quebec

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Just outside the walls of Old Quebec sits the beautiful home of the home of the province’s parliament. Designed by architect Eugène-Étienne Taché, the building took seven years from 1877 to 1886 to be fully completed and features a 171-foot tall tower. When taking your Google tour, be sure to look closely at the building’s façade: it features an intricate pantheon representing significant events and people of the history of Quebec. In 1985, the complex of parliamentary building was declared a Site historique national (“National Historic Site of Quebec”). To date this is the only such site in Quebec.

Province House. Halifax, NS

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Halifax’s Province House has got some serious history. It’s so old that even Charles Dickens himself paid a visit, proclaiming it a “a gem of Georgian architecture.” The Nova Scotia Legislature calls this building home, and has met every year since 1819, making it the longest serving legislative building in Canada. Province House is also Canada’s oldest house of government, as well as a National Historic Site. If you’re able to ever make it down in person, free guided tours of the building are offered, and they’re chock full of interesting tidbits. And for more information about Province House, check out CIVIX team member Katie’s post about her recent visit. 

Manning Centre. Calgary, AB

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In January of this year, former Reform Party leader Preston Manning launched the new Manning Centre in Calgary as a training facility for those who subscribe to conservative values. Manning initially started the project in 2005 to provide assistance and education to anyone involved in a Canadian Conservative campaign, including candidates, volunteers, campaign managers and staff. Manning has admitted that he’d love for the swanky new space to become a tourist attraction in the city, and thus, he’s allowed Google Street View the full insider tour already.

Hôtel de Ville de Montréal. Montreal, Quebec

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Montreal’s City Hall has had a rocky history: built in 1878, the building was completely gutted by a fire in March of 1922, leaving only the outer wall and destroying many of the city’s historic records. A complete remodel was required, as well as a new copper roof.

In 1967, City Hall was the site of Charles de Gaulle’s infamous Vive le Québec libre! (“Long live free Quebec!”) speech during Expo 67. Considered a serious breach of diplomacy, de Gaulle’s speech had major repercussions in Canadian and French politics. 

 And last, but not least, the CIVIX office on 639  Queen Street. 

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It won’t be long before Google Street View catches the team doing our daily push-up regime.

By Kate Fane

Posted in News |

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