Thursday, January 2, 2014

Symbols of Canada - Part 2 - The Parliament

While I was in Ottawa at the end of October, I took the time to visit some of the sights down around the hotel.  Foremost among the things I visited was the Parliament, centre and symbol of our nation's government.

Symbol #2 - The Parliament

I will admit that I kind of always pictured the Parliament Building as a giant, free-standing structure, without anything at all around it.  I expected it to stand separate and away from the bustle of the city, the clamour of vehicles and the throngs of people.  I hadn't envisioned the adjacent buildings, the police cars (and their accompanying occupants) every few steps and the proximity to a modern city.  Nope, I was wrong on all counts.  Well, the standing alone part.  The rest was accurate.

I don't think of Canada as being all that old, probably because the oldest constructed things in my neck of the woods are barely pushing into the early hundred-somethings, whereas I've lived in places with many hundreds of years of history piled on top of each other.  Seeing old, weathered stone of the Parliament and the surrounding buildings certainly brought out our great history.  I loved the stonework, the gargoyles (who doesn't love a good gargoyle) and the rich opulence of the detail work, inside and out.

The Parliament Building
The Peace Tower
The top of the Peace Tower
Panoramic picture of the back of the Parliament, including the library
The Parliament Building from the front, with the throngs of tourists and a few multi-tasking protesters (protesting 2 or 3 things at once)

Some of the many gargoyles adorning the buildings of Parliament
The bonus features were the view from the Peace Tower, the Centennial Flame and the Memorial chamber inside the parliament.

Saskatchewan's part of the Centennial Flame, in front of the Parliament Building
Alberta's part of the Centennial Flame, in front of the Parliament Building

My incorrect notions aside, it was interesting to see and visit the building, watch a veritable host of security personnel working and see a bunch of loud-mouth, bone-headed politicians endlessly debate topics that may, or may not, have much merit.  Despite my dislike of politicians in general, I enjoyed and appreciated experiencing that iconic symbol of our nation.

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