Parliament Buildings

Historic Building in Victoria

This dramatically handsome confection of turrets, domes and stained glass is British Columbia's working legislature and is also open to visitors. You can go behind the facade on a free 45-minute guided tour then stop for lunch at the 'secret' politicians' restaurant inside. Return in the evening when the elegant exterior is illuminated like a Christmas tree.

The buildings were constructed in the 1890s in a mix of renaissance, Romanesque and classical styles after the government had outgrown the original legislature, the less illustriously named 'Birdcages.' The current ceremonial entrance has a mosaic floor and is embellished with Italian marble, while the graceful dome is topped on the outside by a gold-encrusted statue of George Vancouver (an early explorer of BC's coastal regions).