The Golden Parliament hill

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Vast, yawning archways, copper-topped turrets and Gothic-Revival gargoyles dominate the facade of the stunning lime-and-sandstone parliament buildings. The main building, known as the Centre Block, supports the iconic Peace Tower and is undergoing renovations until at least 2028. Until then, visitors can still tour the House of Commons in the West Block and the historic East Block. The Senate is now in a new building close to Parliament Hill.

It's best to book your tour online.

Tours of the East and West block last around 40 to 50 minutes, depending on parliamentary activity, and may be subject to rigorous security checks going in; it's best to order your tickets in advance, but you can also get them on the day from the ticket office.

Free tours of the grounds are also offered. At 10am daily in summer, see the colorful changing of the guard on the front lawns, and at night enjoy the free bilingual sound-and-light show on Parliament Hill. No ticket required for either.

Visitors are welcome to watch debates in the Senate and the House of Commons whenever they are in session. Check the calendars on the website to find out when the chambers will be sitting. Again, expect lengthy security checks.