British Columbia Parliament Buildings

The Victoria Parliament Buildings are actually in one large building that figures among the main landmarks in British Columbia. Found overlooking the water in the Inner Harbour of Victoria, this Provincial Legislature complex has stood proudly since being completed in 1898.

Victoria Parliament Buildings
Victoria Parliament Buildings

Baroque and Romanesque Revival styles of architecture were used when creating the sumptuous edifice, and in many regards, it has the look of a fine European palace. Inside, dazzling woodwork, stunning stained glass windows, fine mosaics, and smooth marble only extend the palatial appeal.

Interestingly enough, the architect of the Victoria Parliament Buildings, Francis Rattenbury, was just 25 years old when his design was chosen by way of a competition. Rattenbury, who hailed from the English city of Leeds, started working towards an architectural career in 1884. In 1891, he moved to Victoria, and it didn't take long for his career to really take off. After the Victoria Parliament was finished, it was deemed to be an impressive monument by most. As such, Rattenbury had little trouble finding work thereafter in Victoria and other parts of the British Columbian province. One of his other well-known works is the renowned Empress Hotel, which also overlooks the water at Victoria's Inner Harbour.

The Victoria Parliament Buildings is a splendid building to admire both during the day and at night. Once the sun sets, the grand edifice is illuminated with over 3,000 lights, and this helps to make it stand out against the nighttime skyline. For those who wish to see the interior, Victoria Parliament tours are offered during the day. In the peak summer season, these popular Victoria tours are offered daily, and regardless of the time of year, they last around 40 minutes and are free. In addition to having the chance to marvel at the stately interior of the structure, those who treat themselves to Victoria Parliament tours can also get insight into the history of the place and its role in the British Columbian civic process.

It should be noted that the Victoria Parliament Buildings is still used for legislative affairs. In fact, the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia calls the complex home. Other things worth highlighting are the fact that a statue of Queen Victoria sits on the front lawn, as does a statue that honors the BC province soldiers who died in WWI, WWII, and the Korean War. Finally, visitors might make note of the statue of Captain George Vancouver, which caps the central dome. Captain Vancouver is credited with leading the late 1700's British expedition that was responsible for exploring and chartering British Columbia, Washington State, and the rest of the Pacific Coast region. Hence the name of Vancouver Island and the BC province's largest city of Vancouver.

After taking a Victoria Parliament Buildings tour, visitors can venture off to any other number of great attractions, and simply strolling along the waterfront in the Inner Harbour can be rewarding. The harbor is the city's main point of activity, and from there, it is easy to walk to other downtown area attractions, such as Beacon Hill Park and the Royal BC Museum.

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