The Parliament of Canada is located in Canada's capital city, Ottawa, Ontario. It is situated on Parliament Hill, above the Ottawa River. This is our second Parliamentary Building (Centre Block). The first one burned in a fire on February 3, 1916. Only the Library of Parliament survived. Seven people died in that fire, including one Member of Parliament.
There are 308 elected Members of Parliament who make up the House of Commons. Members of Parliament are elected. They represent Canadians, introduce, debate, and pass federal laws, and investigate and debate current concerns.
There are 105 Senators who make up the Senate of Canada. They are appointed and represent different regions and groups throughout the country. They introduce, debate, and pass federal laws, and give careful consideration to important issues in parliamentary committees.
This crown is carved in Tyndall limestone on the interior of the main entrance to Centre Block, facing Confederation Hall. This carving represents Canada's Head of State. Queen Elizabeth II is currently the monarch who is our Head of State. The Governor General represents the Queen. The current Governor General of Canada is His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston.
The Peace Tower is located in the middle of the Centre Block of Parliament. It was completed in 1927 to commemorate the end of World War I. The Peace Tower stands 92.2 metres tall and is made of limestone. The roof is covered in copper.
The Centennial Flame is just in front of the Centre Block of Parliament. It was first lit on January 1, 1967 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Confederation. It has become a symbol of Canada and a gathering place for visitors to Parliament Hill. Each province and territory that was part of Canada in 1967 is represented around the Centennial Flame.
This coat of arms* is located on the sides of the Altar of Remembrance in the Memorial Chamber. The Altar of Remembrance was carved from a single piece of Hoptonwood stone from Britain. The Arms of Canada represent the Parliament of Canada. On the bottom portion of the shield, three maple leaves represent Canadians of all origins. Along the bottom is Canada's motto in Latin, which means From Sea to Sea.
* These are the former Arms of Canada and are no longer used today.
When the Senate is sitting, the Mace is placed in the Chamber on the Clerk's Table. It rests on the table with its crown pointing in the direction of the throne. The Mace symbolizes royal authority, parliamentary privilege, and the authority of the Senate and the Speaker.
The Mace represents royal authority and is a sign that the King or Queen has given the House of Commons the authority to meet and decide on the laws which govern the country. When the House of Commons is sitting and the Speaker is in the Chair, the Mace is placed on the Clerk's Table. The larger end points toward the government side (to the right of the Speaker).
This statue of Queen Victoria is located in the centre of the Library of Parliament, below the circular dome. Queen Victoria was only 18 years old when she took over the throne, and she reigned for over 63 years. She was the longest serving British monarch (1837-1901) and was the monarch at the time of Confederation. This statue represents the role of the sovereign in Canada and that Canada is a constitutional monarchy. The statue is made of white marble and was sculpted by Marshall Wood in 1871.
The carillon is located in the Peace Tower. This musical instrument is made of 53 bronze bells and weighs 66 tonnes. It is played from a large keyboard on most weekdays throughout the year as an expression of Canada's dedication to peace. Canada's Dominion Carillonneur, Dr. Andrea McCrady, is the talent behind the music.
This sculpture of an orca is located above the doorway of the Commonwealth Room, one of the Centre Block's meeting rooms. The orca sculpture is made of Indiana limestone. It represents the family crest of Walter Harris (b. 1931) who is chief of the Fireweed clan of his native village of Kispiox, British Columbia. The orca has been a primary theme of this aboriginal sculptor.
This Thunderbird is located above the East Door of the House of Commons and is made of limestone. The most powerful of all mythological creatures in some native legends, the Thunderbird is a symbol of power and privilege. Only the most prestigious of chiefs may have this as their family crest.
This sculpture of an Inuk hunter is located on the south door of the Echo Walls in the House of Commons foyer. It is made of Indiana limestone and is representative of the North. The Inuk hunter holds a narwhal tusk in his left hand and a knife in his right hand. The whale represents a source of food and heating oil.
This frieze is made of Indiana limestone and is located at the ground-level entrance to the House of Commons foyer. The family crests on this frieze represent the frog, owl, and wolf clans.
The three maple leaves are found on the ceiling of the Senate Chamber. The emblem is made of gold leaf and represents all Canadians.
The three lions are located on the ceiling of the Senate Chamber. The emblem is made of gold leaf and represents Canada’s historical ties to England.
This dragon is located on the ceiling of the Senate Chamber. The emblem is made of gold leaf and represents Canada’s historical ties to Wales.
These fleurs-de-lys are located on the ceiling of the Senate Chamber. The emblem is made of gold leaf and represents Canada’s historical ties to France.
This harp is located on the ceiling of the Senate Chamber. The emblem is made of gold leaf and represents Canada’s historical ties to Ireland.
This lion is located on the gold leaf ceiling of the Senate Chamber. The emblem is made of gold leaf and represents Canada’s historical ties to Scotland.
This carving is made of Tyndall limestone from Manitoba and is located on the cornerstone of the south wall of the House of Commons foyer. This farmer is wearing a wide-brimmed straw hat and is holding a spade and a pitchfork. He represents the agricultural industry of the Prairie Provinces.
This carving of a sailor is located on the cornerstone of the north-east wall of the House of Commons foyer. It is made of Tyndall limestone from Manitoba and represents the Atlantic fisheries and Merchant Marine.
This carving of a hard-rock miner is located on the cornerstone of the west wall of the House of Commons foyer. It is made of Tyndall limestone from Manitoba and represents the mining industry of Northern Ontario.
This carving of a lumberjack is located on the cornerstone of the north-west wall of the House of Commons foyer. It is made of Tyndall limestone from Manitoba and represents the forestry industry of the Maritime region.
Ontario chose the trillium as its provincial flower in 1937. This white flower grows in the forest in the springtime. It is called the trillium because it has three petals and three leaves. The tri- part of trillium means three.
The Madonna lily was Quebec's flower for 36 years. It looks like the heraldic fleur-de-lys on Quebec's flag. The Madonna lily is the symbol of French culture in France and Quebec, but it does not grow naturally in the province. Therefore, in 1999, Quebec chose a new flower that grows throughout the province: the blue flag iris.
Nova Scotia selected the mayflower as its floral emblem in 1901. The mayflower grows along the east coast of North America. Early American settlers called it the mayflower because they saw it as the first flower of spring. They named it after their ship, which carried them to North America in 1620.
This small purple or dark blue flower grows in wet meadows and forests. It grows very well all over New Brunswick. The purple violet was chosen as the provincial flower in 1936.
The lavender-coloured prairie crocus has been Manitoba's flower for a hundred years. Children in Manitoba chose it in a vote in 1906. It blooms very early in the spring, sometimes even before all the snow has melted.
These big, white flowers bloom on tall trees in April and May. The Pacific dogwood has been British Columbia's floral emblem since 1956.
Prince Edward Island adopted the lady's slipper as its floral emblem in 1947. The flower gets its name from its petals, which are shaped like a woman's shoe. It grows in the cool shade of the forest and it blooms in the springtime.
Saskatchewan selected the western red lily as its floral emblem in 1941. This tall, bright red flower grows in meadows and light forests. It appears on Saskatchewan's flag.
Alberta school children chose the pink, prickly wild rose as Alberta's flower in 1930. It grows across Canada from Quebec to British Columbia.
The pitcher plant is Newfoundland and Labrador's provincial flower. Newfoundland selected this plant as its floral emblem in 1954. It is called the pitcher plant because part of it can fill with water like a pitcher. Insects get trapped in the water and the plant eats them.
The Northwest Territories selected the mountain avens as its territorial flower in 1957. This short, white flower with small leaves can grow in high, rocky ground.
The Yukon chose the fireweed as its floral emblem in 1957. The fireweed is a tall plant with many small, dark pink flowers. It grows in a lot of places like clearings or next to roads and rivers. It is called “fireweed” because it is one of the first plants to grow after a fire.
Nunavut's purple saxifrage grows well in cool weather. It is a small, bright purple flower that grows like a mat over rocks and gravel.
This flower does not appear in the stained glass windows of the House of Commons Chamber. The windows were commissioned in 1967 to celebrate Canada's Centennial. Nunavut, created in 1999, was part of the Northwest Territories at the time. The purple saxifrage can be found growing all over Nunavut, which is why the territory chose it as its floral emblem in 2000.
This sculpted beaver is located at the Centre Block's main entrance and is made of limestone. The beaver is Canada's national animal. Because of its long history of importance in the fur trade and in the Canadian wilderness, the beaver became a national emblem in 1975.
This sculpted owl is made of limestone and is found on the exterior of the Centre Block. The owl represents wisdom.
This squirrel, made of stained glass, is found on the Senate foyer ceiling. The red border reflects the prominence of red in the Senate Chamber. The squirrel represents the wildlife found in Canada.
This bronze moose is found in the public galleries of the House of Commons. The moose represents the wildlife found in Canada.
This fish, sculpted in limestone, is located in the foyer of the House of Commons as part of the History of Canada sculpture series.
This bird, sculpted in limestone, is found in the Senate foyer. The bird represents the wildlife found in Canada.
This ram, sculpted of limestone, is found in the Senate antechamber. The ram represents the wildlife found in Canada.
The phoenix is made of stained glass and is found on the Senate foyer ceiling. The phoenix represents the fire of 1916 and the rebirth of the Parliament Buildings.
This piece of metalwork is found in the Reading Room in the Centre Block which is currently used as a committee meeting room. A wyvern (or wivern) is a legendary winged reptilian creature often found in medieval heraldry. The wyvern is similar to a European dragon, but it differs in that it has only two legs (making it rather bird-like), cannot breathe fire, and has a barbed or snake-like tail.
This wooden gnome is located in one of the public galleries in the House of Commons Chamber. The wooden gnome is an example of an ornament also called a poppy head.
This particular grotesque is a little devil holding a pen and is an example of gothic motifs found throughout the Centre Block. It is made of white oak and found at the entrance to the Senate Chamber.
This unicorn sculpture is made of limestone and stands outside the entrance to the Centre Block. There is also a unicorn on the right-hand side of the Canadian coat of arms. It represents Scotland and it holds a pennant that represents France. The unicorn was traditionally a symbol of chivalry and purity.
This cross is at the entrance of the Memorial Chamber. It is dedicated to the memory of those who died in service to Canada. This Memorial Cross is made of silver and bronze. It measures 28.5 x 26 cm.
This poppy is part of a niche made from Chateau-Gaillard stone, located on the east wall of the Memorial Chamber. During the First World War, the poppy was widely noticed after soils in France and Belgium became rich in lime from rubble. The little red flowers flourished around the graves of the war dead. In 1915, a Canadian doctor named Lieutenant-Colonel John McCrae wrote a famous poem called In Flanders Field, and the poppy has since become the symbol of remembrance.
This angel is made of bronze and is one of four that are found on each corner of the altar of the First World War Book of Remembrance in the centre of the Memorial Chamber.
This sculpture of a soldier is made of limestone and is one of four found on each side of the Peace Tower. This soldier represents soldiers of the Great War of 1914–1918. Canadians made a very large sacrifice in the Great War, also known as the First World War. Over 66,000 Canadians gave their lives, more than in any other conflict in which Canada has ever been involved.
This plate and paving stone are located on the floor of the Memorial Chamber in the Peace Tower. The flagstones used in the Memorial Chamber were carefully collected from various battlefields in France and Belgium. The Somme was the scene of a tragic battle in the First World War. It took place in France during the summer of 1916. Many soldiers from Newfoundland lost their lives in this battle.
This carving of a carrier pigeon is made of limestone and is over the entrance of the Memorial Chamber. Before there were more advanced ways of communication like email or even radio communications, soldiers relied on carrier pigeons to deliver important messages.
This brick is made of limestone and is on the outside of the Centre Block on the west wing of the building. To Canadians, the Battle of Vimy Ridge is very meaningful. It was the first time in Canada's history that the Canadian army fought as a complete organization in an independent battle under Canadian command. Vimy Ridge was captured from the enemy on Easter Monday, 1917, which was a major turning point for the Allied forces.