Visit the legislative headquarters of British Columbia to admire neo-baroque architecture and murals depicting scenes from the province’s history.
The British Columbia Parliament Buildings are arguably Victoria’s most well-known landmark. Admire 19th-century architecture, stroll around the premier’s rose garden and see sculptures of historical figures and murals portraying life in British Columbia. The grounds of the Parliament Building and Legislative Assembly are also the location for many free cultural events, such as live music performances and ceremonies. Pass by after dark when over 3,000 lights illuminate the building, a picturesque sight.
The English-born architect Francis Rattenbury designed Victoria’s new legislative building and it officially opened in 1898. Architecture enthusiasts will enjoy taking photos of the building’s neo-baroque design, which includes 33 copper domes.
Look up at the life-sized statue of Captain George Vancouver standing on top of the building’s main dome and pointing towards Vancouver, the city named after him. The building is adorned with other sculptures, including one of chief Maquinna. He was the leader of the Nuu-chah-nulth indigenous tribe from Nootka Sound.
In front of the building stands the statue of Queen Victoria. Walk past the fountain to climb the main stairs to the entrance. Inside, inspect the murals that decorate the rotunda to see scenes from British Columbia’s past. Peek into the legislative chamber to see where parliamentary decisions are made. A stained-glass window commemorates the diamond jubilee of Queen Victoria.
From the building’s front lawn you can sit and enjoy views of Victoria’s waterfront. The lawn is part of the Symphony Splash, a classical music concert that takes place on a floating stage in the Inner Harbour.
Overlooking the Inner Harbour, the British Columbia Parliament Buildings are within easy walking distance of downtown Victoria. There are several pay-and-display parking lots nearby and public buses stop on the surrounding streets.
The British Columbia Parliament Buildings are open Monday through Friday and on the weekend May through September. Free 45-minute guided tours take place at regular intervals throughout the day. Ask at the main entrance for a schedule or check out the schedule of events on the legislative ground’s official website.