The Peace Tower, in the Centre Block of Parliament Hill, is one of Ottawa’s most recognizable icons. Discover the political history of Canada, learn about Gothic Revival architecture and enjoy some of the best views of Ottawa’s city center.
Enter through the gates on Wellington Street where you will instantly see the Centre Block and the 302-foot (92.2-meter) Peace Tower. The Centre Block was destroyed in a fire in 1916 and was rebuilt with the Peace Tower. Both are stunning examples of Gothic Revival architecture. Admire the stained and etched glasswork in the windows and the iron finials and crests.
On the third floor of the Peace Tower is the Memorial Chamber, a tribute to the Canadians who have lost their lives in conflict since the Confederation. Visit the observation area with its 360-degree views. The tower features a carillon of 53 bells and a four-faced clock. The bells range in size and shape, the largest weighing 23,000 pounds (10,000 kilograms) and the smallest 9.9 pounds (4.5 kilograms). Between September and June, the bells are played on weekdays. Visit in August when you can stroll through the gardens and listen to hour-long recitals.
Explore the pavilions on Parliament Hill. From the public gallery you can listen to live debates in the Senate or House of Commons. Visit the domed Library of Parliament and see the marble statue of a young Queen Victoria. The symbolism of the artworks and decoration of the chambers, including the gold-leaf ceilings, serve to remind parliamentarians of the country they are serving.
Tours of the Peace Tower are free of charge however, ticket numbers are limited and issued on a first-come, first-served basis, so arrive early to avoid disappointment. The Peace Tower is in central Ottawa. There is no on-site public car parking at Parliament Hill however, you can park for a fee in lots nearby. Opening hours and access vary throughout the year, so check the website or call ahead for details.