Saturday 31 July 2010


The winner of the book THE CASE OF THE MISSING SERVANT by Tarquin Hall is David Cranmer selected by the Annabet Randomizer. This book was supplied by Tarquin Hall's literary agency, Fletcher & Company. David, please email me with your mailing particulars. Thank you to everyone who entered.

Thursday 29 July 2010

Hiking Trails - Glacier House

[1]-nearing Glacier National Park gate with the Sir Donald Range in the background

This post is for Robb Kloss of Ruahine Ramblings in New Zealand who is celebrating his birthday. Please pop over to wish him a good one.

Glacier House is the focal point for ten hiking trails in Glacier National Park, British Columbia. These ten backcountry trails that lead out of the Illecillewaet Campground date from the early days of railway tourism and still follow the routes laid out by the original Swiss Guides of Glacier House.

[2-Rogers Pass rest stop with Illecillewaet Glacier in background - click to enlarge]

Illecillewaet Campground is located 2.6 km west of the Rogers Pass Discovery Centre located in an avalanche shelter on the Trans-Canada Highway (hwy 1).

[3 - Rogers Pass Discovery Centre built in an avalanche shelter - click to enlarge
This avalanche shelter was built as a protection against the multiple avalanches that occur in Rogers Pass. Every year there is a memorial for those who lost their lives in the March 4, 1910 avalanche. This year marks the 100th year anniversary.]

The campground is open from late June to September 1 and offers 60 campsites, flush toilet washroom buildings, log kitchen shelters, food lockers, firewood and drinking water supplies.

[4 - Illecillewaet Campground]

[4A-Gopher (Richardson Ground Squirrel) - click to enlarge]

Go to the second parking lot past the campground, walk up the rail trail toward the Wheeler Hut for about 100m, crossing the Illecillewaet River.

[5- Trail crosses the Illecillewaet River]

There is an interpretative trail at the Glacier House ruins. Glacier House had been demolished in 1929.

[6-Foundations of Glacier House]

Below the Great Glacier (later called the Illecillewaet) and on the main line, the C.P.R. constructed Glacier House - a traditional C.P.R. hotel. Originally, the hotel was built to eliminate the need to haul heavy dining cars over the pass. Trains were conveniently scheduled so that passengers could lunch at the hotel.

[7-Glacier House former wall]

Glacier House quickly became a popular tourist attraction and facilities were eventually expanded to include 90 rooms and related services.

[8-Glacier House old furnace remains]

The C.P.R. brought mountain climbing guides from Switzerland and the hotel became a focal point for mountaineering in the Selkirks and North America.

[9 -Winter scene at Glacier House. Note snow piles surrounding train tracks and station c.1885-1890s - for photo clink on link to Glenbow Archives]

After a massive avalanche on March 10, 1910 that killed 58, the CPR admitted defeat to the weather conditions of Rogers Pass and began in 1913 to build a tunnel underneath Mount Carroll (Macdonald) which was called the Connaught Tunnel. In 1917 the Connaught Tunnel opened for rail traffic with a distance of 1.6km to bypass the dangerous Rogers Pass.

Glacier House continued to operate until 1925 losing its business to the Banff Springs Hotel and the Chateau Lake Louise, as well as the retreat of the Illecillewaet Glacier which had been 150 feet from the hotel.

Source: Source: ParksCanada - Rogers Pass

Photo Credits: [1]-RegNatarajan CC=flickr, [2]-CanadaGood CC=nc-nd-flickr, [3]-Canoe Too CC=nc-nd-flickr, [4][6][7][8]-elinar CC=nc-flickr, [4A]-Jason Liew CC=nc-sa-flickr, [5]-kleinmantara CC=nc-sa-flickr.

Monday 26 July 2010

My Town Monday - Kicking Horse Pass - The Big Hill

[1-Looking SW toward Kicking Horse Pass, Mt. Stephen on far right - click to enlarge]

When the Canadian Pacific Railway continued construction on its transcontinental railroad in 1885 the Big Hill was the most difficult portion of the route. It was located in the Canadian Rockies west of the Continental Divide and Kicking Horse Pass.

[2-CP Empress 2816 backing up before running Morant's Curve -click to enlarge]

The rail line route along the Kicking Horse River was considered the worst. From the west end of Wapta Lake the original survey revealed a uniform grade of 2.2% (116 feet to the mile) to Ottertail required a 1,400 foot tunnel through Mount Stephen and exposure to avalanche paths. The CPR realized that digging this tunnel would delay things for a year. This resulted in a temporary alternate route being built instead. The new route descended at 232 feet per mile or 4.5%, more than double, passing Wapta Lake to the base of Mount Stephen, along the Kicking Horse to a point just west of Field, then climbing again the meet the original survey at Muskeg Summit.

[3 - CP Empress 2816 crosses the Ottertail - click to enlarge]

Three special reverse grade dead end spurs to control runaway trains were built. Runaways and deaths did occur despite the safety precautions. The Big Hill between Field and Hector that ran for eight miles was ‘temporary’ for almost 25 years. It took four engines to get 710 tons up the grade. Trains were limited to a certain number of cars; freights were allowed more and passenger trains less. The route was dangerous and very expensive to operate. The remains of one accident can be found near the Kicking Horse River campground.

Trains loaded with heavy dining cars and sleeping cars were unable to climb the Big Hill, resulted in the CPR building rest stops at Mount Stephen House and Glacier House.

[4 - CP Empress 2816 entering Field - click to enlarge]

Special locomotives had to be built to haul the trains up the Big Hill. Heavy 2-8-0’s were enormous for their day, the first Consolidation type equipped with water brakes. Hundreds more would follow, larger and stronger, and were stationed at Field where a train stonehouse with turntable had been built for their storage and maintenance. Field had originally been known as the Third Siding until December 1884 when the CPR named it after C.W. Field, a Chicago businessman, whom they hoped would invest in their railroad.

[5 - Big Hill and CPR 1890]

Big Hill” on the CPR, 1890. Safety Switch No. 1 and its uphill spur are shown foreground and right; the truss bridge under the rear of the train, now known as the "Old Bridge", survives as a tourist attraction.

In 1909 the Big Hill was replaced by an engineering marvel, the Spiral Tunnels, reducing the grade to 2.2%, the norm for railroad tracks for maximum grade, at a cost of $1.5 million.

[6 - Spiral Tunnels in early 1920s - click to enlarge]

The tunnel under Cathedral mountain is 3255 feet long with a turn of 291 degrees, and the one under Mount Ogden turns through 217 degrees over 2992 feet. When the tunnels were bored, the measurements were off on one tunnel 1.5 feet when the two ends connected, and on the other tunnel, six inches.

[7 - CP Empress 2816 climbing rise to Spiral Tunnels - click to enlarge]

A bit of trivia about Mount Ogden: it was once the venue for a piano concert. A railway employee had been transferred and decided to move his small piano by loading it aboard a small push car. As he coasted through the lower tunnel he played his piano, much to the surprise of another railway employee who was patrolling the tunnel, watching for rockfall.

[8 - Spiral Tunnels map - click to enlarge]

There is a lookout just off the Trans-Canada Highway from which visitors can observe both portals of the tunnel. Passengers can ride this route, at least in the summer, on Great Canadian Railtours' "Rocky Mountaineer" train from Calgary to Vancouver.

For other participants for My Town Monday go here.

Sources: ParksCanada – Kicking Horse Pass Historical Site ,
CP 2816 inaugural run 2001

Photo Credits: [1]-Matthew Klassen CC=nc-nd-flickr,[2][3][4][7]-Geoff S CC=nc-flickr, [5]-wikipedia, [6]-Sherlock77 (James) CC=nc-nd-flickr, [8]-Robert aka Bob CC=nc-nd-flickr.

Friday 23 July 2010

Reflections (9)

This is Moraine Lake in the Valley of the Ten Peaks near Lake Louise, Banff National Park.

Photo Credit: brilang CC=nc-sa-flickr.

Thursday 22 July 2010

Code Blue by Richard L. Mabry, M.D. (Book Review)

In the first book of the Prescription for Trouble series, “Code Blue” means more to Dr. Cathy Sewell than the cardiac emergency she has to face. It describes her mental state as she finds that coming back to her hometown hasn’t brought her the peace she so desperately needs. Instead, it’s clear that someone there wants her gone…or dead.

“Cathy returns to her hometown seeking healing after a broken relationship, but discovers that among her friends and acquaintances is someone who wants her out of town…or dead. Lawyer Will Kennedy, her high school sweetheart, offers help, but does it carry a price tag? Is hospital chief of staff, Dr. Marcus Bell, really on her side in her fight to get hospital privileges? Is Will’s father, Pastor Matthew Kennedy, interested in advising her or just trying to get her back to the church she left years ago? When one of Cathy’s prescriptions almost kills the town banker, it sets the stage for a malpractice suit that could end her time in town, if not her career. It’s soon clear that this return home was a prescription for trouble.”

Dr. Cathy Sewell, a capable surgeon, has returned home to Dainger, Texas after breaking up with her fiancé hoping to get her life back on track. Her life is now filled with new challenges: two men who are trying to date her, a medical colleague and her high school sweetheart; someone is trying to discredit her medical abilities; and her life is in danger from the driver of a black SUV.

Situations from her past threaten to overwhelm Cathy, who questions her faith in God, and the old feelings that surface for a former sweetheart whom she left to attend college. She blames God for the death of her parents in an accident that prevented them from attending her graduation from medical school.

The plot moved quickly once the medical detail appeared with clues being provided, bit by bit, to reveal there were a few citizens who found fault with Cathy’s return. As her problems mount, Cathy feels vulnerable, self-critical and questions her sanity while trying to prove herself capable before her colleagues, patients and to herself.

All the characters had definite attitudes and mannerisms that fit in how they dealt with problematic situations. The details surrounding the medical and legal aspects were realistic, although as to the latter there were a few things that raised my eyebrows over procedure.

There were several brilliant twists and turns with red herrings that kept me intrigued and surprised, as I had not seen them coming. There were a couple of places where the consequences of a particular action could only lead in one direction. Despite this, the suspense built up to a thriller level toward the end which I thoroughly enjoyed.

Dr. Mabry demonstrated his expertise in the medical field while presenting the terminology in layman’s terms and gripping action. Also, he has done a deft job of conveying that God is always there waiting to assist those who reach out.

Dr. Mabry’s second novel in the series, Medical Error, will be available September 2010.

Review copy provided by Richard Mabry.

Paperback: 288 pages
Publisher: Abingdon Press
Author website: Richard L. Mabry, MD
Published: April 1, 2010

Available at:

Wednesday 21 July 2010


Reminder for those wanting to enter the draw for this book on July 30, 2010. Please leave a comment below or at my review here.

Thursday 15 July 2010

Every Lost Country by Steven Heighton (Book Review)

From the inside flap:

Lewis Book, a doctor with a history of embroiling himself in conflicts, and his daughter, Sophie, travel to Nepal to join a climbing expedition. One evening, as Sophie sits on the border between China and Nepal, watching the sun set over the Himalayas, she spots a group of Tibetan refugees fleeing from Chinese soldiers. When shooting starts, Dr. Book rushes toward the ensuing melee, ignoring the objections of Lawson, the expedition leader, who doesn’t want to get involved and spoil his chance to be the first climber to summit Kyatruk. Lawson is further enraged when Amaris, a Chinese-Canadian filmmaker recording the expedition, joins Book with her camcorder in hand. When the surviving Tibetans are captured just short of the border, Lawson and Sophie look on helplessly as Book and Amaris are taken away with them, down the glacier into China. From that point, Lawson continues his ascent, and the fugitives are caught in an explosive and thrilling pursuit that will test their convictions, courage and endurance.

“Inspired by an actual event, Every Lost Country is a gripping novel about heroism, human failings and what love requires. When is it acceptable to be a bystander, and when do life and loyalty demand more?”

Mr. Heighton provides an insider’s glimpse into the world of the Sherpa people in Tibet and Nepal, their customs and the simple life they live without material goods. Their spiritual leader is the Dalai Lama, representative of the life they aspire to. These people are the focus of this novel, a small group of Tibetan people seeking refuge and freedom in nearby Nepal. The Tibetans are caught in a conflict between keeping their traditional life and those who co-operate with the Chinese. The Chinese view any Tibetan as a rebel who does not support China’s occupation of their country.

Parallels of the two main plots are clear: the climb of the mountain and the plight of the Canadians in escaping the Chinese military. Multiple sub-plots are seen through the narratives of various characters. Each of the main and sub-characters work through their inner struggles over personal convictions and failures of their complicated backstories. They are seen initially as separate threads then woven together through different perspectives and finally coming together to become one.

Dr. Lewis Book who has spent most of his life working for Doctors Without Borders, living in crisis zones, is committed to assist victims without regard for his own safety. Acting true to character, Book rushes across the border into Tibet to assist those wounded in the shooting. Sophie, not to be abandoned once again by her father, follows. Amaris McRae, documentary filmmaker, sees her chance at a better story than the climbing expedition. When the Canadians are at the mercy of the elements of nature and the Chinese military they begin to understand Wade Lawson’s single-minded desire to conquer a mountain.

Wade Lawson is determined at any cost to reach the summit of Kyatruk at 7,878 metres. He goes through self-reflection during episodes of the psychological battle against the thin air and weather conditions of high altitudes. The climbing sequences are spectacular and gripping, especially at the end.

An engaging character was Zapa, the Himalayan yak, despite his meager part added to the tapestry of the novel.

This book kept me reading, mesmerized. Mr. Heighton’s evocative writing style lures the reader in with perfect detailed descriptions of the landscape, cultures, emotions, climate, dilemmas and sensations experienced by high altitude mountaineers; and complex characters who feel like friends after a couple of chapters. When the ending came I was satisfied with how it closed, but sorry to see it end. I will be reading more of this author's work.

Steven Heighton is the author of the novel Afterlands, which has appeared in six countries; was a New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice along with a best book of the year selection in ten publications in Canada, the US, and the UK; and has been optioned for film. He is also the author of The Shadow Boxer, a Canadian bestseller and a Publishers Weekly Book of the Year. His work has been translated into ten languages, and his poems and stories have appeared in the London Review of Books, Poetry, Tin House, The Walrus, Europe, Agni, Poetry London, Brick, Best...

Special thanks to Julie Forrest for providing a review copy.

Book format: Hardcover, 352 pages
Genre: General Fiction (Literary Adventure)
Publisher: Knopf Canada
Author website: Steven Heighton
Available: May 4, 2010 – for Kindles

Monday 12 July 2010

My Town Monday - Samuel B. Steele - Kicking Horse Pass

[1 - Kicking Horse Pass - click to enlarge]

In 1885, the work on the Canadian Pacific Railroad was being made to reach the first crossing of the Columbia River, about 70 miles west of Laggan (Lake Louise)

[2 - Lake Louise train station today]

[3 - Laggan train station - 1889] link to photohere

to a place now known as Donald (named after Lord Strathcona. Donald is in the Rocky Mountain Trench near Marl Creek Provincial Park, B.C.).

[4 - Road in Kicking Horse Pass in 1920s - click to enlarge]

Samuel Steele was to ensure that the Mounted Police were in detachments along the CPR line during its construction. The railroad had constructed a Tote road to assist those working for the CPR to transport their supplies carried by horse and mule teams. Storage areas had been made at convenient distances which were overseen by a CPR employee. From these stores the contractors obtained what they needed for their contracts.

[5 - Tote Road (Eagle Pass Wagon Road 1885)]

The Tote road was cut out of solid rock near the Columbia River several hundred feet above. An exception to this was the Kicking Horse Flats near the Beaverfoot Pass.

[6 - Kicking Horse River Flats - click to enlarge]

The Kicking Horse Pass was named by Dr. James Hector, who had accompanied Captain Palliser during the exploration of western Canada in the 1850s. Hector explored the pass accompanied by a party of First Nations. At one of his camps he was kicked by a horse he had been trying to put a pack saddle on, breaking several of his ribs and knocking him unconscious. The natives thought he was dead, dug a grave and placed him in it. When they saw signs of life they removed him from the grave.

The Tote road near Golden was dangerous at any given point, especially at the highest being more than a thousand feet above the raging torrent of Kicking Horse River. Any horse that tended to shy or is too excitable in nature was considered not suitable for such a trip. Steele found that horses were unafraid of the precipice, but those horses that shied regularly would keep themselves well away from the rocky wall. On one trip Steele took one of the horses sent to the NWMP to Laggan from Calgary. At the most dangerous part of the Tote road Steele “met an Italian navvy with his bundle of blankets, and he, as was then the custom, instead of going to the right, planted himself against the wall of rock furthest from the precipice. At the sight of the extraordinary object, my horse, crazed with fright, whirled about, and I just saved myself and the horse by hurling myself on to the road.”

Steele, known for his strength, managed to keep hold of reins and bridle of the horse, whose hindquarters were over the precipice and its body resting on the edge. Steele's companion on a steady horse assisted in getting the horse back on the road. Steele sent the horse back to Calgary with a letter to the O.C. to send only horses accustomed to working in the mountains and not horses raised on the plains.

For other participants for My Town Monday go here.


For previous posts on this series: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, Part 9.

Sources: Forty Years in Canada (1914) by Col. S.B. Steele, pp. 188-190

Photo Credits: [1]-Matthew Klassen CC=nc-nd-flickr, [2]-Rachelw123 CC=nc-nd-flickr, [3]-Glenbow Archives, [4]=Sherlock77 (James) CC=nc-nd-flickr, [5]-Wikipedia, [6]-babyonborg CC=nc-nd-flickr.

Friday 9 July 2010

Reflections (8)

The Skeena River belongs to the Skeena Watershed in northwestern central British Columbia and has long been known as the “River of Mists”. From 1864 to 1912 it was used as a major waterway for steamboats.

The Skeena is well known for sport-fishing, particularly salmon of very large size such as a world record Chinook salmon of 92 and one-half pounds, a record Coho salmon weighing 25 and one-half pounds and a 36-pound steelhead. The types of pacific salmon that can be found in this river are: Chinook, Chum, Coho, Pink, Sockeye and Steelhead.

Photo Credit: DreamEchos CC=nc-flickr. Click to enlarge.

Monday 5 July 2010

My Town Monday - Samuel B Steele - Twenty Miles For A Drink

[Yoho National Park - Cathedral Peak with CPR locomotive above Kicking Horse River ca. 1920 - click to enlarge]

By the end of 1883, the Canadian Pacific Railway had reached the Rocky Mountains, just eight km (5 miles) east of Kicking Horse Pass.

In April 1884, Samuel Steele of the NWMP was assigned to maintain the law during the construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway in British Columbia. Their jurisdiction was along the surveyed line of the railroad which consisted of an area 20 miles wide. This area was proclaimed on May 6, 1884 by the Parliament of the Dominion of Canada under the Preservation of Peace on Public Works Act. The Public Works Peace Preservation Act was amended on 2nd of June 1884 to the original ten miles on either side of the CPR railroad construction line to encompass one hundred and thirty miles.

In 1884 the sale of intoxicating liquor was prohibited. The only location where liquor could be sold was if there was a bar in a tent or cabin. Any person caught in the act of selling, were liable to a fine of $40.00 for the first and second offences; for the third they could be imprisoned. As the Public Works Peace Preservation Act covered a narrow strip of land, the CPR labourers (“navvies”) were able to leave that specified area at any time after they received their month’s wages to spend the entire amount if desired on a prolonged spree. This delayed the progress of the construction to the railroad line.

The Government of British Columbia determined they should not be deprived of internal revenue and issued licences to sell “spirituous and fermented liquors” within the land proclaimed under the Act. The NWMP were given the right to ensure that the building of the CPR would not be delayed. Steele enforced the laws to the limit, dealing with those under the influence in public places as to set an example to deter others. He recommended to the government to increase the width of the railroad belt to 40 miles and the NWMP’s powers to enable the magistrates to punish with imprisonment for the second offence of selling intoxicating liquor. The suggestions were approved and to good effect. The wholesale and retail stores on the edge of the 20 mile area had to move, and the “navvies” found the distance too long to walk for a drinking spree.

Sources: Forty Years in Canada (1914) by Col. S.B. Steele, pp. 186-187
Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online

Photo Credit: Sherlock77 (James) CC=nc-nd-flickr.

For other participants for My Town Monday go here.


For previous posts on this series: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8.

When I prepared this post it came as a surprise that the Preservation of Peace on Public Works Act was the first one passed in Parliament for the Dominion of Canada in 1884. In the previous MTM post about the protests during the G20 Summit in Toronto I had been only aware of the Public Works Protection Act of 1939 with current amendments.

Friday 2 July 2010

Reflections (7)

This photo was taken in EC Manning Park which is between Hope and Princeton on Highway 3 in the southern region of British Columbia. This park is in the middle of the Cascade Mountains and a three hour drive from Vancouver or the Okanagan. The park is 70,844 hectares of rugged forested mountains, deep valleys, alpine meadows, lakes and rivers. There is ample opportunity for hiking on trails of 15-minute duration up to six days.

Google Map
Source: B.C. Parks

Photo Credit: marketingfacts CC=nc-flickr. CLICK TO ENLARGE.

Thursday 1 July 2010

CANADA DAY - 1867 to 2010

[1] This post has had amendments made to it from the July 1, 2008 post.

The origin of the name “Canada” comes from the expedition of French explorer Jacques Cartier during a trip up the St. Lawrence River in 1535. The Iroquois pointed out the route to the village of Stadacona, the future site of Quebec City, used the word “kanata”, the Huron-Iroquois word for village. Jacques Cartier used the word “Canada” to refer to both the settlement of Stadacona and the land surrounding it.

In 1841, the British Parliament united Upper and Lower Canada into a new colony, called the Province of Canada. A single legislature, consisting of an elected Legislative Assembly and an appointed Legislative Council, was created. The assembly's eighty-four members were equally divided between the former provinces of Upper and Lower Canada, though the latter had a higher population. The British government, through the royally-appointed Governors, still exercised considerable influence over Canadian affairs. This influence was reduced in 1848, when the province was granted responsible government.

From 1841 to 1844, Parliament met on what is now the site of Kingston General Hospital in Kingston, Ontario. In 1849, the Parliament Building in Montreal, which had been the home of the legislature since being transferred from Kingston in 1843, burnt down. In 1857, the legislature was moved to Ottawa, after several years of alternating between Toronto and Quebec City.

[2-Fathers of Canadian Confederation]

The modern-day Parliament of Canada, however, did not come into existence until 1867. In that year, the British Parliament passed the British North America Act 1867, uniting the Province of Canada (which was separated into Quebec and Ontario), Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick into a single federation, called the Dominion of Canada. The new Canadian Parliament consisted of the Queen (represented by the Governor General), the Senate and the House of Commons. An important influence was the American Civil War, which had just concluded, and had indicated to many Canadians the faults of the federal system as implemented in the United States. In part because of the Civil War, the American model, with relatively powerful states and a less powerful federal government, was rejected. The British North America Act limited the powers of the provinces, providing that all subjects not explicitly delegated to them remain within the authority of the federal Parliament. Yet it gave provinces unique powers in certain agreed-upon areas of funding, and that division still exists today.

In 1866, the colonies of British Columbia (formerly New Caledonia) and Vancouver Island were united. British Columbia had been important for British control of the Pacific Ocean, and was a centre of the fur trade between Britain, the United States, Russia, Spain, and China. It did not participate in the original Confederation conferences, but agreed to join Canada in 1871 when John A. Macdonald promised to build a transcontinental railroad across the continent through the Northwest Territories (formerly Rupert’s Land and the North-Western Territory), which at this time still extended to the U.S. border. The Canadian Pacific Railway and the Dominion Land Survey were begun soon after.

In 1873, Prince Edward Island, the Maritime colony that had opted not to join Confederation in 1867, was admitted into the country.

In 1898, the boundaries were changed in the Districts of Mackenzie, Keewatin, Ungava, Franklin and earlier in 1897 for Yukon. The District of Yukon became a Territory separate from the North-West Territories in 1898, while Quebec boundaries are extended north.

In 1905, Alberta and Saskatchewan were created as provinces to make a total of nine provinces in the Dominion of Canada. The district of Keewatin was transferred back to the Northwest Territories. Due to the changes in adjoining areas the boundaries of the Northwest Territories were redefined in 1906.

In 1949, at its own request, after a plebiscite, Newfoundland enters the Confederation as the tenth province of the Dominion of Canada.

In 1999 on April 1st, Nunavut became Canada's third territory.

[3-Parliament Buildings, Ottawa, as seen from across the Ottawa River at Gatineau, Quebec]

Parliament Hill is a scenic location on the southern banks of the Ottawa River in downtown Ottawa, Ontario. Its Gothic revival suite of buildings – the Parliament Buildings – serves as the home of the Parliament of Canada; the best known of these buildings is the Centre Block, with its prominent Peace Tower, a national symbol. Parliament Hill attracts approximately 3 million visitors each year.

The entire parliamentary precinct measures 112,360 square metres (1,209,433 sq ft.), bounded on the north by the Ottawa River, on the east by the Rideau Canal, on the south by Wellington Street, and on the west by a service road near the Supreme Court.

The main buildings are: the Centre Block, built between 1865 and 1927, containing the House of Commons and Senate chambers, and featuring the Peace Tower and Library of Parliament; the East Block, built in two stages in 1867 and 1910, containing senators' offices and preserved Confederation-era rooms; and the West Block, built in 1865, containing ministers' and MPs' offices and meeting rooms. The three blocks are disposed around a large grassy quadrangle, while the Centre Block is surrounded by lawns and a walk overlooking the Ottawa River. The Library of Parliament was opened in 1876. The Legislature of the Province of Canadsa met for the first time in the new building on June 8, 1866, and the new Parliament of the Dominion of Canada began its first session there on November 6, 1867.

The overall site is in a combination of the High Victorian Gothic, English garden, formal garden styles popular at the end of the 19th century. The Palace of Westminster and precinct had recently been rebuilt in a similar style, and the choice of a gothic rather than an American inspired neoclassical design, was a symbol of Canada's continued links to Britain.

Source: Wikipedia
Photo Credits: [1]-vtgard CC=nc-nd-flickr; [2]-Wikipedia; [3]-Bobcatnorth CC=nc-sa-flickr.