Parliament Hill / by David Veldman

I recently went to visit my parents in the heart of downtown Ottawa, the bustling Capital of our nation. 

It was a casual visit - a stroll around on a particularly warm January day. However, we ended up at Parliament hill - which under overcast Sunday skies was as close to deserted as it gets. Realizing that free tours were still departing, we nipped over to the office and grabbed a set. 

Before continuing, I'd like to point out how amazing it is that we can tour our house of legislation every day of the week, for free. 

 

As you may know, the Center Block was built 100 years ago, after the previous iteration burned down. However, the library, a neo-gothic masterpiece, was unharmed, making it roughly 50 years older than the rest of the building. 

 

From the outside the library is incredible - and no less so on the interior, which I will show later.

We began our tour in the hallways of parliament - speaking in hushed tones as the building is still still a workplace for our government.

I spotted this quiet sitting spot - a beautiful testimony to the architects that displayed a wonderful attention to detail in even the mundane spots.

 

The light was fading outside, and the building is dimly lit throughout. I was forced to shoot at a very high ISO, and I was using my LX100. However I was very pleased with the shot above. 

 

The foyer to the house of commons - beautiful and serene, a marked contrast to its regular use as a forum for post debate scrums.

Next we headed to the Library - and what a library. It is easily more beautiful inside than out. However, even at 18mm there was no way I could capture all of it, so I focused on the venerable statue of Queen Victoria.

Had I the time, I would have spent time shooting an image stack to capture the entire scene. However I only had a few minutes. 

Of course, we also got to see the red Senate.

Lastly, while we were exiting, I considered trying to capture the detail of the vaulted ceiling, and I did. The image isn't perfectly sharp, and it's a bit noisy, but I like it nonetheless. 

Parliament hill was great fun to tour. Regardless of your political inclinations, we should all try our best to support and understand our government, and stay ready to hold them accountable if they fail to represent the wishes of the people. 

The Parliament buildings are monuments to human dignity, and cathedrals of freedom. They represent an ideal that we in the West hold in high esteem - self determination.

 

PS - the buildings will be closed next year for 10 years. I recommend you visit now if you haven't already.