When you're visiting the capital of any country, state, province or other region, chances are there will be almost innumerable government and national buildings that might pique your interest. From the actual seat of the government to national art galleries, capital cities tend to be chock-full of interesting tours, activities and other things to do, no matter your age or favourite things to check out.
This is certainly true of Ottawa, the capital city of Canada. The metropolis might not have the famed French-influenced architecture of Montreal, the modern, cutting edge look of Toronto, or the back to nature feel of Vancouver, but there are plenty of cool sights to behold here.
When thinking about the important buildings you want to hit during your time in the city, it's easy for the list of must-sees to grow out of control. If you're looking to plan out your mode of attack when visiting the most interesting edifices in Ottawa, make sure you check out the following places:
The Supreme Court
Located to the left of Parliament Hill, the Supreme Court of Canada is the highest court in the nation and should be on all travellers' lists. According to Ottawa Kiosk, there are guided tours available every day, and lucky guests may be able to sit in on court hearings. However, art and architecture lovers - especially those who are fans of art deco - are sure to find something interesting as well. There are also two statues - Justicia and Veritas - standing outside.
The National Art Gallery
The huge glass paneled National Art Gallery can be seen from Parliament Hill, and shouldn't be missed by anyone visiting the city. Ottawa Tourism pointed out that each trip to the building will probably be different than the last, if only because of the size of the collection. There are approximately 1,200 pieces of art contained therein, and these pieces, as well as special exhibits, are constantly rotating. And it's not just all contained inside - there are various statues and sculptures dotting the grounds.
Canadian War Museum
As Carleton University pointed out, a visit to the Canadian War Museum probably isn't one best suited for those who are in a rush - it's easy to spend the whole day there. While the main focuses of the institution are World War I and World War II, the halls feature information and exhibits covering each war Canada has participated in, through modern day campaigns in the Middle East. The source detailed that one favourite feature for many visitors is the piece of the Berlin Wall on display.
The Peace Tower
Likely one of the most easily recognizable buildings in Ottawa, the Peace Tower, which is part of the Centre Block of Parliament Buildings, allows visitors to behold a unique and stunning view of the city, for those brave enough to take a trip to the top, Ottawa Tourism reported. There are free, guided tours available if individuals are interested on passing through this edifice before making their way into the parliament building. Those who decide to not venture there will probably be affected by the tower anyway - it contains 53 bells that ring out to mark the passage of each quarter hour.
The Library of Parliament
When a massive fire swept through Parliament Hill in 1916, it destroyed the original parliament buildings - all except for the National Library because an employee closed its steel doors, Ottawa Tourism explained. However, the Parliament website pointed out that much of the inside was replaced after a 1952 fire. There are many research papers, books, electronic databases and so on available in the gorgeous interior.
The East Block
History buffs will want to check out the East Block on Parliament Hill. The offices of a number of famous Canadian statesmen, including the nation's first prime minister, Sir John MacDonald, and former prime minister Sir George-Etienne Cartier, are available for tour. Visitors can also view the original vault doors when part of the building served as the first Bank of Canada.