Parliament Hill, colloquially known as The Hill, is an area of Crown land on the southern banks of the Ottawa River in Downtown Ottawa, Ontario. Its Gothic revival suite of buildings serves as the home of the Parliament of Canada and contains a number of architectural elements of national symbolic importance. Parliament Hill attracts approximately 3 million visitors each year.
Originally the site of a military base in the 18th and early 19th centuries, development of the area into a governmental precinct began in 1859, after Queen Victoria chose Bytown as the capital of the Province of Canada. Following a number of extensions to the parliament and departmental buildings and a fire in 1916 that destroyed the Centre Block, Parliament Hill took on its present form with the completion of the Peace Tower in 1927.
The parliament buildings are three edifices arranged around three sides of Parliament Hill's central lawn, the use and administration of the spaces within each building being overseen by the speakers of each chamber of the legislature. The Centre Block contains the Senate and Commons chambers, and is fronted by the Peace Tower on the south facade, with the Library of Parliament at the building's rear.
The East and West Blocks each contain ministers' and senators' offices, as well as meeting rooms and other administrative spaces. Gothic Revival has been used as the unifying style of all three structures, though the Centre Block is a more modern Gothic Revival, while the older East and West Blocks are of a Victorian High Gothic This collection is one of the most important examples of the Gothic Revival style anywhere in the world; while the manner and design of the buildings are unquestionably Gothic, they resemble no building constructed during the Middle Ages.
The forms were the same, but their arrangement was uniquely modern. The parliament buildings also departed from the Medieval models by integrating a variety of eras and styles of Gothic architecture, including elements from Britain, France, the Low Countries, and Italy, all in three buildings. In his 1867 Hand Book to the Parliamentary and Departmental Buildings, Canada, Joseph Bureau wrote: "The style of the Buildings is the Gothic of the 12th and 13th Centuries, with modifications to suit the climate of Canada.