We spent our first day in Ottawa wandering around Parliament Hill and the city center.
Before Ottawa became the beautiful city it is today it used to be a rough lumber town with roads of mud. In 1857, after years of indecision by ’colonial’ politicians, Queen Victoria chose this ‘little lumber-town as the capital of the Province of Canada( consisting at that time of what is today Quebec and Ontario). Her choice of an unpresuming, yet militarily strategic city was an attempt to ease the political tension of the day. Ten years later, she witnessed the emergence of a new, independent nation with its own constitution when she signed the “British North America Act” in 1867. A monument to Queen Victoria was unveiled on Parliament Hill in 1901.
With the emergence of a new nation, the Fathers of Confederation needed to decide on the political structure of the country. To unanimous consent, a constitutional monarchy was chosen and a Canadian parliamentary model was set up based on the structure introduced by Queen Victoria in Great Britain. The laws and procedures , which are still the basis of today’s constitution was the product of many years negotiations among the four colonies that made up the new country, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Quebec and Ontario as well as two colonies that elected not to join until later: Prince Edward Island (1873) and Newfoundland(1949). The seventh colony, British Columbia, joined in 1871, but never took part in the original discussions.
Parliament Hill stands at the heart of Canada as a national landmark, the centre stage of Canadian democracy and a heritage treasure. In 1826 this was a site of a military camp known as Barrack Hill.