Thursday, February 17, 2011

Window on Canada: British Columbia Parliament Buildings

Architect Francis Rattenbury, who was 25 at the time, won the bid to in the 1890s to design the new BC Parliament Buildings in Victoria. He was also the designer of The Fairmont Empress Hotel, located just across the street. The iconic hotel was built in 1908.

Inside the parliament buildings are gold and silver leaf, murals, ornate plaster details and colorful walls and ceilings. Solid marble columns, statuary and stained glass also make up the mix. The grounds are also lovely, and include flower gardens, fountains and statues. The one in the foreground is of Queen Victoria. Free tours of the BC Parliament Buildings are given Monday-Friday.

The Legislative DIning Room is open to the public for lunch between 11:30 AM and 1 PM when the Legislative Assembly is in session. Diners should obtain a visitor pass from the Legislative Security Desk, located just inside the main entrance. For reservations and information, call 250.387.3959.

BC Parliament Buildings overlook Victoria's Inner Harbour on Vancouver Island
Photo by Sue Frause

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I remember going a few times on school trips. One interesting story I recall was about a window. I found it on FLICKR. Not sure if you allow links so I won't, but you can check out the window easily enought. From FLICKR

"Queen Victoria Jubilee Window, Parliament Buildings, Victoria, BC
A stained glass window designed by Powell Brothers Ltd. of Leeds, England to commemorate the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria in 1897.

In 1912, to protect the window from damage during the construction of the Legislative Library, the window was dismantled and placed in the cellar for safe-keeping.

The window was then forgotten (there was that rather distracting Great War that started up) and it wasn't rediscovered until 62 years later. The window was restored and remounted in 1975. The original arched space for this window had used for another stained glass window, so it was placed in this square opening.

It's also interesting to note that the window shows British Columbia's original coat-of-arms, with the setting sun above the Union Jack. When the Queen's representative's saw this they promptly informed the B.C. government that "the sun will NEVER set on the British Empire" and that our coat-of-arms would need to be corrected. Ever since, the setting sun has appeared below the Union Jack in our coat-of-arms."

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