Touring Parliament and the Royal Canadian Mint

After a morning city tour of Ottawa on our first day in the city, we’re excited to tour the Centre Block of Parliament in the afternoon for a couple of reasons.  First, the obvious thrill of standing in the place of so much of our country’s political history; Secondly, to escape the heat for about an hour.  We end up with a lovely tour guide who initially says she’s from Halifax.  After asking where everyone is from, she admits after our reply that she’s really from Dartmouth, but I think we’re the only ones who get her “City of Lakes” reference.

After the requisite security check, we’re off upstairs to just outside the House of Commons.  As the House isn’t sitting on this holiday Monday, we get a great view of the House from inside its doors:

House of CommonsNext up on the tour is the the Library of Parliament.  I think this is my favourite part.  I generally love all libraries, and this one is uniquely beautiful with ornate woodwork and sculptures:

Library of ParliamentInside the Library, they had an interesting display of medals from the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver as well as signed Olympic torches by Canada’s gold medal winners.  On the left, the men’s hockey team, and on the right, the other gold medal winners.  There must be another torch signed by our gold medal winning women’s hockey team somewhere, but I didn’t see it:Olympic torches signed by Canada's gold medal winnersNext on the tour was a stop inside the Senate.  You can really feel this history in this room:

Senate of CanadaWe wrap up the tour and head back out into Ottawa’s heat.  Before leaving the grounds, we take this picture of the Peace Tower and Centre Block of Parliament:

Peace Tower

Another highlight of our touring of Ottawa was a stop at the Royal Canadian Mint.  The location in Ottawa mints collector and commemorative coins and medals, not circulation currency.  The tour was expertly given and we had a chance to see the end to end production live as it was happening on the shop floor (no photos allowed).  At the end of the tour, you get a chance to lift a real gold bar, currently valued at about $700,000 and weighing in at about 28lbs.  Here I am with my chance to pay off my mortgage and buy a new vacation home (the beefy security guard with a gun out of the frame of this picture might have had something to say about that):

Me with a gold bar

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