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Getting Here

peace tower visit

  • Guided tours of Parliament are offered at separate locations starting in February 2019, and during Centre Block's closure:
  • Senate Tours are offered at the Senate of Canada Building (2 Rideau Street) . The building is located one block away from Parliament Hill, between the Château Laurier and the National Arts Centre.
  • House of Commons Tours are offered at West Block (111 Wellington Street) on Parliament Hill. The public entrance is located at the new Visitor Welcome Centre, between the Centre Block and West Block buildings.
  • East Block Tours are offered from July to early September at East Block (111 Wellington) on Parliament Hill. The public entrance is at East Block, located to the right of the Peace Tower.
  • Public transportation: Parliament is served by several bus routes. Please consult OC Transpo for routes in Ottawa or the Société de transport de l'Outaouais for routes from Gatineau.
  • Parking: There is no parking available on Parliament Hill or at the Senate of Canada Building, but several private and city parking lots are located nearby.
  • Tour buses: There are drop-off areas along Wellington street and Queen street, and parking is available in designated areas throughout the city of Ottawa .

Hours and Admission

peace tower visit

  • Opening hours vary depending on the location, day and time of your visit. Consult the calendar for Senate guided tours and House of Commons guided tours for availability.
  • Guided tours are not available when the Senate or House of Commons are sitting, and on December 25 th , January 1 st and July 1 st .
  • Due to parliamentary activity, access to the buildings cannot be guaranteed and tour schedules are subject to change without notice.
  • Visitors are encouraged to reserve tickets in advance. A limited number of same day tickets may be available at each site on a first-come first-served basis.

Security & Bag Restrictions

peace tower visit

  • All visitors are required to go through security scanning when entering the buildings. Line-ups are to be expected. Please arrive 20 minutes before the time shown on your ticket.
  • Only one (1) bag smaller than 35.5 cm x 30.5 cm x 19 cm (14” x 12” x 7.5”) is permitted per visitor. Visitors carrying any item that exceeds these dimensions will be denied entry. There will be no bag check available. Loose items from the cargo areas of strollers or wheelchairs are not permitted.
  • Participating in any form of demonstration inside the buildings is prohibited.
  • Alternate security arrangements can be made upon arrival at tour locations for pregnant women, visitors with pacemakers and other medical needs.

Accessibility

peace tower visit

  • All facilities are wheelchair-accessible.
  • Arrangements can be made in advance to transport visitors to the West Block entrance. Please contact Tenant Operations at 613-943-4300 or [email protected] to provide your vehicle information at least 24 hours before your visit.
  • To request American Sign Language (ASL) or Langue des signes québécoise (LSQ) interpretation, please call 613-996-0896 at least two business days before your visit.
  • Please call the Tours Reservation Office at 613-996-0896 if you require further accommodations or assistance.
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peace tower visit

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Peace Tower Parliament Hill Ottawa Canada

By: Author Susan Moore

Posted on Last updated: October 29, 2022

On my third attempt I enjoyed a visit to the Peace Tower on Parliament Hill during my solo trip to Ottawa Canada . My first attempt failed due to a scheduled protest on Parliament Hill in the afternoon.

My second attempt I arrived too near closing time but I did receive some useful information from the staff, who told me to arrive 10 minutes or so before opening time at 9:00 am in order to have the best chance of being first in line.

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Canada Parliament Hill Ottawa how to take a free tour plus see changing of the guard

Peace Tower – Centre Block at Parliament Hill Ottawa

A tour of the Parliament Buildings does require a ticket, which is free for the asking on a first-come first-served basis. Tickets are distributed from the tourist information center at 90 Wellington West – directly across the street from Parliament Hill.

For more information check the Visitor Information section of the Parliament of Canada website.

Peace Tower Ottawa view of Gatineau Quebec and Library of Parliament of Canada - saved from fire of 1916 by heavy iron doors

Peace Tower view of Gatineau Quebec and Library of Parliament (right) – Ottawa Canada

The Gothic style Peace Tower, dedicated on July 1, 1927, replacing the Victoria Tower, completed in 1878 but destroyed in a fire in February 1916.

The fire destroyed Center Block of the Parliament Buildings except for the Library of Parliament. Heavy iron safety doors closed by a staff member saved the Library.

Memorial Chamber Ottawa Peace Tower - War Memorial dedicated to Canadians who died during military service

Peace Tower Ottawa Parliament Hill – Memorial Chamber

Peace Tower Memorial Chamber stained glass - Centre Block Parliament Hill Ottawa ON Canada

Stained glass at Memorial Chamber – Peace Tower Parliament Hill

What is the purpose of the Peace Tower?

The Peace Tower was created as a memorial to the men and women who died serving their country.

There are seven books of remembrance listing the names of every Canadian who died during military service to their country.

For more details of the Memorial Chamber visit the Veterans Affairs Canada website.

Pink stained glass windows of Memorial Chamber at Peace Tower of Parliament buildings in Ottawa Ontario Canada - free tours available

Peace Tower Carillon and Bells

The bells of Peace Tower Carillon were cast at the Gillett and Johnston foundry in Croydon England. The Carillon consists of 53 bronze bells weighing in at 66 tonnes in total.

The bells cover 4 1/2 octaves and during July and August the carillon plays from 11 am to noon on weekdays.

From September to June the Peace Tower Carillon plays from noon to 12:15 pm on weekdays.

More information and photos of the Peace Tower Carillon are available at the Parliament of Canada website.

Peace Tower Ottawa ON Canada - carving of lion on west side of arch

Peace Tower arched entrance – lion carving completed 1937 – 1938

Peace Tower Ottawa ON - unicorn carving completed between 1937 - 1938 - designed by sculptor Cleophas Soucy

Peace Tower Parliament Hill Ottawa – unicorn on the east side of arched entrance

I arrived at 8:45 on a Saturday and first in line to visit the Peace Tower. It was  beautiful summer day in Ottawa. I chatted with the staff and other people in line while waiting for the 9:00 am opening time.

There is a security check point at the entrance and afterwards an elevator to the observation deck which is located just below the clock face of the Peace Tower.

Clock of the Peace Tower

The clock was modeled after the clock tower known as Big Ben at the British Parliament in London England.

Peace Tower clock Ottawa ON Canada Parliament Hill Centre Block - free tours available

Ottawa Parliament Hill Peace Tower ‘You are here’

The chime for the clock plays on 5 out of the 53 bells of the carillon. The largest bell, known as the bourbon, strikes the hour.

Peace Tower Parliament Hill Ottawa Canada - clock face viewed from observation deck - beautiful views of Ottawa and Gatineau

Peace Tower Parliament Hill Ottawa – observation deck below the clock face

I enjoyed wonderful views from the Peace Tower observation deck. I could even see the giant spider sculpture Maman in front of the National Gallery of Canada.

Take a free tour - Peace Tower Ottawa - great views from observation deck

View of Ottawa River from the observation deck of Peace Tower Parliament Hill

In 2014 I also enjoyed a bird’s-eye view of the construction site for the restoration of West Block Parliament Building. Although the scheduled completion date was in 2017 the actual occupancy date was in 2018.

Restoration of Parliament Buildings Ottawa ON Canada - West Block scheduled to reopen in 2017

Peace Tower Parliament Hill view West Block construction in 2014

The observation deck of the Peace Tower is off-limits during the Changing of the Guard ceremony on Parliament Hill so I took the elevator back down around 9:45 in order to view the Memorial Chamber.

Afterwards I attended the Changing of the Guard ceremony for the second time. Standing on the steps of the Peace Tower offered a better view than trying to see through the crowd of people. For the best view arrive early – the ceremony begins at 10:00 am during late June through late August.

Peace Tower Parliament Hill Ottawa ON Canada - carving of Mother Beaver designed by sculptor Cleophas Soucy

Mother Beaver sculpture at Peace Tower Parliament Hill

Changing of the Guard Ottawa Parliament Hill viewed from steps of Peace Tower - free tours available

Changing of the Guard Ottawa Parliament Hill

I visited the Peace Tower and Memorial Chamber at 9:00 am, followed by the Changing of the Guard ceremony at Parliament Hill at 10:00 am.

By 11 am I was wandering around ByWard Market then enjoying some brunch before visiting the National Gallery of Canada to view the contemporary art collection .

Peace Tower visitor info Parliament Hill Ottawa Address 111 Wellington St Phone Number +1-(613)-992-4793 Hours CLOSED for renovations (Normal hours: Open daily: 9 am – 4:30 pm) Admission Cost Free; first-come, first-served basis. Tickets available at 90 Wellington St, across from Parliament Hill Tours Guided tours and self-guided options. More info available on tours of Parliament here . How to Get There Bus #1 or #7

Sacred Travel Destinations

The Peace Tower: Ottawa’s Iconic Church and Memorial

Introduction:

In the heart of Canada’s capital, Ottawa, stands the iconic Peace Tower—a symbol of both spirituality and national unity. This remarkable structure is not only a stunning architectural masterpiece but also a solemn memorial. Join us on a journey to explore the history, significance, and spiritual aura of the Peace Tower, a sacred destination in Ottawa.

The Tower’s Grandeur: A Testament to Canadian Identity

Begin by marveling at the grandeur of the Peace Tower. Discover the tower’s architectural style, its neo-Gothic elements, and the intricate carvings that adorn its exterior. Learn about the visionaries behind its construction and how it became a symbol of Canada’s national identity.

Commemorating World War I: A Memorial of Remembrance

Dive into the history of the Peace Tower as a poignant war memorial. Explore its role in commemorating the sacrifices made by Canadians during World War I and subsequent conflicts. Learn about the significance of the Memorial Chamber, where the memory of fallen soldiers is honored.

The Tower’s Spiritual Side: A Place of Reflection

Uncover the spiritual aspects of the Peace Tower. Learn about the interfaith prayer services held here and the tower’s role as a place for national reflection and remembrance. Discover how it brings together Canadians from diverse backgrounds in moments of solemnity.

The Carillon: Harmonies of Hope and Peace

Explore the carillon—a musical instrument comprising bells—housed within the Peace Tower. Learn about its significance in Canadian culture and its role in spreading messages of hope and peace. Delve into the history of the carillon’s melodies and the impact of its music on visitors.

The Tower’s Legacy: An Enduring Symbol

Conclude your journey with a reflection on the Peace Tower’s enduring legacy. Discover how it continues to inspire Canadians and visitors alike to reflect on the values of peace, unity, and remembrance. Explore the tower’s role in shaping Canada’s cultural and spiritual landscape.

Conclusion:

The Peace Tower in Ottawa stands as more than just an architectural marvel; it is a symbol of Canada’s enduring commitment to peace and remembrance. As you explore its grandeur, reflect on its history, and feel the spiritual resonance within its walls, you can’t help but be moved by the depth of its significance. The Peace Tower is a sacred destination that invites all to remember, reflect, and honor the sacrifices made for peace and freedom in Canada and beyond.

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Centre Block: History and design

The Centre Block and the Peace Tower were designed and decorated to honour Canada's people, history and freedoms.

Hall of Honour

Hall of Honour

Hall of Honour (Click to view enlarged image.)

The Hall of Honour is a magnificent example of High Gothic Revival architecture. The hall is the Centre Block's primary ceremonial space and walkway. It is also the dividing line between the House of Commons and the Senate.

With its noble limestone arches, vaulted ceilings and detailed ironwork, the hall pays tribute to the people and traditions of Parliament.

A number of different sculptures sit in the north end of the hall. Its largest sculpture is a memorial to nursing in Canada. The sculpture shows how nurses built Canada and participated in the First World War. The themes are also shown in other sculptures in the hall.

Several notable events have occurred in the hall. Former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau and Canada's Unknown Soldier have lain in state here.

House of Commons foyer

View enlarged image of the House of Commons foyer

House of Commons foyer (Click to view enlarged image.)

The House of Commons foyer is the Centre Block's primary meeting place. It has vaulted ceilings, marble floors and dramatic lighting. Designers, artists and sculptors are still working on the unfinished foyer. It was rebuilt after the fire in 1916.

Many Canadians recognize the foyer from media scrums. During this ritual, journalists ask members of Parliament questions after question period and after debates in the House of Commons.

The foyer's lower level contains sculptures that depict themes of art, history and philosophy. In the upper level, the stonework shows the coat of arms of each Canadian province. It also contains images of Canada's industries and industry leaders.

The foyer's earliest sculptures were carved in 1919. These sculptures are of exaggerated human faces and mythical beasts. The foyer also contains framed portraits of Canada's prime ministers, contributing to the foyer's dignified character.

House of Commons Chamber

View enlarged image of the House of Commons Chamber

House of Commons Chamber (Click to view enlarged image.)

In the House of Commons Chamber, Members of Parliament debate issues and make laws for all Canadians.

The layout and design of the chamber reflect Canada's history. Its colour, layout and many of its ceremonies and traditions recall a time before Canada became a nation. The chamber also contains many Canadian symbols. Provincial and territorial flowers are etched into its stained glass, and Canadian wildlife is carved into its ornate borders.

Senate foyer

Senate foyer

Senate foyer (Click to view enlarged image.)

The Senate foyer is the ceremonial entrance to the Senate Chamber. It contains several elegant columns and arches. Eight paintings of past kings and queens line the foyer's walls. The portraits of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and Queen Victoria are both originals. The portrait of Queen Victoria has been rescued from fire four times!

The foyer's colourful stained glass ceiling features royal symbols, provincial coats of arms and figures of the founding peoples of Canada. The ceiling also includes the names of all the speakers of the Senate up to 1920, when it was installed.

Under the ceiling, sculptures pay tribute to the people and the events that shaped Canada before Confederation. The team of four sculptors that built these sculptures added their own faces to the foyer, without permission, of course!

Senate Chamber

Senate Chamber

Senate Chamber (Click to view enlarged image.)

The Senate Chamber is the Upper House of Canada's Parliament. It plays a central role in this country's legislative process by acting as the "chamber of sober, second thought." How? By examining and debating bills already passed by the House of Commons.

The Senate Chamber is where the Queen or her representative, the Governor General, addresses Parliament and gives assent to bills destined to become law.

The red carpet, the gold coffered ceiling, the massive bronze chandeliers and the intricate carved stonework show how the chamber is a ceremonial and significant place.

Learn more about the work of the Senate .

View enlarged image of the rotunda

Rotunda (Click to view enlarged image.)

The rotunda is the formal entrance to Centre Block. It is also known as Confederation Hall, and it represents the heart of Centre Block. It sits at the middle of the walkway that links two cores of democracy in Canada: the House of Commons and the Senate.

The rotunda has a high-vaulted ceiling, symbols and coats of arms of each province and territory. It acts to welcome its visitors to the heart of Canadian politics.

In the middle of this circular room is a magnificent column. The column is imposing yet dignified and it serves as the rotunda's focal point. A mariner's compass and a swirling marble pattern, symbolizing waves, surround the base of the column. These images signify the importance of water in Canada's development. The column bears an inscription that is dedicated to all those who served in the First World War.

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Peace Tower

peace tower visit

The Peace Tower belongs to a very old European style building, but also a separate building, not only a tall tower, but also a larger building, you can enter the interior to visit, the outside lawn is also a very large area of space.

Peace Tower

Peace Tower Highlights: Must-See Features and Attractions

Explore near peace tower: where to stay, eat, and visit, peace tower reviews: insider insights and visitor experiences.

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A must visit in Ottawa, the capital of Canada. Too long history, too much pride. If you want to visit, you need to book a trip online or you can't get inside. You can walk around the courtyard and take pictures.

I went to Ottawa at the end of 2018 and saw the light show at the Capitol at the end of the night. It was really beautiful. There was a large group of New Year's Eve tourists gathered in the square. It was really a meaningful New Year's Eve.

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Capitol Hill rises the Peace Tower, overlooking the Ottawa city and looking up at the Big Bell Tower. The tower will light up during the meeting of the Parliament Building. There are 53 clocks in the Peace Tower, and the beautiful bells ring every day to comfort more than 60,000 soldiers who died for Canada during World War I.

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The Peace Tower is the tallest Gothic building on the central axis of the Capitol. It is exquisite and upright, with a Canadian maple leaf flag flying. We were meeting elderly people who gathered in front of the tower for their rights and interests, speaking and shouting slogans in an orderly manner. If you want to visit the Capitol and climb the tower, you need to go to the Hill Centre directly opposite the Capitol to get free tickets. We got the ticket at Centre Block guided tour, and then you can enter the house after passing the security check at the time on the ticket. It is really amazing that such a high-level place can be visited for free, although I have not encountered parliamentarians or anything. The flower windows of the tower are beautiful, no less than some churches! You can also take the elevator to the top of the tower to see the city and the Ottawa River are green!

The Peace Tower is 90 meters high, a stone bronze-topped Gothic building, and the Peace Tower has a four-sided clock of 4.88 meters and a clock piano composed of 53 bells. The most impressive show in front of the Peace Tower is the changing of guards, which is traditionally British, held every summer

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Imagine Peace Tower

The Imagine Peace Tower is a work of art conceived as a beacon to world peace by the legendary artist, musician, and peace advocate, Yoko Ono. The work is designed in the form of a wishing well from which a powerful tower of light beams. The words IMAGINE PEACE are inscribed on the well in 24 different languages.

The light tower is composed of a number of individual lights that join together to form a single beam. Six of the lights travel through corridors across a platform that surrounds the well and are reflected upwards to the sky with mirrors. An additional nine lights shine straight up to the sky, strengthening the tower of light. The strength, intensity, and brilliance of the light tower continually change as particles in the air fluctuate with the changing weather and atmospheric conditions unique to Iceland.

The inauguration of the IMAGINE PEACE TOWER took place during a private ceremony on 9 October 2007 on Viðey Island, Reykjavík, Iceland. The artwork was dedicated to the memory of John Lennon on what would have been his 67th birthday. Since then it has lit up the evening sky annually from 9th of October to 8th of December. It is also lit during the winter solstice for one week, on New Year's Eve, and on Spring Equinox for one week.

The electricity for the light comes entirely from Reykjavik Energy, which produces electricity from geothermal power. The construction and installation of the IMAGINE PEACE TOWER were done in collaboration between Yoko Ono, the City of Reykjavik, Reykjavik Art Museum, and Reykjavik Energy.

Iceland has been ranked as the most peaceful country in the world seven years in a row, according to the annual  Global Peace Index  compiled by the Institute for Economics and Peace.

LIGHTING TIMES

The tower is illuminated 1 hr. after sunset until midnight from 9 October until 8 December (John Lennon's birthday and day of death). From Winter Solstice the beam can be seen lighting up the night sky into the morning of a New Year, as well as on Yoko Ono's birthday and in the week of Spring Equinox. The ever-changing weather conditions on the island impact the strength, intensity and brilliance of the tower. 

IMAGINE PEACE TOWER is lit annually • 9th October – 8th December • 21st – 31st December • 18th February • The week of Spring Equinox

It is lit from around 1 hour after sunset until midnight each night except on John & Yoko’s birthdays and on New Year’s Eve when it remains lit until sunrise. On 9th October it lights up at 8 pm and from 20th – 27th March it lights up at 9 pm.

Relative times: • 8 pm Reykjavík • 9 pm London/Liverpool • 4 pm New York • 1 pm Los Angeles • 5 am Tokyo • Other times  here .

For more information visit their homepage 

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Imagine Peace Tower Travel Guide

Northern Lights dancing alongside the beam of the Imagine Peace Tower.

The Imagine Peace Tower is a memorial to John Lennon from Yoko Ono, located on the island of Viðey, just off the coast of Reykjavík. She described it as the tower’s inauguration as the best thing that they have ever done.

The name of the tower is a reflection of John Lennon’s song ‘Imagine’, as well as he and Yoko’s greater mission.

Visit this attraction while exploring the city of Reykjavik .

Photo above from  Evening 2 Hour Tour of the Imagine Peace Tower with Transfer from Reykjavik

Description of the Imagine Peace Tower

The base of the Imagine Peace Tower is white stone, and around it are the words ‘Imagine Peace’ in 24 languages. In the middle of it is a wishing well with a width of ten metres (33 feet), within which is 15 searchlights.

The lights of the Peace Tower are turned on from John Lennon’s birthday on October 9th, and off on the anniversary of his death, on November 8th, as well as on special occasions. Yoko Ono, who often travels to Iceland, is regularly in attendance for its lighting.

In clear weather, the ‘tower’ can reach a height of over four kilometres (2.5 miles), and it is powerful enough to pierce through cloud cover.

The Tower uses geothermal energy as its powersource; the fact it could be constructed with such a minimal impact on the environment was a large part of the reason that Yoko Ono chose Iceland for the project.

Construction on the tower was completed in 2007, and opened with a ceremony that was attended by Yoko Ono, Ringo Starr, George Harrison’s family and John Lennon’s son; Paul McCartney intended to but eventually could not attend due to a court case. The event was televised across much of the world.

Beneath the Imagine Peace Tower are over a million buried ‘wishes’, which were collected by Yoko Ono during her project, Wish Trees. In this project, an exhibition of trees, native to the country the exhibition was in, were lined up and people were encouraged to tie their wishes on a piece of paper to their branches.

The Imagine Peace Tower and Viðey Island

Boats ferry guests from Reykjavik to see the Imagine Peace Tower throughout the year.

The Imagine Peace Tower is one of the main reasons people visit Viðey Island . Boats regularly leave from Reykjavík’s harbour to the island, and are free for those who have purchased a Reykjavík City Card.

The Imagine Peace Tower, however, is not the only attraction; there is a second, less known artwork spanning the island, called Milestones, by Richard Sierra.

No-one lives on the island permanently, although it was once inhabited. The lack of buildings, therefore, makes it a great place to hunt for the Northern Lights from September to April. To see them dancing around the beam of light from the Imagine Peace Tower is a particularly unique experience.

The isolation of Viðey also makes it a popular place for birdwatchers to come. Particularly of note is the White Tailed Eagle, which makes its home on such islands around Reykjavík .

The only building remaining on Viðey is the Viðeyjarstofa House, constructed in the 1750s. It now contains a restaurant, and is the base for the hikes around the island.

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Peace Tower - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (2024)

The Road Home

History, travel, nature, life on vancouver island, bc, 12 things you didn’t know about the peace tower in ottawa.

It’s a Canadian icon: the tall, stately Peace Tower rising above the Centre Block of Parliament in Ottawa, Canada. The Peace Tower has stood sentinel over the nation’s capital, serving as a silent witness to the workings of government, since it was inaugurated on July 1, 1927. But there’s much more to this striking structure than first glance reveals. Below are 12 behind-the-scenes facts about this distinctive symbol of Canadian nationhood.

Photo of Centre Block of Parliament, Ottawa, Canada

The tall Peace Tower is the focal point of the Centre Block of Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Canada. (Photo: Saffron Blaze, CC BY-SA 3.0 , Wikimedia Commons.)

1. The Peace Tower is 92.5 metres (302.5 feet), or 28 stories, tall  (measured from the ground to the base of the flagpole). To get to the very top, you’d have to take an elevator 60 metres (200 feet) up to the observation deck below the clock, climb 10 stories of stairs and ladders, then open a hatch below the flagpole. Only a select few Parliamentary staffers are permitted to ascend beyond the observation deck.

2. The Peace Tower is the second such tower to stand on this site. The first – the 60-metre (200-foot) tall Victoria Tower, completed in 1878 – crumbled to the ground during a fire that destroyed the original Centre Block building in 1916.

Image of original Centre Block with Victoria Tower.

The original Centre Block, featuring the central Victoria Tower, circa 1890. (Photo: Library and Archives of Canada, Public Domain.)

3. The Peace Tower is dedicated to the more than 65,000 Canadian soldiers who lost their lives in World War I. Behind the large stained glass windows directly above the arched entry porch is a room called the Memorial Chamber, home to altars and books of remembrance commemorating all Canadians who have given their lives in military service. The floor of the Memorial Chamber contains stones collected from battlefields in England, France and Belgium.

4. The Peace Tower is a free-standing bell tower , called a campanile. It is a completely separate structure from the Centre Block. The two buildings are connected via a short covered passageway.

Image of the construction of the Peace Tower, showing the story containing the Memorial Chamber and the covered entryway connecting the tower to the Centre Block.

The Peace Tower under construction in 1921. The tall windows of the second story are the future Memorial Chamber. The walls of the enclosed passageway connecting the tower and the Centre Block are clearly visible. (Photo: House of Commons of Canada, Public Domain.)

5. The Peace Tower houses a 53-bell carillon , one of the oldest and finest in North America. Each bell is a different size: the smallest weighs 10 pounds (4.5 kilograms) and the largest – which tolls the hour – weighs 22,244 pounds (10,090 kilograms), about the size of three large elephants. The carillon is operated by the Dominion Carillonneur, who sits in a room mid-way up the tower and plays a keyboard connected to each bell clapper.

Photo of small and medium bells in the Peace Tower carillon.

6. The flag atop the Peace Tower is changed every weekday , except on holidays and in inclement weather. This job is handled by the Flag Master, who raises and lowers about 250 flags on the Peace Tower flagpole each year. The flag is also changed whenever it is flown at half mast. Canadians can request a flag flown from the Peace Tower , but the waiting period as of May 2018 was 99 years.

Photo of Peace Tower flag and clock.

7. The hands of the Peace Tower clock cannot be turned backwards. The clock was built in 1927 and uses old mechanisms. At 2 a.m. every autumn, when Daylight Savings Time ends, the clock is stopped for a full hour to account for the time change.

8. The Peace Tower is adorned with approximately 370 stone carvings , most of which depict Canadian flora, fauna and historical elements. The carvings are maintained by the Dominion Sculptor, who oversees all sculptural elements on the Parliament Buildings. Scan the Peace Tower for the following types of carvings:

  • gargoyles – or decorative waterspouts – four of which project from the upper section of the tower, just below the clock.
  • grotesques – or fantastical animal or humans figures, often with strange or distorted features – peering out from corners, nooks, walls and borders.
  • bosses – or ornamental block carvings – gracing the ends and edges of window mouldings and arches.
  • friezes – or sandstone panels featuring raised relief sculpture – found on flat surfaces of the building.
  • symbols of heraldry — or figures holding shields of arms — adorning the main (south) entrance.

Photo of Peace Tower with gargoyles protruding.

9. The elevator to the observation deck, located one story below the clock, runs on a 10 percent incline for the first 30 metres (98 feet) of its journey, covering a horizontal distance of 3.7 metres (12.2 feet) – but you’d never know it, as the car remains level at all times. From the large windows of the observation deck — 60 metres (200 feet) above the ground — you can enjoy a 360-degree view of the surrounding area, then gaze up at a massive clock face measuring 4.8 metres (16 feet) in diameter. Visit the observation deck on a Parliamentary tour .

Photo of Peace Tower clock and observation deck.

10. Four gargoyles, or carved stone waterspouts, stretch out like short arms from the upper section of the Peace Tower , just below the clock. Each gargoyle measures 2.5 metres (8.3 feet) long, 0.75 metres (2.5 feet) high and 0.45 metres (1.5 feet) thick. The gargoyles are carved from Quebec granite and are strictly decorative; they do not funnel water from the tower roof.

Photo of gargoyle on Peace Tower.

Closeup of the tower’s southeast facing gargoyle, over 8 feet long. (Photo: D. Gordon E. Robertson, CC BY-SA 3.0 or GFDL , Wikimedia Commons.)

11. The exterior walls of the Peace Tower are made from cream-coloured sandstone quarried in Nepean, Ontario, about 16 kilometres (10 miles) west of Parliament Hill. The same type of sandstone was also used to build the Centre, East and West Blocks. Look for a natural outcropping of Nepean sandstone alongside Highway 417, at the high-point of land just east of Kanata.

12. The Peace Tower, together with the Centre Block, is one of the finest examples of Modern Gothic Revival architecture in Canada. Both buildings were designed by Toronto-based architect John A. Pearson and Montreal-based architect Jean-Omer Marchand in 1916. The Peace Tower was inaugurated on July 1, 1927, on the 60 th anniversary of Canadian Confederation.

For more information about the Peace Tower, visit  Government of Canada – Explore the Peace Tower .

Photo of Centre Block lit up at night.

The Peace Tower and Centre Block blaze with colour during the 2018 Northern Lights sound and light show. (Photo: Caroline Ross, The Road Home.)

In all my thoughts of the tower, peace was dominant. I believe there is a quiet peaceful dignity about it….no matter what troubles and worries and differences of opinion take place in the building. I feel that one cannot approach the building up the centre road without experiencing its mute appeal for toleration, moderation, dignity and peace. ~ John A. Pearson, architect responsible for designing the Centre Block, in a letter to Prime Minister Mackenzie King shortly before the opening of the Peace Tower.

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WW1 battlefields in England?!

Yep, you can find more information about the stone and how it was obtained here! https://www.ourcommons.ca/About/HistoryArtsArchitecture/heritage_spaces/memorial/memorial-e.htm

Did the original Peace Tower (before the fire) have an “All Seeing Eye” where the clock is now? Or is that a myth?

i loved the experiences of the site

The most beautiful work of Canadian architecture our country owns

You said it! The Peace Tower and Parliament Buildings are something special.

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Half-masting on the Peace Tower explained

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A flag at half-mast is one of the most universally recognizable symbols of collective sorrow and respect. The tradition is thought to date back to the 17 th century when sailors lowered flags to honour captains who died at sea.

One of the earliest recorded stories referring to half-masting dates back to 1612 when an expedition left England for Greenland. Written accounts of the trip describe how the leader of the expedition was killed; when the ship returned to England, its flags flew at half-mast as a tribute.

How and when is the flag lowered?

While the tradition varies from country to country, Canada has specific rules for half-masting the flag, especially when it comes to the flag located on the Peace Tower on Parliament Hill.

The deaths of high-ranking Canadian leaders automatically cause the flag on the Peace Tower — as well as flags on all federal buildings in Canada and abroad — to be flown at half-mast from the time of death until sunset on the day of the funeral. These leaders include the monarch (as well as their spouse and heirs to the throne), the governor general and the prime minister.

Former governors general, former prime ministers, cabinet ministers and the chief justice of Canada receive the same honour on all federal buildings in Canada alone.  

For senators, members of Parliament and privy councillors who die in office, the flag is flown at half-mast on all federal buildings in their region, riding or place of residence from the time of their death to sunset on the day of their funeral, and on the Peace Tower from sunrise to sunset on the day of their funeral.

Certain days also initiate a mandatory half-masting on federal buildings and the Peace Tower, including Remembrance Day, and the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women.

There is some room for discretion when it comes to half-masting in Canada. For example, the prime minister can decide to half-mast the Peace Tower flag for the death of a foreign head of state or head of government. Exceptional circumstances, such as a terrorist attack, the death of a well-known Canadian, or a national tragedy, can also lead to half-masting.

Recent examples of discretionary half-masting include:

  • The Flight 752 crash in Tehran, Iran
  • The death of Canadian rock star Gord Downie
  • The death of former South African president and honorary Canadian citizen Nelson Mandela
  • The 10 th anniversary of September 11, 2001

The prime minister can decide to enhance mandatory half-masting by lengthening the duration, as it was the case for the late Speaker of the Senate the Honourable Pierre Claude Nolin, or adding more locations than prescribed by the rules.

Half-mast versus half-staff?

It’s time to settle this debate once and for all.

In Canada, the official English term for a partially lowered flag is half-mast. Half-staff is never correct! (In French, it’s always “en berne”.)

The confusion is understandable.

Americans, for instance, use both terms; they prefer half-staff for flags flown on land and half-mast for flags flown on ships. Since most flag poles are on land, half-staff is most commonly used. But not in Canada, eh! Just add it to the host of subtle differences between neighbours.

No matter how one refers to the tradition, the meaning remains the same. It’s a powerful symbol of national mourning.

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  4. The Imagine Peace Tower near Reykjavik, Iceland, for the International

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COMMENTS

  1. Peace Tower: History and design

    Peace Tower carillon. The Peace Tower carillon is one of the oldest and finest carillons in North America. It includes 53 bells and weighs 54 tonnes. These bells range in weight from 10,090 kilograms to only 4.5 kilograms. The bourdon is the largest and heaviest bell and plays the low note E.

  2. Parliament of Canada Tours

    Please contact Tenant Operations at 613-943-4300 or [email protected] to provide your vehicle information at least 24 hours before your visit. To request American Sign Language (ASL) or Langue des signes québécoise (LSQ) interpretation, please call 613-996-0896 at least two business days before your visit.

  3. Peace Tower

    Jun 2019 • Family. The Peace Tower is a focal bell and clock tower sitting at the center of the Canadian parliament building in Ottawa. One can easily spot in when looking at the parliament building. Did not get an opportunity to go to the top of the tower, but will certainly consider doing the same, next time in Ottawa.

  4. Peace Tower

    The Peace Tower (French: Tour de la Paix) is a focal bell and clock tower sitting on the central axis of the Centre Block of the Canadian parliament buildings in Ottawa, Ontario.The present incarnation replaced the 55-metre (180 ft) Victoria Tower, after the latter burned down in 1916, along with most of the Centre Block; only the Library of Parliament survived.

  5. Visit Canada's Parliament

    You are welcome to visit more than one site, but please ensure you have the required tickets and allow time to move between buildings and pass through security screening (a recommended minimum of 30 minutes between tours). Public Transit. Parliament is served by the O-Train (Line 1) and several bus routes.

  6. Peace Tower at Parliament Hill Ottawa Canada

    Save to Pinterest for later! Peace Tower - Centre Block at Parliament Hill Ottawa. A tour of the Parliament Buildings does require a ticket, which is free for the asking on a first-come first-served basis. Tickets are distributed from the tourist information center at 90 Wellington West - directly across the street from Parliament Hill.

  7. Parliament Hill and Buildings, Ottawa

    Another nice part of the visit to Parliament Hill is the 10:00 military band performance. The band wear the bright red uniforms that are very similar to British uniforms. It is a wonderful opportunity to hear great music! ... it is known as the Peace tower. Hidden behind the main building is the Parliament library.

  8. Parliament Hill

    Parliament Hill. Parliament Hill is home to Canada's federal government, where representatives from across Canada gather to make laws that affect the lives of every Canadian. It is also much more. A place to meet, a place to celebrate, and a place to visit, Parliament Hill is the symbolic heart of our nation.

  9. Peace Tower

    The Peace Tower was a wonderful visit, the tour is guided and you have to pick up your FREE tickets across the street, get their early to reserve your time as it is busy especially with 150th Celebrations of Canada. We learned alot about the history of the Tower, the clock that was a gift from the British 90 years ago, the special chimes, and ...

  10. Visit Parliament: Tour the Memorial Chamber and Peace Tower

    The curator of the House of Commons, Johanna Mizgala tells reporter Blair Crawford about Ottawa's most recognizable landmarks, the Peace Tower and the hidden...

  11. The Peace Tower: Ottawa's Iconic Church and Memorial

    The Tower's Legacy: An Enduring Symbol. Conclude your journey with a reflection on the Peace Tower's enduring legacy. Discover how it continues to inspire Canadians and visitors alike to reflect on the values of peace, unity, and remembrance. Explore the tower's role in shaping Canada's cultural and spiritual landscape. Conclusion:

  12. Touring Canada's Parliament: The Peace Tower and Memorial Hall

    The current tower is not the original as that one, the Victoria Tower, burned in the fire in 1916. The current tower was built even taller than the original and now stands about 90 m (300 ft) high. In keeping with the Victoria High Gothic style of the rest of the building, it includes about 370 gargoyles, grotesques, and friezes.

  13. Centre Block: History and design

    The Centre Block and the Peace Tower were designed and decorated to honour Canada's people, history and freedoms. Hall of Honour. Hall of Honour (Click to view enlarged image.) The Hall of Honour is a magnificent example of High Gothic Revival architecture. The hall is the Centre Block's primary ceremonial space and walkway.

  14. The historical importance of the Peace Tower Carillon

    The Peace Tower was originally built and named in honor of the armistice of 1918 and the sacrifice of Canadians during the First World War. Construction of the Peace Tower was completed in 1927. Coincidentally, another important historical event occurred in that same year. That is the 60th anniversary of Canadian Confederation.

  15. Peace Tower Carillon

    Peace Tower Carillon. The Parliament Building's 53-bell carillon, located in the Peace Tower, was commissioned to commemorate the Armistice of 1918 and the sacrifice made by Canada in the First World War. Between 1925 and 1927, the world-famous bell foundry of Gillett & Johnston in Croydon, England, cast and tuned the Peace Tower Carillon's ...

  16. Peace Tower: Photos, Map & Reviews [2024]

    The Peace Tower is 90 meters high, a stone bronze-topped Gothic building, and the Peace Tower has a four-sided clock of 4.88 meters and a clock piano composed of 53 bells. The most impressive show in front of the Peace Tower is the changing of guards, which is traditionally British, held every summer. Explore Peace Tower in Ottawa with photos ...

  17. Imagine Peace Tower

    9. October 2023 The Imagine Peace Tower is a work of art conceived as a beacon to world peace by the legendary artist, musician, and peace advocate, Yoko Ono. The work is designed in the form of a wishing well from which a powerful tower of light beams. The words IMAGINE PEACE are inscribed on the well in 24 different languages.

  18. Imagine Peace Tower

    Photo from Evening 2 Hour Tour of the Imagine Peace Tower with Transfer from Reykjavik. The Imagine Peace Tower is one of the main reasons people visit Viðey Island.Boats regularly leave from Reykjavík's harbour to the island, and are free for those who have purchased a Reykjavík City Card.. The Imagine Peace Tower, however, is not the only attraction; there is a second, less known ...

  19. Peace Tower

    Top ways to experience Peace Tower and nearby attractions. Ottawa Self-Guided Audio Tour. Historical Tours. from. $9.00. per adult. Ottawa Hop-On Hop-Off Sightseeing Tour. 171. Audio Guides.

  20. 12 things you didn't know about the Peace Tower in Ottawa

    Both buildings were designed by Toronto-based architect John A. Pearson and Montreal-based architect Jean-Omer Marchand in 1916. The Peace Tower was inaugurated on July 1, 1927, on the 60 th anniversary of Canadian Confederation. For more information about the Peace Tower, visit Government of Canada - Explore the Peace Tower.

  21. Peace Tower, Ottawa

    The Peace Tower dominates Parliament Hill, soaring over 90 meters (300 feet) high above Ottawa, while the Canadian flag unfurls gently over its topmost turret. A fine monument symbolic of the country's storied past, as well as a concrete tribute to lives lost in World War I, this Gothic Revival structure is iconic. It is within the tower's confines that the Memorial Chamber is housed, and at ...

  22. Why You Should Visit Iceland's Imagine Peace Tower Yoko Ono's Memorial

    The Imagine Peace Tower is a memorial to John Lennon from his widow, Yoko Ono. Here's everything you need to know about it. The tower is located on Viðey Island in Kollafjörður Bay close to Reykjavík, Iceland. The tower of light is projected from a white stone monument with the words "Imagine Peace" carved into it in 24 languages.

  23. Half-masting on the Peace Tower explained

    Half-masting on the Peace Tower explained. February 11, 2020. A flag at half-mast is one of the most universally recognizable symbols of collective sorrow and respect. The tradition is thought to date back to the 17 th century when sailors lowered flags to honour captains who died at sea. One of the earliest recorded stories referring to half ...