Gothic Architecture – Canadian Parliament Buildings


Parliament Hill is an area of Crown land on the southern banks of the Ottawa River in downtown Ottawa, Ontario. Its Gothic revival buildings serve as the home of the Parliament of Canada. Parliament Hill attracts approximately 3 million visitors each year.


The Parliament buildings are one of the most important examples of the Gothic Revival style anywhere in the world. However, 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 are around three sides of Parliament Hill’s central lawn. The Centre Block is fronted by the Peace Tower, with the Library of Parliament at the building’s rear. The Centre Block is a more modern Gothic Revival, while the older East and West Blocks are of a Victorian High Gothic manner. 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.”


I was downtown shooting street photography with my 50 mm prime lens. However, one cannot walk around the the Parliament Buildings without taking pictures of them. I had to decide what parts of the buildings I would focus on and make a part of my compositions. The Parliament Buildings are also under restoration so there are many things such as scaffolding or gates, orange cones etc. that I did not want included in my pictures. These compositions highlight many of gothic architectural elements of the impressive historical buildings. I think that the gothic nature of this architecture lends itself to black and white photography.


© Copyright Beth Walsh Photography. All rights reserved.



 The Library of Parliament and the Peace Tower


  The Peace Tower and Centre Block


The Library of Parliament


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