Home Museums, Historical Sites and Other Tourist Attractions BC Parliament Buildings in Victoria

BC Parliament Buildings in Victoria

Legislative Buildings and Horse-Drawn Carriage

Also known as the Parliament Buildings, the BC Legislative Building is the beautiful palace-like structure with the green dome in Victoria’s Inner Harbour that’s home to British Columbia’s government and Legislative Assembly.


This article contains information about the following topics:

Parliament Tours and Hours | About the Parliament Buildings | Inside the Parliament Buildings | Tips & Advice | Other Information


BC Legislative Buildings

Completed in 1897, the BC Parliament Buildings are located at 501 Belleville Street in the heart of Victoria. Part of the well-known Inner Harbour, they are just a block southwest of the Empress Hotel.

Along with the Fairmont Empress, the Parliament Buildings are the most-recognizable landmark structures in Victoria. They house government offices and the Legislative Assembly where elected officials debate. They are also open to the public for free tours.


Interior of BC Legislature
The BC Legislative Assembly


Parliament Tours and Opening Hours

Free daily guided and self-guided tours of the Parliament Buildings take place throughout the year.

The facility is open to the public on regular weekdays from 8:30 am until 4:30 pm for both guided and self-guided tours. It is closed on statutory holidays and weekends.

Guided tours start outside the main entrance at the front of the building and last for between 30 and 45 minutes. They are quite interesting and since they are free it’s well worth your time to take one. After the tour, visitors are welcome to stay inside and continue exploring on their own. For obvious reasons, only certain areas are open to the public.

For an online copy of the self-guided tour pamphlet, click BC Parliament English Guidebook. Copies are also available both online and at the Parliamentary Tour Desk in a variety of languages.


About the Parliament Buildings

Designed by the famous BC architect Francis Rattenbury, the Legislative Building was completed in 1897. Rattenbury was only in his mid-20s when he won the contract. In later years he designed other BC landmarks including the nearby Empress Hotel, the Crystal Gardens (just behind the Empress) and the present day Vancouver Art Gallery.

The Parliament Buildings were built for an original cost of slightly over $900,000. Additions over the following 20 years brought the full cost up to around $2 million, which, for that time, was a lot of money. In the 1970s the facilities underwent another $80 million in major upgrades and restorative work.

The building was designed in a “free classical,” Romanesque and Renaissance style, which explains why it looks so palatial. At night the 500-foot-long building is illuminated with thousands of light bulbs.

Situated on 12.5 acres of land in the heart of Victoria, the BC Parliament Buildings are beautiful both inside and out.


BC Legislature Ceiling
The Domed Ceiling Inside the Rotunda


Inside the Parliament Buildings

Some of what you’ll see on both guided and self-guided tours include the official British Columbia Coat of Arms, the Reception Hall, a portrait of King Charles III, stained glass windows celebrating the late Queen Elizabeth II’s Golden and Diamond Jubilees, and both the Lower and Memorial Rotundas with their domed ceilings.

When the Legislature isn’t in session, including during most of the summer, the Legislative Assembly is available for viewing. When the Legislature is in session this important room can also be seen, along with all the political action, from the Public Gallery.


Tips & Advice

Below is a list of suggestions and information to help you make the most of your visit to the BC Parliament Buildings.

TIP #1: If you’ve never been inside the Legislative Buildings before, we highly recommend that you go! Admission is free!

TIP #2: Take a guided tour if you can. They are free, educational and very interesting. You’ll see pieces of art and learn about BC history and culture, just like in a museum! And, again, it’s free!

TIP #3: If you’re hungry, check out the Parliamentary Dining Room. You can’t bring outside food and drinks into the building, but you can enjoy a meal at the same place as all the elected officials do (just not at the same time as them). The food is generally good and reasonably priced. When the Legislature is not in session the dining room is open from 8:30 am until 3:00 pm on Mondays to Thursdays, and from 8:30 am to 2:00 pm on Fridays. Lunch is served from 11:30 am.

When the Legislature is in session, the Parliamentary Dining Room is open from 8:30 am to 30 minutes post-adjournment on Mondays to Wednesdays, from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm on Thursdays and from 8:30 am to 2:00 pm on Fridays. The public can access the building then from 8:30 am. Click Parliamentary Dining Room for more information.


Back of the BC Legislature


Other Information

For further details about the Legislature, including tour information, check out the BC Government website.

Other places of interest within walking distance of the Parliament Buildings include the Inner Harbour, IMAX Theatre, Empress Hotel, Government Street, Bay Centre, Miniature World and Royal BC Museum. Beacon Hill Park also isn’t too far away.

For a list of other things to do in Victoria, check out any of the following: