Satisfy your lust for governmental, historic, and architectural knowledge all in one go by taking a free tour of the Parliament buildings (501 Belleville St.), designed by Francis Rattenbury and completed in 1897.
On either side of the main entrance stand statues of Sir James Douglas, who chose the location of Victoria , and Sir Matthew Baillie Begbie, who was in charge of law and order during the gold-rush period. Atop the copper-covered dome stands a gilded statue of Captain George Vancouver, the first mariner to circumnavigate Vancouver Island .
Walk through the main entrance and into the memorial rotunda, look skyward for a dramatic view of the central dome, then continue upstairs to peer into the legislative chamber, the home of the democratic government of British Columbia.
Free guided tours are offered every 20 minutes 9 a.m.–noon and 1–5 p.m. in summer, less frequently (Mon.–Fri. only) in winter. Tour times differ according to the goings-on inside; for current times, call the tour office at 250/387-3046.