Gargoyles on Parliament Hill

Parliament Hill Carvings

Canadian Parliament photos by Michel Loiselle

Update -March 2018

The Lion and Unicorn gargoyles at the entrance of Parliamentare symbols of the United Kingdom. They are part of the Coat of Arms of Canada since 1921. The Lion stands for England while the Unicorn stands for Scotland. The traditional legend of enmity between the two heraldic animals is recorded in a nursery rhyme.

The lion and the unicorn

Were fighting for the crown

The lion beat the unicorn

All around the town.

Some gave them white bread,

And some gave them brown;

Some gave them plum cake

and drummed them out of town.


The Peace Tower

Canadian Parliament photos by Michel Loiselle Four of the many grotesques that can be found in the gothic architecture of the Peace Tower are made from Wallace sandstone from Nova Scotia, Canada. They are each approximately 42″ by 22″ wide. They remind me of certain scenes in the Batman movies. Here is a closer view of one of them. Also, note the tourists looking back at us from inside the observation deck. Interesting!

Gargoyle photos by Michel Loiselle

Strange Characters

Canadian Parliament photos by Michel Loiselle These grotesques are seen half-way up the clock tower. One is hooved and playing the lute, the other must be the town crier. It gives the feeling of a mysterious gothic presence on Parliament Hill.

Canadian Parliament photos by Michel Loiselle More grotesques, on the right, kneeling and holding a bow, while his pig-like friend is playing the accordion.

Canadian Parliament photos by Michel Loiselle

Note in the centre of the tower, a soldier holding a rifle. Just beautiful work.

Canadian Parliament photos by Michel Loiselle You can also see more sculptures just above eye level, along the main Parliament entrance. Have a look at these pretty faces. We see fictitious people, lions, dragons and owls.

This interesting character belongs to the Justice building. He’s holding a lantern and a key; perhaps to a secret room!

Canadian Parliament photos by Michel Loiselle

Here, we see the Unicorn gargoyle profile looking to the East and Langevin blocks. When all is counted, approximately 370 gargoyles, grotesques, carvings, friezes and bosses can be found on the Peace Tower.

I Hope you’ve enjoyed a quick look at some of the gargoyles and grotesques. There are many more carvings and sculptures to see all around the Hill and a visit is a must.

Meanwhile, see the Canadian Parliament collection of more than 200 photos of our beautiful gothic architecture. Images start at $12 and are available for immediate download. Also, have a look at the complete Galleries with categories such as people, animals, colors, seasons, Christmas and Ottawa.

Thank you and have an excellent day!



Knowing our Parliamentary PrecinctTulips on Parliament Hill The West Block of Canada 7 Year Parliament Project – Politically Speaking Canada in One Photo –  Design and ImagingHaunted CastleNight ShotsHey That’s My ImageMy Canadian Pride Is ShowingCanada Day on Parliament HillImages in Color and in Stereo5 Reasons to Use PhotosGargoyles on Parliament Hill Christmas on Parliament Hill — Live Music is Always Best — The Confederation Building — The Supreme Court of Canada


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