advertisement

Canada's oldest seat of government, the three-story stone Province House has been home to the tiny Nova Scotian legislature since 1819. This exceptional Georgian building is a superb example of the rigorously symmetrical Palladian style. And like a jewel box, its dour stone exterior hides gems of ornamental detailing and artwork inside, especially the fine plasterwork, which is rare in a Canadian building from this era.

A free well-written booklet is available when you enter; it provides helpful background about the building's history and architecture. (Sample legend that may or may not be true: It's said the headless falcons in several rooms were decapitated by an agitated, free-swinging legislator with a cane who mistook them for eagles during a period of feverish anti-American sentiment in the 1840s.) If the legislature is in session (it's not always), you can obtain a visitor's pass and sit up in the gallery, watching the business of the province unfold. They also offer tours, which you book by calling the information number below. History buffs should allow an hour for this visit.