British Columbia's Parliament Buildings
The Parliament Buildings are located in B.C.’s capital city of Victoria. The buildings are home to the Legislative Assembly, or “the Ledge,” as it’s affectionately known.
If you come to visit, you won’t be alone. More than 300,000 people visit every year, making the Parliament Buildings one of Victoria’s top five tourist attractions.
The Legislative Assembly’s Parliamentary education office produces some wonderful print and electronic materials.
Here’s an excerpt from their ‘Discover your Legislature’ series:
The Legislature of British Columbia is composed of the Lieutenant Governor and the 85 elected Members of the Legislative Assembly, also known as MLAs.
Together, members of the governing party, members of the opposition and independent members make up the B.C. Legislative Assembly. The three functions of the Legislative Assembly are:
- Make laws
- Approve finances
- Scrutinize government
There is a great brochure called ‘Welcome to the House’ that explains our parliamentary system of government, the role of our legislative assembly, a typical day in the House and how a bill become law.
You can learn even more about the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia on their website.
What's in a name?
The Buildings. The Ledge. The House. The Legislative Assembly. The Legislature. The Parliament Buildings.
What exactly is the right name? What are they called again?
Here’s what the Legislative Assembly’s Parliamentary education office authoritative fact sheet says:
The terms Legislative Assembly, Legislative Buildings, Legislature, and Parliament Buildings are often used interchangeably to describe British Columbia’s capital buildings.
As a result, there is some confusion as to what the buildings are actually called.
In British Columbia, the proper name for the buildings in which the Legislative Assembly or Legislature meets is the Parliament Buildings.
The term Legislative Assembly refers to the body of elected officials that are chosen to represent British Columbians, while Legislature most accurately describes the Lieutenant Governor acting by and with the consent of the Legislative Assembly.
The Parliament Buildings received their name from the Act of the Legislative Assembly that allowed for their construction. In 1893, when the Legislative Assembly decided to replace the original government buildings on the property, the Colonial Administration Buildings (which were also known as the Birdcages), they passed The Parliament Buildings Construction Act, 1893. Since then, all other relevant Acts of the Legislative Assembly refer to the buildings as the Parliament Buildings.
There is no single name used for provincial capital buildings or elected representatives across Canada.
For example, in Ontario, the Members of the Provincial Parliament (MPP) sit in the Legislative Building at Queen’s Park. In Quebec, the Members of the National Assembly (MNA) meet in the Hôtel du Parlement.
In both Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia, the Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) meet in Province House. In Newfoundland and Labrador, the Members of the House of Assembly (MHA) meet in the Confederation Building.