After 5 days in High River, Alberta, we said our good-byes to Don and Kathy and moved on to St. Albert, just west of Edmonton, Alberta for a few days. We were there during the “long weekend,” as Victoria Day is referred to in Canada. Victoria Day was a good day to take a tour of the Alberta Legislative Building. We got a bonus parade/cannon firing that we were not aware was going to happen after our tour was completed.
The exterior of the 106 year old building is in the third and final year of reconstruction of the windows and sandstone exterior.
Below is a photograph of the exterior of the building before the remodeling started.
Inside photos of the rotunda. The fountain was built in 1959 for the visit of Queen Elizabeth II.
The Chambers of the Legislature. The Speaker sits in the large chair on the right. The press is assigned seats in the section above the speakers chair.
Special guests sit in the small section on the upper left, and the general public is allowed to sit in the section above the legislators. We were in an area similar to the public viewing area, but it is for guests of the legislators.
Per our tour guide, Alberta is the only legislature that displays the flags of all 10 Provinces and 3 Territories in Canada.
After we saw the chambers, a very excited security guard came up to our tour group. I was thinking something was wrong, based on the expression on her face. But she announced that we were invited in to see the Premier’s office. The current Premier of Alberta is Jason Kenney. The woman leading our tour group asked her multiple times if she was sure, and then she became excited as well.
Apparently this area is strictly off limits, and both the tour guide and security guard said they have never, ever, been “past that door.” It turns out a young man that works behind “that door” happened to be working on the holiday, saw our tour group, and invited us in. Yea! So we had a quick “bonus tour.”
First stop was the Cabinet Room, where the Premier meets with the Cabinet Ministers, as they are called in Canada.
Then we entered the Premier’s office.
There is a nice balcony off the office, with views of downtown Edmonton.
And this is the hallway behind “that door” containing offices of the staff that work for the Premier.
Fun Fact: The province of Alberta was named after Princess Louise Caroline Alberta, Queen Victoria’s daughter. Princess Louise wanted the province named “Louiseland” but the legislators overruled her, and used her last name of Alberta instead.
After the tour ended, I watched our tour guide excitedly tell some of the other tour guides about being invited to see the Premier’s office. They were all amazed. So I guess it was a really big deal!
There is a large expanse of lawn outside the building, and we noticed a small marching band assembly, and some members of the military were setting up some cannons. I asked our tour guide what was going on, and she stated there would be a ceremony at noon, in honor of Victoria Day. So we decided to stay for that. The marching band only had about 100 yards to march from the parking lot, and they played the Canadian National Anthem along with God Save the Queen.
Before the firing started, we were told to stand about 75 yards away from the cannons. It was loud! First time we have ever witnessed something like that.
I took a lot of photos, and was able capture the explosion below.
It created a lot of smoke, and it was not a windy day, so the smoke lingered.
Eventually, you couldn’t even see the cannons.
Once the ceremony was done, the soldiers stood at attention until they were dismissed and took apart the cannons.
While we were in Edmonton, we met with our friend Lyle, at Edmonton Mall. Lyle is one of the many wonderful Canadian friends we have met in our RV park in Yuma. It was nice catching up with him, as he opted to go to Mexico instead of Yuma this past winter.
Quote of the Day: “Agreeable people are warm and friendly. They’re nice; they’re polite. You find a lot of them in Canada.” – Adam Grant