Montreal is known for its vibrant religious communities and abundance of places of worship, and boasts some of the most incredible church architecture in the country. We’ve chosen what we think are the most incredible church buildings in the city. Don’t be afraid to be a tourist in your own city–go exploring and discover some of the amazing structures our city has to offer!
Featured photo from Wikimedia commons.
Saint Josephs Oratory
3800 Chemin Queen Mary
This Roman Catholic basilica atop the Westmount Summit is not only a national shrine, but is Canada’s largest church. Built in a Renaissance architectural style, the building is stunning both inside and out. The church was finished in 1967, and has the third-largest dome of its kind in the world. Leading up to the main entrance are beautiful gardens in the summer, and a monumental walkway in any season. This is definitely a Montreal attraction you should plan out a half-day to visit–there’s even an art museum to check out!
Notre Dame Basilica of Montreal
110 Notre-Dame Street West
Located at the edge of Old Montreal, this Gothic Revival basilica is one of the city’s top attractions. Dated to 1824, the building’s monumental vaulted ceilings stand atop adorned pillars, and every inch of the interior seems to be ostentatiously and intricately decorated with wood sculpture, rich colouring, and an enormous pipe organ. The exterior is reminiscent of the Parisian cathedral of the same name, with two tall towers flanking the main triple entranceway. Snap a photo of Notre-Dame from Place d’Armes!
Photo by David Iliff.
St. Patrick’s Basilica
460 René Lévesque Boulevard West
The construction for Saint Patrick’s Basilica began in 1843, making it the oldest English-speaking Roman Catholic church in the city. Designated a National Historic Site of Canada, this Gothic Revival structure’s interior glows beautiful golden tones. Its high, ribbed-vaulted ceilings seem to float above the open nave on shining marble pilasters. If that’s not enough, it also features 150 oil paintings, and a repeated motif of shamrocks and fleur de lys symbols–see how many you can spot!
Photo by Christian Bucad.
400 Saint Paul Street East
Also located in Old Montreal, Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours is one of the oldest churches in Montreal, and its first pilgrimage chapel. It was built around 1771 over the ruins of another church. The chapel is connected to the Marguerite Bourgeoys Museum, named after Montreal’s first teacher and founder of the chapel itself. The museum includes artworks related to the chapel’s history, as well as information on this extraordinary woman’s history. Not to mention its gorgeous interior with marble walls and giant, impressive altar painting!
Photo by GPS.
Church of La Visitation-de-la-Bienheureuse-Vierge-Marie
1847 Gouin Boulevard East
This stunning structure is the oldest church on the island of Montreal, completed in 1752. Located in the Recollet Falls neighbourhood in Montreal, the building’s exterior does not prepare you for what is inside. Although not as towering or humongous as some of the other basilicas, the church’s interior strikes awe with its light green ceiling, gold ornamentation, and gorgeous wooden pews.
Photo by Hubert Simon.
Church of the Gesù
1202 Rue de Bleury
Based on a church of the same name in Rome, Church of the Gesù was completed in 1865. With its Baroque Revival architecture, the interior features geometric ornamentation and classical archways which lead up to an impressively decorated apse with a wooden altar. Our favourite feature is the fantastic ceiling, embellished with circular designs. It also features frescoes by American artist Daniel Muller.
4215 rue Adam
In the Hochelaga-Maisonneuve borough of Montreal, this beautiful building has now been closed down due to safety concerns related to its structure. It houses Montreal’s largest Casavant organs–the sixth most important in North America at the time of their installation. There are also many impressive paintings adorning the interior. It’s Roman and Byzantine inspired façade features two towering steeples and a remarkable rosette window. Visit the Héritage Montréal website for more information about safeguarding this heritage site.
Photos from Wikimedia commons.