Favorite thing: This superb example of Richardson Romanesque architecture is now one of the pavilions of the Musee des Beaux Arts in Montreal. It was constructed in 1893-94, and designed by Alexander Cowper Hutchison (1838-1922), who employed a "neo-Byzantine" style inspired by Roman basilicas and Venetian towers. It contains a remarkable collection of Tiffany glass, said to the be the largest in Canada. The building is a National Historic Site.
Favorite thing: Presbyterian congregation that resulted from the union of two formerly separate parishes. The Gothic Revival structure looks timeless, yet actually dates from 1932. It is clad in stone, but there's a steel skeleton underneath. The architect was Harold Lea Fetherstonhaugh (1887-1971). Located on the corner of Sherbrooke and Redpath, adjacent to the Musee des Beaux-Arts.
The Sailors church: if you've had a good sea journey recently, then you should come to the Chapelle Notre dame de Bonsecours and offer thanks for your safe voyage!
Located at 400 Rue St. Paul est (east), this is one of the oldest surviving churches in Montreal.
This is also home to the Musee Marguerite Bourgeoys, commemorating the life and work of one of the most early female leaders (a nun, naturally) of 17th century Montreal.
Fun fact to know and tell: the Chapelle Notre Dame de Bonsecours features in Leonard Cohen's well-known song "Suzanne."
The "Mary, Queen of the World" Cathedral-Basilica is the seat of the Roman Catholic diocese here, but interestingly, it is only the third largest Roman Catholic church in the city. (What a devout city this once was!)
There was some controversy when the Cathedral was constructed here in the late 19th century, because this neighborhood - particularly bordering on Dorchester Square - was regarded as a bastion of Anglo-Montreal. This distinctions meant so much then!
The architects of the Cathedral chose to build a roughly one-third replica of St. Peter's Basilica in Rome. The interior is if anything more beautiful than the Vatican, IMHO, because the scale is so much more appropriate for mere human beings.
The Cathedral received the name "St James Cathedral" when it was consecrated in 1894. Pope Benedict XV gave it the distinction of being a minor basilica in 1919. Finally, in 1955 Pope Pius XII rededicated the cathedral with a new name, "Mary Reine de la monde."
Modelled in part on Salisbury Cathedral in England, the Anglican cathedral here was opened in 1859. The architect, Frank Wills, didn't design the foundation to be sufficiently strong to support the large steeple atop the church -- the result being that the original one had to be dismantled. The present steeple isn't as tall, and it is made of aluminium instead of stone!!
In the 1980s, the Anglican diocese secured the financial future of Christ Church by allowing construction of the 34 story office block on grounds it owned immediately behind the church, as well as the development of a shopping mall in space beneath it.
St. James United is an impressive Protestant church on bustling Rue St. Catherine (west). Designed in the French Gothic style by Montreal architect Alexander Dunlop, the building opened in 1889. For many years its highly decorated facade on St. Catherine's was hidden by a row of commercial structures; happily, these have been removed, revealing the gothic pile in all its glory.
Wneh it was constructed, it was the largest Methodist church in Canada. Canada's Methodists joined up with the United Church of Canada (Congregationalists and some Presbyterians) in 1925.
St. James United features a highly acclaim Freres Cassavant organ - I'm sure it worth coming to a concert, if you are interested in organ music.
463 St. Catherine's Street
Favorite thing: Basilique Notre Dame is usuallly closed for tourists during the weekends due to weddings and services. There are over 100 weddings per year at the Basilique. Since weddings are almost weekend activities. The weekends at Basilica are usually packed with one wedding after another. The Saturday that we were there, a total of 6 weddings back to back to back... Obviously no tourist is allowed inside. We ended up going back during the weekdays to get in. BTW, is not free like most churches in the world. Flash photography is allowed but tripod requires a special permit.
Montreal has many, many churches, some of them very large and ornate in their design, but Notre Dame is the most famous of them all. Located in the heart of Old Montreal, this was for years the tallest structure in the city and is often shown in pictures with skyscrapers as an example of the city's progress in the 20th century.
The bascillica has tours and regular mass daily, also a small museum.
Notre Dame (one more time. It is so beautiful).
A funny thing : there is a Joan of Arc's statue in the church.
A message to the English Canadians ?
Fondest memory: There are daily guided tour in English and in French between 9AM to 4PM. They last 20 mn.
Basilique Notre Dame 424 Rue Saint Sulpice or 110 rue Notre Dame - Montreal QC. (514).842.2925.
Metro : Place d'Armes -
Price : 2$CND -
Open 7AM to 8PM in Summer.
Fondest memory: Built in 1824 - 1829 by James O'Donnel, an Irish architect who converted to the catholicism to be burried under his work.
A Frenchman, Henri Bouriché, created the sculptures of the altar.
He drew his inspiration from the Sainte Chapelle in Paris (to compare, see my travelogue about this monument on my Paris Page).
The organ is famous because it has 4 manuals (keyboards), 97 stops and 7000 pipes.
The stained glass are recent (1929).
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