Photographer's Note

Notre-Dame Basilica (French Basilique Notre-Dame de Montréal) is a basilica in the historic district of Montreal, in Quebec, Canada.

The basilica, overlooking the Place d'Armes in the heart of Old Montreal, is attached to the old Sulpician religious Seminary. The Roman Catholic Sulpician Order religious order arrived in Montreal (Ville-Marie) in 1657; six years later the seigneury of the island was given them and they ruled until 1840. The parish they founded was dedicated to the Holy Name of Mary, and the parish church of Notre-Dame was built on the site in 1672.

The congregation had completely outgrown the church by the time work began on the new building in 1824. The Protestant architect James O'Donnell, an Irish immigrant to New York, was commissioned to design the neo-gothic church. He embraced Catholicism just before he died in 1830, and is buried in the church.

The sanctuary was completed in the same year, and the first tower was completed in 1843. When the structure was finished it was the largest church in North America.

The interior took much longer, and Victor Bourgeau, who also worked on Mary, Queen of the World Cathedral also in Montreal, worked on it from 1872 to 1879. Stonemason John Redpath was a major participant in the construction of the Basilica.

The basilica's organThe church is well-known for its gorgeous interior, its ceiling decorated in deep blue with gold stars, and the rest of the sanctuary in polychrome of blues, azures, reds, purples, silver, and gold. There are hundreds of intricate wooden carvings all over the sanctuary. Unusually for a church, the stained-glass windows along the walls of the sanctuary are not biblical, but depict scenes from the religious history of Montreal. It has a Canadian built Casavant Frères pipe organ.

Because of the splendour and scale of the church, a more intimate chapel (Chapelle du Sacré-Coeur) was built behind it along with some offices and a sacristy. It was completed in 1888.

A major fire destroyed the Sacré-Coeur Chapel on December 7, 1978. It was rebuilt with the first two levels being reproduced from old drawings and photographs, with modern vaulting and reredos and an immense bronze altarpiece by Quebec sculptor Charles Daudelin.

Notre-Dame Church was raised to the status of basilica by Pope John Paul II during a visit to the city on April 21, 1982.

Perhaps the most famous moment at the basilica took place in 2000 — Justin Trudeau giving his eulogy during the state funeral of Pierre Trudeau, his father, Canada's 15th prime minister. Incidentally, the Canadian singer Celine Dion was married here. (

I didn't have a tripod so I used the back of a pew, a trick I have used many times with reasonable success. I love the colors of this cathedral which are well represented in the photo.

KevRyan, Clairedelune, john_c, sarju, PJE has marked this note useful

Photo Information
Viewed: 5411
Points: 14
  • None
Additional Photos by Alli Hemingway (annagrace) Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 537 W: 27 N: 443] (2467)
View More Pictures