Basilique Notre-Dame de Montréal

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Some big cities has Notre Dame (meaning ‘Our Lady’) Cathedral. Montreal is one of them. The prominent Notre Dame Cathedral I could recall was Notre Dame in Paris. But this one in Monreal, Canada, is not less magnificent than the one in Paris.

This Christ Church Cathedral stands in the heart of the commercial and shopping centre of Montreal (kinda difficult to find it from the main street, phew.. I just accidently found it). The imposing supercool neo-Gothic building, completed in 1859, was designed by British architect Frank Wills.

Both in its situation and in its life and teaching the Cathedral tries to represent the faith and tradition of Christianity and Anglicanism, interpreted in and for the modern (and post-modern) world.

Notre-Dame Basilica (French: Basilique Notre-Dame de Montréal) is a big basilica located in the historic district of Old Montreal, in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. This church is located (i should note) at 110 Notre-Dame Street West, at the corner of Saint Sulpice Street. It is next to the Saint-Sulpice Seminary and faces the Place d’Armes square.

i learnt that this church’s Gothic Revival architecture is among the most dramatic in the world! well, no wonder, i suppose. its interior is grand and colourful, its ceiling is coloured deep blue and decorated with golden stars, and the rest of the sanctuary is a polychrome of blues, azures, reds, purples, silver, and gold. It is filled with hundreds of intricate wooden carvings and several religious statues. but kinda weird for a church, the stained glass windows along the walls of the sanctuary do not depict biblical scenes, but rather scenes from the religious history of Montreal. hmm.. interesting.  It also has a Casavant Frères pipe organ, dated 1891, which comprises four keyboards, 92 stops using electropneumatic action and an adjustable combination system, 7000 individual pipes and a pedal board. whoa!

The basilica offers musical programming of choral and organ performances. It is a tradition among many Montrealers to attend the annual performance of Handel’s Messiah every December at Christmas.
The basilica now charges a $5.00 entry fee for visitors, unless they are there to attend mass. “And Then There Was Light,” a sound and light show detailing the history of the church, is also offered in the evening, Tuesday through Saturday (tickets are $10 for adults [18+], $9 for seniors, and $5 for children and young adults). The closest metro station is Place-d’Armes.

Here comes the history (you may sleep by now ;PP)

In 1657, the Roman Catholic Sulpician Order arrived in Ville-Marie, now known as Montreal; six years later the seigneury of the island was vested in them. 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.

Because of the splendour and grand scale of the church, a more intimate chapel, Chapelle du Sacré-Cœur (Chapel of the Sacred Heart), was built behind it, along with some offices and a sacristy. It was completed in 1888. In 1886 Casavant Frères began building a new 32-foot pipe organ at the church, completing it in 1891. It was notably the first organ with adjustable-combination pedals to be operated by electricity.

The Basilica’s vast size, executed in the Gothic Revival style, the extraordinary craftsmanship and artistic polish of its fittings, its many fine works of religious art, and the interior of its chapel inspired by the Sainte-Chapelle in Paris, are heritage features whose preservation and enhancement demand the greatest possible attention and care.

I’ll say this church is an archaeological treasures. Visitors interested in the arts of the past will be amazed with the church’s impressive crypt, where they can study its origins. The present-day Basilica, which was inaugurated in 1829, was built on a plan set back slightly from the placement of the original church, which stood on the plot of ground covered today by Notre-Dame Street. As a result, many archaeological treasures of major ethnographic value still exist in the area around the Basilica and underneath its front square.

 

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