Discover Montréal's rich religious history

Montréal's religious architecture, from Christian cathedrals to unassuming sacred sites, tells endless stories about the city and its heritage. Upon visiting Montréal in 1881, Mark Twain remarked, “This is the first time I was ever in a city where you couldn’t throw a brick without breaking a church window.” Epic domes, towers reaching to the heavens and immaculately painted interiors thrill the eye, while regular services and choral performances soothe the soul. Founded as a New World Catholic enclave, spirituality has long played a part in Montréal’s development into a multi-denominational metropolis with churches as the cornerstone of the neighbourhood. And even if Montréal isn’t quite the holy city it once was, even decommissioned churches maintain their vital role in the city, transformed into the stateliest of homes and forward-looking arts studios.

A Montréal steeple chase

While Montréal’s streets are dotted with places of worship to serve for countless creeds and belief systems, some of the area’s most impressive churches harken back to the city’s early days of settlement. Breath-taking grandeur and a style unique to Montréal mark these churches as must-see additions to any travel itinerary.

  1. Look up, way up, at Saint Joseph’s Oratory of Mount Royal.
  2. Adore the colour palette of the Italian Renaissance-inspired Mary Queen of the World Cathedral.
  3. Enjoy the silence in the Notre-Dame Basilica.
  4. Climb to the top of the Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours Chapel and take in the views of Old Montréal and the St. Lawrence River.
  5. Look back in time at the Church of La Visitation-de-la-Bienheureuse-Vierge-Marie, oldest church on the island of Montréal.