Basilica Notre-Dame – Designated National Historic Site of Canada, 1989
Notre-Dame Basilica is located on Notre Dame Street in Old Montreal facing Place d’Armes Square. The Roman Catholic Church was designed by James O’Donnell and built in Gothic Revival Style in 1824-43.
The interior of the church is considered a masterpiece of Gothic Revival Architecture, the vaulted ceilings decorated with golden stars and wood carvings attracts millions of visitors annually. The stained glass windows describe elements of religious history of Montreal, rather than biblical scenes. A Casavant Frères organ 1891 has 7000 individual pipes. The two bell towers; the West Tower (Perseverance) the bell named after St Jean Baptiste and East Tower ( Temperance ) holds ten bells imported from England. John Ostell Architect completed the towers after O’Donnell’s passing. The facade completed in 1865 and the three statues depict St. Joseph, the Virgin Mary and St Jean Baptiste. It remained for a number of years, the largest church in North America.
The church remains gothic revival in spirit, the interior however expressing both Franciscan and Episcopalian elements, the colors an expression of the French culture. The Chapel of the Sacred Heart completed in 1888 was built behind the Basilica, however it was destroyed by fire in 1978 and subsequently rebuilt.
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