The Notre-Dame Basilica in Montreal is the first Gothic Revival style church in Canada. The history of Montreal is connected to the history of the church’s foundation and the Sulpician Fathers. It displays the bonds between religion and the arts, and highlights its Catholic roots. The church is significant because its architecture inspired a shift in tradition – a model which many other parishes followed.
The church has become one of the main features in Quebec’s heritage. It cemented its historical, religious, and artistic status in 1982 when it was raised to the rank of a minor Basilica by Pope John Paul II.
After the decision to build the church on Notre-Dame Street in 1672, the church opened after ten years of construction. The church construction cost so much money that it opened without a bell tower or façade.
Although extensions were added, the church was small in size. The church was constructed after its rival Catholic church, the St-Jacques Cathedral, burnt down in 1852, prompting the parish priest and churchwardens of Notre-Dame to begin rebuilding their own church.
Traces of the old Notre-Dame church are still visible on the ground at Place d’Armes Square. This is true even though the church demolition occurred in 1830. Years later, in 1843, they demolished its tower. This popular square is directly across the street from the Basilica.
The first Gothic Revival style church in Canada took its inspiration from the architecture of the two towers Notre-Dame de Paris and Saint-Sulpice.
Workers were unable to continue construction on the church during the winter. However, they still managed to build it within 35 months from 1824 to 1829.
The steeples of the church took more than ten years to complete and install! O’Donnell, whose crypt is under the Basilica, converted to Catholicism and died in 1830.
Development of Notre Dame Basilica in Montreal
Today, Notre-Dame is located in Old Montreal. The rising of Notre-Dame to a Minor Basilica rank was one of the most significant events of the 19th and 20th centuries. It confirmed its importance in the historical, artistic, and religious fields.