Over a week of ‘warmer’ weather in the upper 30s and even 40s, Montreal is now headed for another winter chill even though it is now spring. Last weekend was chilly being back down to high teens at night and high 20s to low 30s during the day. Despite so, it was okay because the sun’s heat kept us warm while walking around. It was a beautiful weekend and we soaked it up and visited Canada’s biggest church: Saint Joseph’s Oratory. Indeed, it was massive and we toured the Roman Catholic minor basilica and national shrine by ourselves.
Before entering the cathedral, through an iron gate fence, you pass a large statue which I didn’t capture myself by camera because it was swarming with tourists. The picture below captures a better scenery sans swarmers with iPhones and selfie sticks.
Constructed in 1904, the church wasn’t completed until 1960. This may explain why it seems quite modern compared to other basilicas we’ve visited. With thick slabs of concrete walls and wood paneling and sharp edges, even the painting and stained glass seemed ‘newer’ with a somewhat contemporary flair.
You’ll notice how commodious it feels when exploring the grounds and we were surprised at all the extra walkways we didn’t see coming. Another thing you’ll notice right away is the beast of a chandelier hanging in what I believe to be of steel structure. It’s quite impressive and suits the church’s grand architecture and style.
Siting on Westmount Summit at Mont Royal, a hill which is at the heart of the city, the viewpoint at the church overlooks a section of the neighborhood and farther, exposing how flat the city really is.
We wanted to go up to the observatory and visit the garden area, but both areas were closed off for now. It seems a good time to visit would be late spring or in the summer when it’s warmer and snow is guaranteed to vanish for good. And for museum goers, there is a small museum inside the cathedral if you wish to see holy relics and the heart of Brother André.