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Catholic religious landmarks and heritage of Montréal

Writer Mark Twain once famously said of Montréal, “This is the first time I was ever in a city where you couldn’t throw a brick without breaking a church window.” The history of Montréal – a city nicknamed “La ville aux cent clochers” (The City of a Hundred Bell Towers) – has been steeped in religion since its beginnings, when Paul Chomedey de Maisonneuve (who founded Montréal on May 17, 1642) erected the first cross atop Mount Royal on January 6, 1643, to thank God for sparing his colony from rising flood waters. The current steel cross was erected in 1924. Here are some other popular and historic religious landmarks to visit in Montréal: Notre-Dame Basilica in Old Montréal was originally the small parish church of Notre-Dame built in 1672. Montréal’s Roman Catholic Sulpician Order commissioned New York architect James O’Donnell to design the new church on the same site in 1824, and when the Basilica was completed in 1829 – its Gothic Revival architecture and grand interior among the most dramatic in the world – it was the largest church in North America for the next half-century. More recently, the Basilica was the site of Luciano Pavarotti’s famed 1978… / Read More →