The grand exterior of St. Joseph's Oratory of Mount Royal had us excited to see the interior. There was ample parking for late afternoon weekday visit, and we quickly made our way inside. Despite the significant height of the domed church, we were surprised to be greeted by a sterile series of escalators that took us to greater heights. The overall effect was of being in a dated office park; the many "private" offices and closed-off sections of the church did little to inspire us, and added to the stuffy air.
Once we made it to the main chapel, we were underwhelmed by the modernist architecture, and its difference from the more classical exterior of the building. To be clear, I'm a *huge* fan of modern architecture, but St. Joseph's Oratory failed to draw me, or to create an appropriately inspiring environment. The eye's gaze is distracted from the beautiful gate in the pulpit by a giant, round lighting fixture. The use of stained glass is limited. The harsh angles and lack of ornamentation within the chapel led to a sterile feel.
We made our way to the tomb, experiencing more of the office-park feel. We explored several balconies on our way down, which offer lovely views. By the time we made it to the lower levels of the church, we had passed numerous offering boxes and requests for donations, which I found off-putting. The saint himself is entombed in a dark, quiet section of the church. You'll find displays of the crutches and braces of those who have been healed, presumably, by the saint or in the church. Venture to the heart of Mont Royal for an interesting - and unexpected - view of a rock wall dripping with water. And yet another request for donations.
For the devoted, this is clearly a meaningful and beautiful place to visit. For architecture devotees, you may find yourself disappointed and struck by the many requests for financial support.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.