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“Impressive, even for a non-Christian”

Saint Joseph's Oratory of Mount Royal
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$3.98*
and up
Museum of Saint Joseph's Oratory of Mount Royal
Ranked #11 of 432 things to do in Montreal
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: 2-3 hours
Owner description: Saint Joseph's Oratory of Mount-Royal, founded by Saint Brother André in 1904, is a catholic sanctuary and the largest shrine dedicated to Saint Joseph in the world. We welcome everyone to partake in panoramic views, music concerts and special religious celebrations; come discover natural, cultural and spiritual treasures in the heart of the city. You will marvel at the votive chapel containing 10,000 candles, the Oratory Museum featuring nativity scenes from around the world, the Original Chapel, the spectacular Garden of the Way of Cross, the Crypt Church and the largest domed Basilica in North America.
Reviewed October 30, 2012

I only normally attend church while on holiday, and then only when I can expect impressive architecture and music; the Oratory certainly ticked all those boxes. The building itself is very impressive on top of a hill a short walk from Snowdon Metro station. There is a shuttle bus which takes you up to the top and then escalators, lifts etc. For the further climb within the building. The actual basilica is built in a very austere modern style but is impressive. Particularly noteworthy is the organ (see photo) which is said to be one of the top ten in the world, and they had certainly found a worthy organist. We attended on Sunday at 1100 so were there for Mass. This was mostly run by a young women who put the three elderly priests in the shade as far as charisma is concerned and also had an amazing singing voice

1  Thank AnotherEngineer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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"brother andre"
in 166 reviews
"votive chapel"
in 42 reviews
"holy place"
in 29 reviews
"climb the stairs"
in 31 reviews
"main church"
in 33 reviews
"mount royal"
in 93 reviews
"peaceful place"
in 29 reviews
"light a candle"
in 33 reviews
"gift shop"
in 59 reviews
"worth the trip"
in 38 reviews
"great view of the city"
in 30 reviews
"awe inspiring"
in 30 reviews
"visiting montreal"
in 58 reviews
"beautiful architecture"
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"notre dame"
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"stained glass"
in 28 reviews
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2,502 - 2,506 of 4,319 reviews

Reviewed October 30, 2012

As others have pointed out, you need to climb a lot of steps to get up to the entrance Oratory. By way of immediate compensation, the view back down of the grounds is quite beautiful. For me, the most rewarding part of the experience was the stained glass, which uses almost an Art Moderne approach to the figures that is quite unique in my experience. This is carried over to the wonderful ironwork that is found in various parts of the sanctuary.
The altar area is perhaps less ornate than one would expect, but I found it wholly in keeping with the tone established by the figures portrayed in the windows and the metalwork. In addition, the carved wood figures are especially graceful and add to the sense of an unusual aesthetic vision for the building as a whole.
As might be expected, the ambient lighting is quite low and so be prepared to take extra care to use appropriate settings on your camera. In my case, I found that some digital enhancement provided a more true to life representation of what I saw in many pictures.
While not Catholic, it was easy to feel the spiritual nature of the Oratory and I encourage those of all faiths to see this distinctive attraction.

1  Thank opteron
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 30, 2012

Garden was closed "for winter" in October on a 70 degree day, disappointing. But still worth the climb to see the cathedral and interior stained glass. If you're adventuresome climb up Mont Royal and then continue on over the hill, past the Lac, beyond Notre-Dame cemetery, to the Oratorie... then take the Metro back to town and a well deserved drink & dinner!

1  Thank dwroesekejr
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 28, 2012

Beautiful basilca with historical significance. Mass is said daily. Worth the walk up the stairs/hill to see.

1  Thank DealFinder50
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed October 27, 2012

WOW...what a place...this is on of those places that you realized there is something special about the place, the history, the architectural, the message. Love the place. We went at night and during the day. Lots of walking and stairs. Visit the garden, located on the left side of the Oratory.
On every level, you will find something special and awesome. Take your time.

3  Thank The_Qban
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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