Did you know... ?

In 1982, Pope John Paul II raised the status of Notre-Dame from a church to minor basilica – a gesture honouring a church’s historic, architectural and artistic value, or in recognition of its symbolic or pastoral importance in a region.

The visit of Pope John Paul II in 1984

  • Among the many historic religious and cultural events at the Basilica since its founding are the funerals of Sir Georges-Étienne Cartier in 1873, Pierre-Elliott Trudeau in October 2000 and Maurice Richard in 2001, the visit of Pope John Paul II in 1984 and the wedding of Céline Dion in 1994.
  • Notre-Dame Basilica is also an active venue for cultural events. During the summer season, for instance, concerts are given by well-known orchestras. The Montreal Symphony Orchestra has performed in the church on numerous occasions. These concerts are extremely popular and attract large audiences of music lovers.
  • Notre-Dame was the first Gothic Revival style church to be built in Canada.
  • It took the original workmen only 35 months to complete the church, working from April to October between 1824 and 1829.
  • At the time of its inauguration, Notre-Dame Church was the largest house of worship of any religious denomination in North America.
  • The painter Ozias Leduc (1864–1955) decorated the baptismal fonts.
  • The great “Jean-Baptiste” bell weighs 24,000 pounds (11 tons). It was cast in England and raised into position using cables and pulley blocks borrowed from a railway company.
  • The three statues on the façade of the Basilica represent Montreal (the Virgin Mary), Quebec (Saint John the Baptist) and Canada (Saint Joseph).
  • Built as an addition to Notre-Dame in 1891, the Sacré-Cœur (Sacred Heart) Chapel, known as the “wedding chapel"” was heavily damaged by the fire of December 7, 1978. The chapel was entirely reconstructed in 1980.
  • Céline Dion and René Angélil were married at Notre-Dame Basilica on December 18, 1994.
  • Pope John Paul II celebrated a Mass for children at the Basilica on September 11, 1984.
  • 100 marriages and approximately 120 baptisms are celebrated at the Basilica every year.
  • Over 2,500 people a day visit Notre-Dame Basilica at the peak of the tourist season.
  • The Notre-Dame-des-Neiges Cemetery is affiliated with Notre-Dame Basilica. This cemetery, the largest in Canada and the third largest in North America, is located on Mount Royal.