Oratoire St Joseph

A Mini Pilgrimage to the Oratoire St Joseph du Mont-Royal

Saint Joseph's Oratory
Saint Joseph's Oratory cc licensed photo by Olivier Bruchez

What a majestic sight the Saint Joseph's Oratory of Mount Royal is, as it towers over plush and meticulously kept gardens. The long road which leads one towards the entrance allows one ample time to reflect on the churches beauty as you make your way towards its front entrance. Before reaching the entrance however you will need to climb more than 280 steps! This can be seen as a mini pilgrimage so be sure to wear the proper shoes on your visit to the basilica if you have any intention of going inside.

The architectural style used is that of Italian renaissance complete with a dome, the 'cupola' as is typically seen in the basilica's of Italy. In fact the dome is the second largest dome in the world, the first being Saint Peter's basilica in Rome. The height of the dome is 236 meters. A variety of architects were involved in the construction and design of the church. The most notable of those were Paul Bellot, Dalbé Viau, Lucien Parent, and Alphonse Venne.

The Saint Joseph's Oratory which is situated on Mount Royal is the largest church in Canada, seating 2,400 people with a maximum capacity of 10,000 people. The height of the church towers 129 metres and the length 105 metres.

Construction of the church began in 1904 by Saint Andre' Bessette, C.S.C, however, it was a small chapel at that time, nothing in comparison to the basilica which you will see as it stands today. The church was later enlarged to accommodate for the growing congregation and this is when it was turned into a basilica. With all the expansion and alterations the basilica was finally finished in 1967.

The church was featured on a 49c stamp issued by the Canadian Post in April of 2004. The stamp was designed by Catherine Bradbury and William Stewart. Their design was based on photography of the church done by Bernard Brault.

During your visit to Saint Joseph's Oratory you will not only enjoy the beautiful gardens and lawn that lead up to it, or the magificent architecture itself; for a very small fee, you can also explore the Oratory Museum which is open daily from 11am - 4:30pm and during July and August you can participate in a fully guided tour, also for a small fee. If you get hungry during your visit you can enjoy a breakfast or light lunch along with some great views at the cafeteria.

If you would like to experience a truly Roman Catholic Church service in the largest church in Canada with the atmosphere of reverence that comes with it, then this is definitely a place to visit. If you are simply a fan of renaissance architecture, you will also want to add this to your list of places to see in Montreal.

Facts For Your Visit

Fee: There is a small fee to visit the Oratory Museum or to participate in one of the guided tours that are available during July and August. See the offical website for more information.

Oratoire St Joseph Hours:
Opening hours may differ on holidays

  • Monday: 6:30 AM – 9:00 PM
  • Tuesday: 6:30 AM – 9:00 PM
  • Wednesday: 6:30 AM – 9:00 PM
  • Thursday: 6:30 AM – 9:00 PM
  • Friday: 6:30 AM – 9:00 PM
  • Saturday: 6:30 AM – 9:00 PM
  • Sunday: 6:30 AM – 9:00 PM

Address: 3800 Chem. Queen Mary, Montréal, QC H3V 1H6, Canada

Phone: (514) 733-8211

Official Website: Oratoire St Joseph

Oratoire St Joseph Reviews

Rated 4.7 out of 5 Star Rating

5 Star Rating My initial experience at Saint Joseph's Oratory of Mount Royal left me astounded by the grandeur of the structure, its rich history, and exquisite architecture. The panoramic views from the top were breathtaking. Established by Saint Brother Andre, this vast shrine dedicated to St. Joseph offers a plethora of sights and insights. The Basilica and Crypt were particularly remarkable, providing a serene atmosphere for lighting votive candles. It's truly a haven of profound faith and tranquility.
Dinesh Sugenthiran - a week ago

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5 Star Rating During the Easter long weekend, I had the pleasure of visiting Montreal and stopping by the Saint Joseph's Oratory of Mount Royal. The $5 parking fee was a small price to pay for the experience that awaited. As I approached, I noticed some reconstruction work underway outside. It seemed they were making the site more accessible by adding an elevator for those who can't climb the stairs, which is a thoughtful addition. Stepping inside, I was immediately struck by the peaceful atmosphere. I spent some time just sitting and taking in the serenity. The architecture of the building is impressive, and from the front top, there's a lovely view of the university and the neighborhood below. One of the highlights of my visit was the lack of crowds. It made the experience more intimate, and I was able to enjoy the surroundings at my own pace. I had a great time with my friends, and we all agreed that it's a perfect place to spend a couple of hours for some peaceful contemplation. Overall, my visit to the Saint Joseph's Oratory of Mount Royal was a memorable one. I would highly recommend stopping by if you're in Montreal and looking for a peaceful escape.
Shivam Sharma - 4 weeks ago

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5 Star Rating I love this place. I come to walk around the grounds and reflect. It's peaceful. Everybody is respectful. So many stairs so it is also great exercise! This is my go to spot for sunsets in Montreal (especially when there is an eclipse). It's also FREE!
Johnny Rascal - a month ago

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5 Star Rating The church located at hill point. Very huge building structure. When we stand in front of church balcony, seen around awesome view from the church. I think this is the tallest church in Canada. Interior of the church nice architecture with coloured glazing long windows. So many floors here. Lot of shops and food court are here. Brother Andre heart preservation in fourth floor.
Kanagarethinam Kulandaisamy - a month ago

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5 Star Rating One side of the Cathedral outside seemed to be under renovation. A huge, beautiful Cathedral though, with a nice view from atop. Nice gift shop as well inside. There was a Mass underway when we visited the Crypt.
Jaya Jose - 2 weeks ago

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Metro Line Nearest Station Walking Time
Line 5 - BlueCôte-des-Neiges8 Minutes

How to get to Oratoire St Joseph by Metro

By Metro: Take Metro LIne 5 to Station Côte-des-Neiges; exit to your right (south) along Côte-des-Neiges Road then go right on Queen Mary Road to the entrance.

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