Monday, April 4, 2016

C is for Cote-des-Neiges

Since I was born on the Island of Montreal very close to Cote-des-Neiges I thought a little history was in order.

Historically, the original settlement, the Village of Côte-des-Neiges, was founded in 1862 and annexed by Montreal in two parts in 1908 and 1910. In 1876, land owner and farmer James Swail began residential subdivisions on the eastern side of Decelles Avenue. In 1906, a large housing development was started in the area, called Northmount Heights, built by developer Northmount Land Company. Much of this area has been expropriated by the Université de Montréal.

Probably one of the most memorable sights you will visit is Saint Joseph's Oratory nestled in the slope of Mount Royal.

courtesy- Paola Costa Baldi

In 1904, Saint André Bessette, C.S.C., began the construction of St. Joseph, a small chapel on the slopes of Mont Royal near Notre Dame College. Soon the growing number of the congregation made it too small. In 1917 a larger church was completed that had a seating capacity of 1,000. In 1924, the construction of the basilica of Saint Joseph's Oratory was commenced; it was finally completed in 1967.
Father Paul Bellot, an architect, completed the dome of Saint Joseph's Oratory between 1937-39. The dome is the third-largest of its kind in the world after the Basilica of Our Lady of Peace of Yamoussoukro in Côte d'Ivoire and Saint Peter's Basilica in Rome.
In 1949-1951, architect Gilbert Moreau carried out alterations and improvements to the interior of Saint Joseph's Oratory, as well as to the adjacent monastery, and rearranged the sacristy in the basilica.
The basilica is dedicated to Saint Joseph, to whom Brother André credited all his reported miracles. These were mostly related to some kind of healing power, and many pilgrims (handicapped, blind, ill, etc.) poured into his Basilica, including numerous non-Catholics. On display in the basilica is a wall covered with thousands of crutches from those who came to the basilica and were purportedly healed. Pope John Paul II deemed the miracles to be authentic and beatified Brother André in 1982. In October 2010 Pope Benedict XVI canonized the saint.
A reliquary in the church museum contains Brother André's heart, which he requested as a protection for the basilica. More than 2 million visitors and pilgrims visit the Oratory every year. It is located at 3800 Queen Mary Road, at Côte-des-Neiges (near the Côte-des-Neiges metro station).
Composer Émilien Allard notably served as the church's carillonneur from 1955 to 1975. For RCA Victor he released the LP album Carols at the Carillon of Saint Joseph's Oratory for which he wrote the arrangements.

Cote-des-Neiges is 63 km (1hr)  from St. Hyacinthe and 263 km (3hrs.) from Quebec City.


  1. I have passed by the Oratory many times but never entered. I should make a point of doing so next time I am home. Great post!

  2. All the crutches on display must be very uplifting for visitors to the basilica.
    Visiting from AtoZ
    Jollett Etc.

  3. Looks marvellous. Nice to read about the history too.

    Visiting from A to Z Challenge
    Pam's Unconventional Alliance Team
    A Whimsical Medley
    Twinkle Eyed Traveller

  4. Thanks for the history! I've read about Brother Andre, he is the great uncle of a co-worker's grandmother, quite a story and an interesting man

  5. And I didn't know there was a Canadian saint.