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Montreal’s Most Beautiful Buildings: Mary, Queen of the World Cathedral

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Some of the most alluring and impressive buildings around the world can’t compare to what you can see in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Quebec is one of the most highly-visited provinces in Canada because it holds numerous festivals year-round and boats some of the most stunning displays of architecture of office buildings, churches, and museums. There is so much to see and one of the most visited sights is Montreal’s most beautiful building: Mary, Queen of the World Cathedral. The Cathedral is known a minor basilica and many visitors pass through its grand halls in admiration of its splendour.

Location

Mary, Queen of the World Cathedral is the 3rd largest church in Quebec, covering almost 4,700 square meters. It is located on the corner of Rene Levesque Boulevard and Metcalfe street. It is also conveniently located near the metro and transit stations right in the heart of the downtown area. The cathedral is a part of 5 acres of municipal park land known as Dorchester square.

The church is open to the public for visits and it considered a national historical sight of Canada. Tourists and visitors can enter the church Monday through Friday from 7am to 6pm. The hours on the weekend differ.

History

In the 1850’s the second archbishop of Montreal wanted a full scale replica of St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome to be built in Canada. His request was that the building was to have a different concept and design than already existing churches. He favored the baroque style architecture found across Italy.  He commissioned that the buildings and art in Italy be studied and that the full-scale model would be built. After sending one architect to Rome, the architect returned claiming that such a building as St. Peter’s Basilica could never be built to scale or with such intricate artistry. Even after being told that it was a nearly impossible feat, the archbishop continued insisting and secretly sent out one of the Father’s to Rome to study and prepare for the job.

Construction began in 1875 and Mary, Queen of the World Cathedral was fully constructed almost 20 years later in 1894. At the time of completion, it was the largest church in the province of Quebec. The cathedral is a one-fifth scale model of St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. Originally known as the Basilique Marie-Reine-du-Monde, the church was renamed in 1955 to Mary, Queen of the World Cathedral. Now, it is a well-known site in Montreal with floods of visitors each year.

Outside architecture

Mary, Queen of the World Cathedral is topped off with a beautiful green copper dome that can be seen all around and catches many visitors with its bright appeal. The design of the building is that of a Latin cross and boasts a large portico. The top of the building displays a stunning array of 13 statues. The statues of the 13 patron saints that oversee the 13 parishes of Montreal. This was intended to mimic St. Peter’s Basilica which has 12 statues of the 12 disciples atop of the church. The cathedral stands 252 feet tall and spans almost 50, sq. feet.

Inside architecture

The inside of the Mary, Queen of the World Cathedral is arrayed with the artistry of the neo-baroque style. There is a large baldachin, or canopy, that is gleaming with red copper and gold leaves that surrounds the high altar of the sanctuary. The baldachin is the canopy where ceremonial processions are held.

One of the most notable features is that baptismal font inside the Cathedral. The baptismal font is made of marble and stands at the forefront of the center altar. A baptismal font is a piece of church furniture that is used for baptizing infants as practiced in the Catholic Christian tradition. The marble baptismal font is gleaming from the smooth stone material and atop hangs a stucco crucifix of the body of Jesus Christ.

The marble, which is also regularly used for countertops, makes for an extra-striking feature for the baptismal font. Marble is a metamorphic rocks and when crystallized and smooth is makes for a stunning presentation. Marble has long been a desirable choice because of its appeal. It usually comes in earthy colors and different marbling lines of lighter colors and even dark brown and black speckle it’s surface. The baptismal font of Mary, Queen of the World Cathedral draws many visitors because of the beauty and awe of the marble baptismal font.

Planning a trip

Mary, Queen of the World Cathedral is a must see when in Montreal. It is a host to countless visitors each year. People all over the world are drawn to the beauty of the architecture on the outside, unique features such as the marble baptismal font, the Italian artistry, and the rich history inside.

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