St. Joseph's Oratory (Oratoire Saint-Joseph)

#6 in Best Things To Do in Montreal
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Key Info

3800 Queen Mary Rd.

Price & Hours

Hours vary seasonally


Free, Churches/Religious Sites, Sightseeing Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend


  • 5.0Value
  • 3.5Facilities
  • 4.5Atmosphere

Sitting adjacent to Mont-Royal, this immense basilica is the highest point in Montreal. Dedicated to St. Joseph, Jesus' earthly father and Canada's patron saint, St. Joseph's Oratory was designed in an Italian Renaissance style with a copper dome rising 318 feet high. The inside of the basilica is decorated with intricately carved murals and thousands of votive candles leading to the crypt. St. Joseph's Oratory receives several million visitors each year (the most devout Catholics climb the basilica's 99 steps on their knees).

Recent visitors agree this stunning basilica is a must-see, for both devoted and secular tourists, calling it spectacular. Recent visitors were particularly fond of the view from the top of the structure. If you'd rather not climb to the top on our two feet, there is a free shuttle that transports visitors from the main entrance on Queen Mary Road to the top.

Sitting on the eastern edge of the Notre-Dame-des-Neiges Cemetery in Mont-Royal (accessible from the Blue Line's Snowdon and Côte-des-Neiges métro stations), St. Joseph's Oratory is open daily (hours vary by season), and tours are available when Mass is not in session. Entry to the church is free, but donations are appreciated. Tours, which last 90 minutes, cost CA$5 (about $3.75) per person. There is also a museum; access costs CA$4 (about $3) for adults, seniors and students; CA$2 (about $1.50) for kids ages 6 to 17; and is free for kids ages 5 and younger. If you plan on visiting the church, remember to dress appropriately. For more information, visit the St. Joseph's Oratory website.

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#1 Old Montreal (Vieux-Montréal)

As the site of the original city of Montreal, Vieux-Montréal (accessible from the Orange Line's Place-d'Armes and Champ-de-Mars métro stations) is the hub of the city's culture. Not much has changed in this neighborhood despite the city's rapid urbanization. Horse-drawn carriages traverse cobblestone streets and meander past such notable sites as the Basilique Notre-Dame, the Hôtel de Ville (Town Hall), the Vieux-Port (Old Port) and the Marché Bonsecours (Bonsecours Market).

Here, you'll mingle with Montrealers at sidewalk cafes while overlooking the river, or enjoy the summertime street performers at Place Jacques-Cartier. This is also a popular shopping area (despite the kitschy souvenir shops), and numerous bars and clubs bring Vieux-Montréal to life come sundown. Recent visitors said this area is a must for strolling, eating and experiencing the history of Montreal and feels very European thanks to its beautiful architecture.

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