Mount Royal, A Territory to Discover

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Climb to Saint Joseph’s Oratory of Mount Royal


Well before the first chapel was built in 1904, Brother André and his companions would climb the mountain during processions and excursions.

The staircase (from 110 to 130 metres above sea level)

At the foot of the Oratory, 99 wooden steps are reserved for pilgrims who climb them on their knees as they pray. An exceptional panorama of the city can be viewed from the terrace on the roof of the crypt.

The elevator (from 130 to 137 metres above sea level)

In the votive chapel, 10,000 lamps and votive lights fill the space with a unique atmosphere. Behind it, set against an impressive rock wall, an elevator takes you 13 metres higher to the Concourse Hall.

Path of the cross and garden (from 140 to 175 metres above sea level)

In a magnificent garden created by landscape architect Frederic G. Todd, 17 sculptures line the path of the cross. They were created in an art-deco style by the artist Louis Parent between 1943 and 1953.

The basilica (from 186 to 283 metres above sea level)

A unique structure, the dimensions of the basilica and its dome are impressive. From the interior, the dome is 60 m in height, and 39 m in diameter. The tip of the cross, the highest point in Montréal, reaches 293 m above sea level.

To learn more


Photo Credit:

Saint Joseph’s Oratory of Mount Royal.
Les amis de la montagne



Questions :

(1) At 293 metres, the cross on top of the dome of Saint-Joseph's Oratory is the highest point in Montreal.

Answer True

(2) Brother André was the porter at the College Notre-Dame for 40 years.

Answer True

Saint Joseph's Oratory of Mount-Royal
Photographer: Jean-Michel Villanove
© Les amis de la montagne Collection

Saint Josep's sculpture of the votive chapel
Photographer: Samuel Montigné
© Les amis de la montagne's collection


Coloured votive candles
Phortographer: Samuel Montigné
© Les amis de la montagne Collection




Saint Joseph Oratory's staircase
Photographer: Samuel Montigné
© Les amis de la montagne's Collection

Basilica's chancel
Photographer: Samuel Montigné
© Les amis de la montagne's Collection

The Basilica's stained glass window
Photographer: Samuel Montigné
© Les amis de la montagne Collection

Apostles' sculptures
Photographer: Samuel Montigné
© Les amis de la montagne Collection

Crutchs in the Chapel of Brother André
Photographer: Samuel Montigné
© Les amis de la montagne Collection


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We were twelve,” St-Joseph’s Oratory

We were twelve with him…

In his Gospel, Mark said this about us:

"And he ordained twelve, that they should be with him, and that he may send them forth to preach, and to have power to heal sicknesses, and to cast out devils: and Simon he surnamed Peter; and James the son of Zebedee, and John the brother of James; and he surnamed them Boanerges, which is, the sons of thunder: and Andrew and Philip, and Bartholomew, and Matthew, and Thomas, and James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddeus, and Simon the Canaanite, and Judas Iscariot, which also betrayed him…"

We adorn the Basilica of the Oratory today because its directors wanted the prayers of believers in the sanctuary of St. Joseph to be presided over by the first leaders of universal Christianity, established by Jesus.

We stand five metres tall and were carved out of oak which was then delicately polychromed. We were created by the French master sculptor, Henri Charlier, between nineteen fifty seven and nineteen fifty nine, when he was an old man.

We did not all cross the ocean at the same time. Six of us arrived in Montréal in May nineteen fifty eight. We had to wait an entire year before we saw our six other companions, in May nineteen fifty nine.

We were designed to be placed against the four great pillars that support the dome, at about thirteen metres from the floor. Our proportions were exaggerated so that even from on high, our wooden bodies would be clearly visible.

Then one day we were moved, and it is now from deep within the transepts that we silently observe you, the faithful, pilgrims and visitors, with our wooden eyes.

So that we would be easily recognizable, the artist sculpted some of us with symbols. He carved Andrew holding the instrument of his torture in his hands, a cross in the form of an X. At John's feet, the artist sculpted an eagle, symbolizing the theologian’s keen mind. James is represented with…

But no, I have already disturbed the silence of this place with all these explanations. Come closer and you shall see…