Saint Joseph’s Oratory is one of the most known churches of Montreal. Built on the North-western side of Mount Royal, its shape is one fo the most recognizable in the city’s skyline. The huge dimensions of the basilica and its dome are indeed impressive: the dome is 60 m high inside and 39 m large. The cross at its top reaches the height of 300 m.
Saint Joseph’s Oratory is the third largest oratory in the world, after the Our Lady of Peace basilica in Yamoussoukro and the St Peter’s basilica in Rome. You can see it from such a distance that even coming from out of town you will spot its silhouette.
Saint Joseph Oratory features 283 steps, starting from Queen Mary Rd. to the basilica’s gantry. 99 of these, occupying the central lane of the staircase, are made of wood and they are reserved to believers to mount all the way up on their knees for repentance. Luckily enough, we didn’t see any.
If you want some good advise, do as we did, and get to the Oratory from Surrey Gardens: that way, you will get directly to the basilica from the back door, and you’ll get to go down the staircase instead of going up.
The basilica itself, inside, is quite dark and bare. However, from the staircase and its terraces you will have a magnificent view over the city.