Canada // Montréal and Southwest Québec //

Basilique-Cathédrale Marie-Reine-du-Monde

Dwarfed by its high-rise neighbours, the Basilique-Cathédrale Marie-Reine-du-Monde was commissioned by Bishop Ignace Bourget in 1875 as a reminder that Catholicism still dominated the largest city in the new Dominion of Canada. Impressed by St Peter’s while visiting Rome, Bourget created a scaled-down replica of the famous church. While the statues crowning St Peter’s facade are of the Apostles, the thirteen statues atop its smaller cousin represent the patron saints of the parishes that donated them. The inside is not as opulent as you might expect, though the high altar of marble, onyx and ivory is surmounted by a gilded copper reproduction of Bernini’s baldachin over the altar in St Peter’s. To your left on entering, the Chapelle des Souvenirs contains various relics, including the wax-encased remains of St Zoticus, a patron saint of the poor.