Surrounded by modern office buildings in the crux of downtown Montreal, Mary Queen of the World might seem out of place at first glance. But her walls stood long before those of her skyscraping neighbors. They contain over a century of the city's religious legacy, a legacy that not too long ago had a different name. And a different home.
Out of the ashes of a major fire that decimated Saint-Jacques-le-Majeur, the St. James Cathedral, in Montreal's Latin Quarter circa 1852 emerged the idea of rebuilding the Catholic stronghold in more western location and in honor of Vatican City's crowning glory, Rome's iconic Saint Peter's Basilica. And so began the building of a smaller scale replica in a part of Montreal poised to one day become the city's downtown core.l
The year 1870 marked the beginning of construction. But it would take more than two decades to complete the Renaissance style cathedral, a departure from the Gothic revival style that was so popular at the time, a cathedral which saw its eventual consecration in 1894. Statues that mark the cathedral's façade were added later on, a departure from the 12 apostles that mark the original St. Peter's façade. Instead, the Montreal replica opted to erect statues of the 13 patron saints representing Montreal's then 13 parishes to put in their place. Otherwise, the replica remains fairly faithful. Overall, the cathedral is scaled somewhere in the range of a fourth to a third of the size of Saint Peter's Basilica.
By 1919, Saint-Jacques-le-Majeur Cathedral was elevated to minor basilica by then Pope Benedict XV. And by 1955, the St. James Cathedral was renamed Mary Queen of the World, or Marie-Reine-du-Monde. The Cathedral has since become one of downtown Montreal's most popular attractions.
Getting to Mary Queen of the World
Mary Queen of the World Address
1085 Rue de la Cathédrale
Montréal (Québec) H3B 2V3
Tel: (514) 866-1661
How Long Does It Take to Tour Mary Queen of the World
It depends on if you plan on attending Mass or not. Touring the entire building could take 30 minutes to one hour.
When Is Mass?
Mass is held every day, Monday through Saturday at 7:30 a.m., 12:10 p.m. and 5 p.m., and Sundays at 9:30 a.m. 11 a.m., 12:15 p.m. and 5 p.m. Sunday 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. masses feature choir music. Note that services are conducted in French and schedules are subject to change without notice. Check here for the Mary Queen of the World's detailed Mass schedule (in French).
When Is the Mary Queen of the World Open?
The Cathedral is open to visitors when Mass is not in progress every weekday from 7 a.m. to 6:15 p.m. and weekends from 7:30 a.m. to 6:15 p.m. Note that this schedule is subject to change without notice.
There's no admission fee to visit Mary Queen of the World. However, donations are always welcomed to help cover building maintenance costs.
Regular metered parking is available on surrounding streets.
By foot, the Mary Queen of the World is within close walking distance to Ste. Catherine Street's myriad boutiques, cinema, food stops and shopping centres, a stone's throw from Reuben's smoked meat sandwiches, and about a five- to ten-minute walk to St. Patrick's Basilica.