How to Visit the Notre-Dame Cathedral Basilica in Ottawa

Close to the Rideau Canal, not far from Parliament Hill, and directly opposite in the National Gallery of Canada (i.e. in which the Maman sculpture will be spied), the Roman Catholic Notre-Dame Cathedral Basilica in Ottawa is one of the top must-see attractions that the Canadian capital city has to offer. Here’s how you can go to the main cathedral of Ottawa, in addition to a quick history and insider tips on items to know before you go!

History of the Notre-Dame Cathedral Basilica in Ottawa

The basilica dates completely to the 19th-century, and therefore it’s the oldest still-standing church that’s to be found any place in Ottawa. All tin roof and many architectural designs, whatever you decide and well not know is the fact that there've actually been several churches on the website in which the Basilica is now found.

The original Basilica Church was constructed of wood (as was so a fact of life using the early Canadian churches) and was built in 1832. Dedicated to Saint-Jacques, soon enough this structure was demolished so at to become replaced in 1841 with a church having a neo-classical design that would be made from stone and tin.

The new church was built during the period of several decades and was intended as in the Neo-Classical design. However, while Neo-Classical have been oh so à la mode once the Basilica was first being built, Neo-Gothic, and much more specifically French Gothic Revival, soon enough had become the most widely used style of the time.

This resulted in when Father Pierre-Adrien Telmon arrived from France to supervise the Cathedral’s architectural designs and construction, he soon changed the plans, and the result would be a base in the Neo-Classical design and also the upper echelons from the church being constructed following the French Gothic revival style.

Highlights of Ottawa Basilica

All in all, the church you see today was completed in 1847 and was in no time appointed to become the cathedral of Bytown. And upon completion, the church was pronounced as the Cathedral of Bytown. A statue of the first bishop, Joseph-Bruno Guigues is how to be located on the grass outside the ecclesiastical building.

Complete having a peal of bells, notable options that come with the church include a glistening tin roof (this is a particularly French Canadian feature), Gothic spires, a ceiling featuring hundreds of glittering stars, along with a particularly impressive Organ, the Basilica of Ottawa continues to be designated like a National Historic Site since 1990.

The to begin the surviving stained glass windows were carried out 1879 through the English stained glass window maker Horwood and feature the type of Geometric designs that you’ll see in churches all over the UK. Later designs are available elsewhere in the church feature biblical scenes, which predominantly dates from the 1950s.

Like many churches across the world, the Cathedral Basilica of Ottawa is also the place to find a treasure chest of gems and forgotten relics from a bygone era. Popular features of the Basilica’s expansive collection include a number of Golden chalices gifted for Jubilees, marriages, and the like, in addition to may liturgical vestments.

How to visit Notre-Dame Cathedral Basilica

Free to visit, the ecclesiastical building is open on a daily basis. Best-seen throughout the golden hour (i.e. sunrise or sunset- check here for my camera equipment guide), this is where the stained glass will appear its prettiest, the sky will be at its softest, and the shining dome will reflect the candy colours that dance across the sky at the moment.

Wander inside at any given moment and you’ll soon be greeted by a plethora of gold-gilt details, stunning stained glass windows, and a starry ceiling that you could spend hours looking at. While much of the focal interest is around the magnificent altarpiece, both aisles offer lots of stunning viewing experiences, including intricate carvings and biblical stained-glass pieces.

For those who are particularly interested in getting a local’s perspective on the cathedral, as well as gaining more insider knowledge, it’s worth noting that guided around the Cathedral are held during the summertime. Full details are to be found here. Small leaflets offering more information concerning the history of the Notre-Dame Cathedral Basilica in Ottawa can be found at the entrance.

Organ recital series (featuring music played around the recently renovated musical instrument) will also be held throughout the year, including during the summertime. Otherwise, you need to know that the Basilica Cathedral is open throughout the year (yes, even in the wintertime!) Masses take place through the week in both French and English and free parking can be obtained during Mass.

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