Culture

Quebec City Cathedrals: A Canadian Treasure Hunt

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When you think of world-renown cathedrals, Canada probably isn’t the first place that pops into your head. You more likely think of Europe, with all of it’s history and splendor. However, one North American city with a European flair boasts some of the most stunning and spectacular cathedrals in all the world.

You don’t have to be on a spiritual quest to enjoy these amazing places. History buffs, art lovers, musicians, and ghost hunters all love to visit cathedrals when they are traveling. If you’re curious, in Quebec City, Quebec, there are an abundance of gorgeous cathedrals to visit that will inspire you with their soaring spaces and untold treasures.

The Cathedral-Basilica of Notre-Dame de Québec

The Cathedral-Basilica of Notre-Dame de Québec first opened it’s doors in 1664. Some of the most noted architectural features are its two asymmetrical towers, a neo-classical facade, and a baldachin of gold which appears to float over the main altar. Bask in the colorful glory of the incredible stained glass windows, as well as three Casavant organs.

The cathedral has seen its share of trials and tribulations. During the British siege in 1759, the church was bombarded and burned down, and then rebuilt exactly according to the original plans. It burned down again in 1922 and again was rebuilt exactly as before.

Standout Experience

Visitors can see the “Holy Door”, one of the only seven Holy doors in the world officially recognized by the Vatican. It is a very significant symbol of a spiritual experience, giving pilgrims the chance to collect lost parts of their lives. The Holy Door has a life-size relief of Jesus Christ in it, whose hands are worn from thousands and thousands of pilgrims touching them over the course of the centuries. Currently, the door is closed until next Jubilee in 2025.

How to Visit

The best way to enjoy this cathedral is through a self-guided tour. A map will guide you to all the cathedrals highlights and give you in-depth information on them. Visitors can explore daily from 7:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. weekdays, 7:00 a.m. until 6 p.m. on Saturdays, and 8:00 a.m until 5:00 p.m. on Sundays. Quebec City’s Notre-Dame Cathedral is located at 53 Rue Sainte-Famille, Québec, QC G1R 3V6, Canada.

The Cathedral of the Holy Trinity

This is the cathedral of the Anglican Diocese of Quebec. Tucked in the heart of Old Quebec, The Cathedral of the Holy Trinity was built between 1800 and 1804 in the British Palladian style of architecture. The classic, austere exterior, gives little hint to the marvels that exist inside. The carved white columns and soaring proportions are just the first thing that catches the eye. An amazing array of stained glass, sculpture, and artwork awaits while strolling the interior of the cathedral.

Standout Experience

Listening to the famous bells at the Cathedral of the Holy Trinity is and experience that is not to be missed. The bells began ringing in 1830, and they are the oldest bells of their kind in Canada. They were forged by Whitechapel Bell Foundry, the same London foundry that made Big Ben and the Liberty Bell. The Quebec City Guild of Change Ringers, a team of 8 people, is required to ring all eight of the heavy bells. For the full effect, visit on special occasions like Christmas, New Year’s Day, and Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day.

How to Visit

Over 150,000 people visit the cathedral each year, and there are several types of tours available. The public is welcome to take free, self-guided tours any time the cathedral is open, mid-May through mid-November, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Guided tours are available for $6 mid-May through mid-November, Monday – Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and on Sundays from 12:30pm to 16:30 p.m. It is also possible to arrange a group tour any time of the year with a reservation.

Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré Basilica

This cathedral is 19 miles outside of Quebec City, and according to over a million and a half visitors each year, it’s worth the trip. According to the Catholic Church, Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré Basilica is said to be the place of many healings and miracles in its 350 year history. It is one of the only 5 national shrines in Canada, and is one of the oldest pilgrimage destinations in North America.

The cathedral’s soaring towers can be seen for miles around. They stand above the St. Anne’s Fountain, near the site where a crippled man was said to be healed by placing three stones in the church’s foundation. The fountain was installed in 2008 as part of the 350 year anniversary celebration of the cathedral. Another unique site is the “Scala Santa”, a staircase that is an exact replica of the Scala Santa in Rome that Jesus ascended to meet Pilate.

Standout Experience

There is nothing like this cathedral’s basilica anywhere else in the world. The Romanesque Revival cathedrals historic basilica will leave you amazed. The roof rises 100 meters into the air, and it is decorated everywhere you look with stained glass windows. There are over 240 stained glass pieces depicting an incredible array of scenes and stories. The basilica’s copper doors were created by the artist Albert Gilles, and the sanctuary itself is filled with additional sculptures and paintings dating back centuries.

How to Visit

The public and pilgrims are always welcome to the cathedral, located at 10018 Ave Royale, Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré, QC G0A 3C0, Canada. You can visit the Basilica, Shrine Store, Information Center, and other chapels and shrines year round, 8:00 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. The information center is open July through May, and the Monestary’s Reception Desk is open year-round to answer visitors questions..

Any trip to Quebec is greatly enhanced by taking a tour of the city’s magnificent cathedrals. They are an intimate part of Quebec City and the surrounding area, tying visitors to the past with their architecture, craftsmanship. Canada is an an amazing country to visit and full of surprises, and the cathedrals of Quebec will take truly your breath away.

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