Discover Quebec’s treasures of sacred art
Attractions to discover, March 22, 2021 (Revised on February 17, 2023) 2021-03-22
Our Lady of the Cape Shrine
Our Lady of the Cape Shrine, photo credit: John Robert Bridges

Quebec’s places of worship and religious sites are renowned for the works of art they display, some of which date back to New France. Baillargé, Levasseur, Frère Luc and Ozias Leduc are just a few of the artists from Quebec and abroad whose works can be admired in the province’s chapels, churches, cathedrals and basilicas. Visitors can contemplate paintings, frescoes, sculptures and masterpieces of stained glass and goldsmithery in a quiet ambience. For destinations art lovers are sure to appreciate, have a look at these suggestions from the Quebec Religious and Spiritual Tourism Association.

Five shrines to discover along the Saint Lawrence

Located only one hour from Montreal, the Saint Lawrence River Shrines route will take you from Varennes to Kahnawake. As you follow the south shore of the St. Lawrence River, you will come upon five places of worship displaying a variety of architectural styles. Some are grandiose, others are more understated and older. Art lovers will be delighted to gaze at rich sculptures, paintings, goldsmith's work and splendid stained-glass windows. Since all these shrines have a story to tell, some of them have a museum.

A shrine and a Visual Arts Symposium

The second largest Marian shrine in North America, Our Lady of the Cape Shrine in Trois-Rivières was founded in 1888. The architecture of the basilica with its octagonal dome is impressive, as are the magnificent stained-glass windows that shine in the sunlight. Each year, the gardens of the shrine host the Visual Arts Symposium. It celebrates all forms of art produced by artists from across Quebec. This cultural event takes place in September and its free program of activities appeals to art lovers as well as the whole family.

Québec City: a region of must-see churches

Artists, each more talented than the last, have been creating works of sacred art for over 400 years in Quebec. The Québec City region has one basilica, two cathedrals, 130 churches and 20 chapels. These places of worship, in addition to being true architectural gems, contain stunning examples of goldsmithery, precious liturgical objects as well as sumptuous paintings and sculptures. The Québec City Tourism website has a section dedicated to religious heritage and offers several guided tours focused on beautiful art and architecture.

An ornate jewel and a Holy Door

The Basilica-Cathedral Notre-Dame de Québec is covered in ornamental details that are a delight to behold. Located in the heart of Old Québec City, this place of worship is known for its Holy Door. Inaugurated in 2013, the door was sculpted by Montreal artist Jules Lasalle. Since it remains closed except during holy years or jubilees, it can be admired from the outside, then from the inside by going into the room specially designed for meditation.

The Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré Shrine

Located 20 minutes from Québec City, the Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré Shrine has a rich collection of paintings, mosaics, stained-glass windows and stone and wood sculptures. In addition to the basilica, which houses a chapel and other beautifully decorated places for meditation, other noteworthy features are the "Scala Santa", the memorial chapel and the bronze cast iron Way of the Cross.

Basilique-Cathédrale Notre-Dame-de-Québec
Basilica-Cathedral Notre-Dame-de-Québec, photo credit: Daniel Abel

Admire the works of Ozias Leduc

A trip to the Montérégie region wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the Cathedral of Saint Hyacinthe. Its Neoclassical architecture includes twin Neogothic towers on the current facade. Inside are paintings by Ozias Leduc to admire, including “Le Père éternel” (The Eternal Father), as well as works by Joseph Uberti. You can also admire magnificent stained glass windows depicting symbols of the Eucharist.

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