Attractions to discover, March 15, 2021 (Revised on February 23, 2023) 2021-03-15
Saint-Joseph's Oratory of Mount Royal
Saint Joseph's Oratory of Mount Royal, photo credit: Nathalie Dumas

Many of the major churches in Quebec are known for their unrivalled acoustics, impressive organs or talented choirs. These sites transform into the perfect venues for listening to Gregorian chants, a gospel show or a concert of classical sacred music. For an extraordinary musical experience, have a look at these suggestions from the Quebec Religious and Spiritual Tourism Association.

Montreal, the city of a hundred bell towers

Religious heritage is one of the key features highlighted by Tourisme Montréal. The city’s most beautiful places of worship of all faiths can be found in just a few clicks. When planning a trip, it’s easy to include a concert of sacred music to your itinerary, no matter which part of Montreal you find yourself in.

Three musical expressions under one roof

Standing on Mount Royal, Saint Joseph’s Oratory offers three options for music lovers. First of all, there’s the great Beckerath organ in the basilica, the focal point of concerts presented by the titular organist, Vincent Boucher, along with special guests. The Oratory is also home to the Petits chanteurs du Mont-Royal, a choir of 210 young boys. The choir’s repertoire extends from Gregorian chants to contemporary vocal pieces. Finally there are carillon recitals! These daily performances are given by titular carillonist Andrée-Anne Doane.

Where history resonates

A visit to Old Montreal wouldn’t be complete without a stop at the Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours Chapel. Not only is it a site steeped in history, but this chapel also has a characteristic vault that produces exceptional sound quality. The beautiful music heard in the chapel is only enhanced by the rich frescoes that adorn the vault. This chapel, Montreal’s oldest, hosts several musical productions, including the famous Choralies held in December, as well as organ concerts of rich sounds and textures.

Musically inclined religious sites in Montreal

Built in 1865, the Église du Gesù is known for its Casavant/Guilbault-Thérien organ, which dominates the rood beam. It is used to play baroque, romantic and modern styles of music. The exceptional acoustics at the Gesù support the organ’s vibrant, full, majestic sound. The calendar of events reflects the diversity of styles showcased through the concerts there.

The neo-Gothic Christ Church Cathedral is located in Montreal’s Phillips Square. It is home to one of Montreal’s and Canada’s leading liturgical choirs, whose repertoire consists of some 500 pieces of Christian music. The cathedral also offers a regular program of free concerts and various events.

Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours Chapel
Photo credit: Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours Chapel

Two organs under one roof in Old Québec City

The music program at Holy Trinity Cathedral consists of classical concerts as well as organ and choir music. Titular organist Benjamin Waterhouse knows how to extract the most beautiful sounds from the 1790 chamber organ and the 1885 gallery organ. The cathedral also has a choir that accompanies Sunday worship and on many special days throughout the year.

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