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Notre-Dame Basilica, Montréal © TQ/P. Mastrovito

Churches and religious sites

Since the earliest days of New France in the 17th century, religion and public demonstrations of faith have been a vital aspect of Québec society. 

The conversion of the Amerindians and the spread of Catholicism throughout North America played a key role in the growth of this initially French and later British colony. Today, this centuries-old tradition is reflected in numerous places of worship, the guardians of Québec’s religious and cultural heritage.

The Notre-Dame Basilica of Montréal has one of the most impressive organs, with 92 stops and 7,000 pipes. The Anglican Cathedral of the Holy Trinity in Québec City, in turn, has one of the oldest: a small English instrument dating back to the late 18th century.

Many small museums run by religious orders offer insights into the early days of French colonial America. This is certainly the case with the Ursuline museums in Québec City and Trois-Rivières as well as the Musée des Hospitalières de l’Hôtel-Dieu in Montréal.

Outside the big cities, monasteries and abbeys like the splendid Benedictine abbey at Saint-Benoît-du-Lac on the shores of Lake Memphremagog have long been havens of quiet contemplation, making them popular with visitors.

Benedictine abbey at Saint-Benoît-du-Lac © TQ/J.-F. Hamelin