Tuesday, September 15, 2009

I <3 Montreal: New Religion

Kids always want what they don't have, which is why I hankered after athiest parents and my kid wants to check out church on her vacation. Enter L'Oratoire St. Joseph.

Built on the crest of Mount Royal (this century!?), the basilica is one of the grandest I've ever been in. And I've seen every church going in Western Europe. Just read online that the dome is the 3rd largest in all the world.

Legendary healer priest, Father Andre, seems to have been the premier fundraiser of the 20th century. He started with a tiny chapel and, after restoring thousands of sick believers to health (in the name of God, of course), he had the means to build with opulence of the sort that I only associate with Catholicsm.

We had to line up for a view of Father Andre's preserved heart in a fancy jar, something that both horrified and thrilled M. We had to wait for her to look at it 4 times... She also lit a candle in the special candle hall in memory of our dog, who died when she was three.

After a while, we left the church for my kind of religious experience - a trip along the summit of the Mountain in what I consider to be the world's best neighbourhood - Westmount. Every Canadian playah has a home here. Some manses are ludicrously close to the road (like peer in the windows close. Don't judge, you'd do it too...). Others are decked out in so many security systems you'd think the President lived there. Actually, most ex-Prime Ministers do live there.

This hood comes with the kind of view I lust over. I am mystified by its complicated-meets-utterly-simple beauty. Really, more than any cathedral, it is proof of the existence of God. (Note - more shots of the view to follow in another post...)

The Church:

Lovely view of the parking lot (and us, and the seminary behind us).

The centre staircase is for worshippers, who pray on their knees at each step.

Someday, this kid's going to look back and wished she'd occasionally combed her hair. Good thing she's cute anyway.

Yes, it really looks like this - in every freakin' direction!

These peeps are going for the Casa Loma look.

Look, rich people - they have kids who play basketball in the driveway! They're just like us!


  1. Beautiful post. We visited St. Joseph's last summer: Pilgrims on knees but no line to view the heart. Afterwards? Poutine!

  2. I wish I'd thought to climb into your suitcase for this trip. So much gorgeousness.

  3. This one made me smile—and laugh! Lots of good photos, and great comments. I think I'd skip the heart-in-a-jar exhibit, but I know Mr.OM would be right there, peering at it, just like that mussed little moppet you call a daughter! ;)

  4. Great photos, dear!!
    Never went to Montreal, but I wish I'll go one day.


  5. My kids would make the trip to Montreal just for the heart in a jar! We hunted down bits of saints all over Italy and France, the highlight being the shrunken head of St Catherine.
    Great photos!

  6. Ahh, memories! I used to work in Westmount; I'd walk right down Sherbrooke on nice mornings.

  7. What a beautiful view! And what a cute girl she is, indeed!

    Funny about the 'kids want what their parents don't give them'. I'm in for a lentil-hating, op-shop-avoiding popular type ;-)

  8. Beautiful architecture and scenery, breathtaking

  9. Your last line of this post was hilarious, "Look, rich people".

    Looks like a lovely day out. And M looks beautiful whether combed or not.

  10. I have missed so many of your posts! Goodness, how the hell have you been? I hang my head in shame = (

    The views... for a second I thought you were in France... lucky you to be where you are....

  11. I was happy with my atheist parents, though they sent me to a Christian school so I'd understand what religion was about.

    M looks so much like you!

  12. More beautiful photos. Your daughter is beautiful, even with uncombed hair. Watch it, she may just grow up to be someone who gets deliberately mussed hairstyles or she might outgrow it. I didn't (outgrow it that is).

  13. Tessa: Wasn't it an awesome place - so huge and imposing!

    Sal: We really hit the best weather ever, which helps of course.

    E: What is it with some people and the macabre? M loves everything gross or scary :-)

    Monkey: Thanks!

    Wendy: Good luck with that, people were all up in my space and I couldn't get a shot :-)

    Seeker: You and your sister have to take a trip there.

    Janet: Wow - the shrunken head. I don't remember that.

    D.: Well, we preserve them! :-)

    Miss C: What did you do there?

    Iris: Thank you (I take all the credit :-)) You just don't know what the future has in store - but you can guarantee it will surprise!

    Fashion Dreamer: Thanks!

    Bel: The thing is that these houses are beyond - and then they have little "normal" touches.

    April: How's it going with the house, honey??

    Imogen: How nice of them :-) People keep saying M looks like me but I don't see it!

    Mardel: Thank you! And thanks for putting it into perspective - apparently, many chic people don't feel the need to comb :-)