St Joseph's Oratory & Mont Royal

Trip Start Nov 04, 2011
Trip End Jul 27, 2012

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Flag of Canada  , Quebec,
Sunday, April 15, 2012

I had set my alarm for 8.30 this morning because I didn't want to sleep in, however I reset it to 9 when it went off because I was really enjoying my sleep!  Finally up and about and had some breakfast and then started thinking about the plan for the day.

I got on the computer and uploaded all my photos and video from the camera. Trish and I then swapped photos so we both had each others, incase we had good photos that the other hadn't taken.

Got dressed then we were ready to head out site seeing around lunch time. The weather had slowly gotten better over the morning, and was now quite blue and sunny. First on the agenda was to see Saint Joseph's Oratory, and so we bought ourselves day passes for the metro and caught the train to Cote Des Neiges station.

I was hungry so we went to St Hubert's and I got a chicken strips combo and ate this on the walk to the Oratory. Here we took lots of photos on our ascent up the hundreds of stairs to the top of the hill. It was warm enough to be able to walk around in just a T-shirt which was nice!

Saint Joseph's Oratory is one of the world's most visited centres of pilgrimage. Its founder, Saint Brother Andre (canonized in 2010), had started its construction in 1904. Comprising a stately building whose dome reaches 97 metres (second only in height to Saint Peter's Basilica in Rome), a small original chapel, a votive chapel, a crypt church, and a basilica that can accommodate over 2,200 people, this oratory dedicated to Saint Joseph contains many personal items (called ex-votos) left behind by pilgrims - like hundreds of walking canes. Its magnificent organs and its carillon composed of 56 bells give audible testament to the world's great composers.

At the top we entered through the main portico and saw the Basilica. We walked around inside and heard the organ being played. We were surprised at how modern the Basilica was inside. We made our way out the back of the church and found the chapel of Brother Andre. This tiny chapel was very cute and here we saw the room of Brother Andre above the chapel. The mood inside the chapel was very sombre.

We wandered back into the Basilica and found a pamphlet of the things to see at the Oratory. So we decided to see the crypt so went looking for this.  Instead we found a funny little building out the side which had lots of bells and there was a lady playing music with the bells. This was the Carillon.

Back inside the Oratory at a lower level and we saw the Votive Chapel, a huge hall with lots of candles, the tomb of Brother Andre, a big rock wall which it looked like people made offerings on, the Saint Joseph Oil and the Crypt Church.

It was getting late and Trish was keen to head to the holocaust museum, so we made our way back down the stairs. We didn't have very good maps, and thought about walking, but I had put the wrong address in my phone and it told us 30 mins so we decided to take the metro.  By the time we had made it to the right address there was only 15 minutes before the museum was due to close, so we took some pamphlets and decided to come back another time.

Here we got back on the metro and headed to the University of Montreal campus. We could see the campus from a distance from the bottom of the hill near the station and it looked massive!  The Université de Montréal, founded in 1878, the Université de Montréal now contains 13 faculties. Together with its two affiliated schools, it represents one of North America's largest educational centres, ranking first in Québec and second in Canada for higher education and research. Its main Art Deco-style building, designed by Ernest Cormier, was completed in 1943.

We considered walking to the cemeteries at Mont Royal however our lack of maps again was a problem. So we caught the metro all the way around to Mont Royal station where we caught the number 11 bus over the top of the mountain. We got off once to take pictures at a lookout. The day had gone overcast again so it wasn't very nice, and there were so many hoons there with their cars and tunes. The local hangout!

The bus trip took us over Mont Royal past the cemeteries and then back again to Mont Royal station. Here we decided it was time to head home. So back to Place Des Arts station. A quick stop in at Tim Hortons to get a hot chocolate and a muffin for dessert.

We cooked chicken marylands for dinner with veggies, while waiting I had a shower and washed my hair.  We ate in front of the tv and relaxed before I headed to my room for a muffin and some French study.  Tried to catch up on some diary entries and then off to bed!
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