Cathedral-Basilica of Notre-Dame de Québec
History and museums
The Cathedral-Basilica of Notre-Dame de Québec ("Our Lady of Quebec City"), located at 16, rue de Buade, Quebec City, Quebec, is the primatial church of Canada and the seat of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Quebec, the oldest in the Americas north of the Spanish colonies in Florida and New Mexico. It is also the parish church of the oldest North American parish north of Mexico and was the first north of Mexico to be elevated to the rank of minor basilica, by Pope Pius IX in 1874. It is a National Historic Site of Canada, and located within the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Historic District of Old Québec.
Located on this site since 1647, the cathedral has twice been destroyed by fire throughout the centuries.
A previous iteration of the church was destroyed during the Siege of Quebec in 1759. It was rebuilt from plans by Gaspard-Joseph Chaussegros de Léry draughted in 1743. The belltower, however, was designed by Jean Baillairgé, who also oversaw construction. The interior was designed by Jean Baillairgé and his son François from 1786–1822. In 1843, François' son, Thomas, suggested a reconstruction of the façade to resemble the church of Sainte-Geneviève in Paris, resulting in the finest Neo-classic façade in Québec. The cathedral was richly decorated with impressive works of art: baldaquin, canopy, episcopal throne dais, stained glass windows, paintings, and chancel lamp (a gift of Louis XIV).
In 1922 the church was again gutted by fire, and restored by architects Maxime Roisin and Raoul Chenevert. Raoul Chenevert added a presbytery beside the Cathedral in 1931-32
In 2014 the cathedral celebrated its 350th anniversary. As part of the celebrations, a holy door was constructed—the first outside Europe and only the seventh in the world. The holy door was opened on December 8, 2013 and remained open until December 28, 2014, after which it was sealed until 2025.
The cathedral was designated as a national historic site of Canada in 1989 because:
of its long and close associations with the history of New France; its influence on subsequent ecclesiastical architecture and interior decoration in Québec.
Four governors of New France and the bishops of Quebec are buried in the crypt, including François de Laval, Quebec's first bishop.