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Basilique Notre-Dame The most significant landmark of VieuxMontreal is this mammoth Gothic Revival undertaking designed by Irish architect James O’Donnell and built between 1824-9. This thriving Catholic church has a stunning medieval-style interior that features walnut-wood carvings, exquisite stainedglass windows, 24-carat gold stars in a vaulted blue ceiling, as well as one of the largest Casavant organs in North America.

La Citadelle Dramatically set atop Cap Diamant, this installation of 10 buildings is the largest military fortification in North America. Overlooking the St. Lawrence River, the site was begun by the French in 1750, but much of the striking star-shaped battlement seen today was constructed by the British between 1820 and 1850, built to defend the city from possible invasion from the United States, in the 19th century.

Biosphere Nothing captures the exuberance of Expo ‘67 better than the geodesic dome designed by Buckminster Fuller (1895–1983) as the American Pavilion. It’s only a skeleton


now—the polymer panels that protected the U.S. exhibits from the elements were burned out in a fire long ago—but it’s still an eye-catching sight, like something plucked from a science-fiction film.

Jardin Botanique (Botanical Garden) With 181 acres of plantings in summer and 10 greenhouses open all year, Space for Life Montréal’s Jardin Botanique is the second-largest attraction of its kind in the world (after England’s Kew Gardens). It grows more than 26,000 species of plants, and among its 30 thematic gardens are a rose garden, an alpine garden, and—a favorite with the kids—a poisonous-plant garden.

Oratorie St-Joseph (St-Josephi’s Oratory) The most devout Catholics climb the 99 steps to its front door on their knees. It is the world’s largest and most popular shrine dedicated to the earthly father of Jesus, and it’s all the work of a man named Brother André Besette (1845–1937).

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