The Notre-Dame Cathedral Basilica is a Minor basilica in Ottawa, Canada located
on 385 Sussex Drive in the Lower Town neighbourhood. It was designated a
National Historic Site of Canada.
The first plan dates from 1839. The
work on the building's structure was conducted between 1841 and 1865, and the
interior ornamentation, from 1876 to 1885. Missionnaries on temporary postings
initiated the actual construction. It was only after the arrival of the Oblate
Fathers in 1844 that the work proceeded on a regular basis.
is the oldest and largest church in Ottawa and the seat of the city's Roman
Catholic archbishop. Its twin spires and gilded Madonna are easily identifiable
from nearby Parliament Hill and the surrounding area.
The most surprising
and fascinating aspect of this sanctuary is the richness of its Gothic
ornamentation and the originality of its iconographic programme. It is in
studying the decoration and especially the sculptures of the sanctuary that the
spirit of Canon Bouillon's utmost creativity becomes evident. Strongly inspired
by a long medieval tradition and influenced by the neo-Gothic movement, this
iconography is at once complex yet coherent, traditional yet innovative,
symbolic yet largely accessible.
Today the spaciousness, majesty, and
sacred character of the interior of this cathedral strike the visitor just as
they did a hundred years ago. In the reigning dimness, one soon makes out the
long, narrow, and high central nave, with its line of imposing Gothic arches
running from the entrance all the way to the main altar.