9. Religious Buildings

St. Joseph’s Oratory: Basilica

The largest church in Canada, St. Joseph’s Oratory, constructed from the 1910s to 1960s, has an Italian Renaissance exterior, but inside an ecclesiastical variant of Art Deco predominates. Its central basilica, designed in the 1930s by French architect-monk Dom Paul Bellot, features concrete canted arches and an octagonal dome.

St. Joseph’s Oratory: Artwork

Artwork there includes bas-relief Stations of the Cross by French sculptor Roger de Villiers and wooden statues of the 12 Apostles by French artist Henri Charlier with elongated and flattened features, purportedly inspired by the Moai figures of Easter Island. This adaptation fits well with Art Deco’s stylized, linear character.

Chevra Kadisha Synagogue (now Ukrainian National Federation Montreal Branch)

Other examples of sacred Art Deco include two synagogues: Chevra Kadisha (1929), altered by architect J. Melville Miller from a 1907 Romanesque church design, and Beth Moishe (1952), which despite its Modernist building design, has quintessentially Art Deco reliefs of Jewish themes by the ubiquitous Joseph Guardo.

Beth Moishe Synagogue (now Congregation Toldos Yakov Yosef of Skver): Bas-reliefs

Two Catholic schools by architect Eugène Larose stand out for different reasons: brickwork at the Cherrier (1932) and reliefs at Notre Dame de la Defense (1933).

Cherrier School (now Espace-Jeunesse School)

Notre Dame de la Defense School (now La Petite Patrie School): Bas-reliefs