Nestled on the southern bank of the beautiful river of Ottawa in southern Ontario, Ottawa is a fascinating city that attracts thousands of travelers every year and leaves them in awe! Being Canada’s capital, Ottawa has always been on the bucket list of every nomad. Besides being known for its rich culture, world-class museums, galleries, shopping arcades, and upscale restaurants, Ottawa also houses some of the best churches in the world. Below is a list of some of the best churches in Ottawa that are worth visiting on your trip.
11 Best Churches In Ottawa
Religious or not, you must check out these architecturally incredible and famous churches in Ottawa on your trip to Canada.
1. Notre Dame Cathedral Basilica
2. Christ Church Cathedral
3. Saint Patrick’s Basilica
4. Sainte-Anne Catholic Church
5. The Church Of Saint John The Evangelist
6. St. Alban’s Anglican Church
7. Knox Presbyterian Church
8. St. Bartholomew’s Anglican Church
9. St. Paul’s-Eastern United Church
10. First Baptist Church
11. Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church
- Notre Dame Cathedral Basilica
Titled as a National Historic Site of Canada, this church is among the largest and oldest standing church in the nation’s capital. This epitome of Canadian religious art is a perfect place to drop in for moments of quiet prayer and meditation. From spellbinding painted walls and carved features, to finely done stained glass windows, dazzling indigo ceiling with shining stars, to hundreds of religious figurines, this church is truly magical in every way.
Around 30 wooden sculptures can be found at the end of the Choir, which was sculpted by the great sculptor Louis-Philippe Hébert. This among the famous churches in Ottawa is an ideal place to find solace and peace of mind.
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- Christ Church Cathedral
Settled in the northwest part, this church is among the most prominent and oldest churches in Ottawa. Illustrating Cathedral’s rich historic heritage, this renowned Anglican Cathedral is a key attraction of Doors Open Ottawa, an event held annually in June. One can find historic artworks including the Diocese of Ottawa Archives here.
It’s stained-glass windows, prayer books, pipe organ, and various other elements contain many inscriptions and dedications. If you are in Ottawa and want to immerse yourself in the glory of God, then this humble and tranquil church is a good choice to go for.
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- Saint Patrick’s Basilica
Established in 1855, this Roman Catholic Church is situated in 281 Nepean Street in Downtown Ottawa, which is one of the oldest churches in Ottawa catering to the English-speaking community. Designed with local stones in Gothic Revival Style, this church has a carved as well as a stenciled ceiling, few marble altars, plenty of stained glass windows, and prominent oak pews. The walls are embellished with some magnificent paintings created by Guido Nincheri.
Having double aisles along with a short transept, this charming cathedral comes with a capacity of over 1000 people. Also, a list of parishioners who died in World War I and World War II are positioned at the main entrance. Furthermore, in 2009, it had won the prestigious North American Copper in Architecture Awards (NACIA) in the Historical Restoration division.
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- Sainte-Anne Catholic Church
Designed by the renowned architect J.P. Lecourt, Sainte-Anne Catholic Church remains an ideal example of traditional Québécois architecture left in the entire city. Situated at Old St. Patrick Street in Ottawa’s Lower Town, this among the oldest churches in Ottawa spectacular with a gorgeous plain stone facade and a medieval-inspired rose window.
Ornamented with classy doors, windows and three statuary niches adorned with classical rounded arches, this architectural marvel is must-visit. In 1978, the City of Ottawa marked this church under Part IV of the Ontario Heritage Act as a major heritage property. Sainte-Anne is the home of St. Clement Parish, a bilingual parish community that offers Mass and the Sacraments every day in a Latin.
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- The Church Of Saint John The Evangelist
This splendid piece of art and architecture is one of the best churches in Ottawa. Extremely serene, this Anglican church has been named in the reverence of John the Evangelist. Its exclusive interior design is impressively accoutred in wood with stained-glass windows and the outer walls are made of stones and bricks. Each window of this church tells a tale about the mystery and glory of the life of Christ. The church is also used to host different events, art fests, concerts, and even political meetings are held here. Also, this church strongly supports the participation of gay population.
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- St. Alban’s Anglican Church
Being one of the oldest churches in Ottawa, this Anglican church, is situated in the Sandy Hill neighborhood of Ottawa. Named after the first British Christian Martyr St. Alban, the church has Municipal designation under the Ontario Heritage Act, Section 29. This remarkable church is finely carved in Gothic Revival Style. Various heritage-defining elements were used like random rubble limestone walls, bell-cote and dressed limestone quoins, pointed-arch window in the sanctuary with geometric tracery, Irish cross at the peak of the vestry roof, pressed metal gable roof and heavy limestone buttresses, and proximity to other historic buildings.
This cathedral has witnessed prime activities like hosting the Ottawa Open Table event, a free monthly meal for students and young adults; participating in the city-wide Big Give, and an annual series of free pop-up stores.
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- Knox Presbyterian Church
Simply attractive, this Presbyterian Church is named in honor of John Knox, a founder of Presbyterianism in Scotland. This impressive piece of art is an amalgamation of English Gothic and Norman Church architecture. Adorned by soaring columns and different marble and stone materials, and two stained glass windows, the sanctuary is considered as one of the most famous churches in Ottawa.
The original Knox Church was built in 1845 by Donald Kennedy, which was situated in Sandy Hill. Then, again in 1972, the second Knox Church was built on the famed Elgin Street right next to the Second City Hall, which was crafted by Henry Langley. But, it was demolished in 1932, and finally, the present Knox Church was built at Lisgar Street in 1933. Designed by the renowned architecture of Canada, John Albert Ewart, and Henry Sproatt.
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- St. Bartholomew’s Anglican Church
The opulent interior of this wonderful church is absolutely a feast for the eyes. Settled on MacKay Street, in the New Edinburg, this cathedral is one of the most famous churches in Ottawa. This unique piece of architecture was constructed in the mid-19th century and serves the surrounding neighborhoods. Banners speaking about the community’s history are set up inside and the small stained glass windows paying tribute to the parishioners will grab your attention.
The walls of the sanctuary are embellished with plaques of congregation members, who contributed to the First World War. The pulpit area with a seemingly daunting lectern serves as a memorial to the three parishioners martyred in the Boer War.
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- St. Paul’s-Eastern United Church
Considered as one of the oldest congregations in Ottawa, this stone Romanesque church building is nestled in the city center of Ottawa. Situated near to the University of Ottawa, on the corner of Daly and Cumberland Streets, this cathedral was constructed from 1888 to 1889 by the architect S.R. Badgley, architect for St. Paul’s Presbyterian Church.
This artistic production was built on sand and originally had a steeple, which started to sink into the ground. Therefore, the steeple was removed, leaving the building as a relevantly stone structure. The church got its name after the merging of St. Paul’s with the nearby Eastern Methodist Church. Among the most famous churches in Ottawa, this cathedral is also one of them, where one can relax and pray peacefully.
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- First Baptist Church
Designated as a civic historic building in 1985, this prime Baptist church in Ottawa is a part of the Canadian Baptist of Ontario and Quebec Union. Being one of the most famous churches in Ottawa, it resembles the Gothic Revival style, which was designed by architect James Mather. The resplendent interior of this cathedral is a marvel to see. The sanctuary is decorated with two splendid stained glass windows- one with an Ottawa Valley theme.
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- Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church
Nestled in the Glebe neighborhood of Ottawa, this cathedral is a Catholic Church, which later won the accolade for its extraordinary modern design. Designed by John Gibb Morton, this current cathedral was established in 1931 and is crafted in Perpendicular Gothic Style. In memory of parishioners and soldiers of the military forces of Canada, a brass memorial tablet was installed by the Blessed Sacrament parish. On Christmas 1946, a memorial organ was dedicated to the memory of the three parishioners who had died in World War II. Being one of the oldest churches in Ottawa, one can witness the wonderful artwork in this cathedral.
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We have listed the oldest churches in Ottawa where you can witness marvelous pieces of architecture and indulge in a deep spiritual connection with God. If you have planned a trip to Canada already, do include these incredible churches and holy sanctums in your list at once!
Frequently Asked Questions About The Churches In Ottawa
What is the oldest and largest church in Ottawa?
Notre-Dame Cathedral Basilica is the oldest as well as the biggest church in Ottawa and is also a National Historic Site of Canada.
What is special about Ottawa?
Ottawa is famous for its museums, churches, and of course, the Canadian Tulip Festival held here every year in the month of May.
Is Ottawa a safe city?
As per a recent survey, Ottawa has been voted amongst the top five safest Canadian cities.