Saint Patrick's Basilica is the oldest English speaking Catholic parish in Ottawa.
It was founded in 1855, although its development goes back much further.
Construction of the present Church began in 1868. The original architect
was Augustus Laver of the firm Fuller and Laver, architects of the East and West
blocks of the Parliament Buildings.
In the long course of constuction, the original plan was changed considerably.
In 1872, the cornerstone was blessed by Bishop Guigues, the first bishop of
Ottawa, and laid by Sir John A. Macdonald, the first Prime Minister of Canada.
In 1875, the as yet incomplete building was blessed by Archbishop Duhamel and named for
the patron saint of Ireland. The Irish have always played an important part in
Saint Patrick's parish and most of its pastors have been of Irish Descent.
In the beginning, Saint Patrick's looked after all the English-speaking Catholics
in Ottawa and across the river in Hull. Gradually, as the English Catholic
population increased, new parishes were established and the territory of
Saint Patrick's was reduced. Today it is a downtown parish in a neighbourhood
that is more business than residential.
Gothic in style, Saint Patrick's Basilica is made of local stone. It has double
aisles and a short transept. It seats a thousand people.