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History

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.

Former Pastors and Rectors
Fr. Siok
Father Richard Siok
(Rector 2009-2013)
Mgr. Martineau
Monsignor Robert Martineau
(Rector 1999-2009)

Mgr. Corkery
Monsignor David J. P. Corkery
(Pastor 1993-95, 1st Rector 1995-98 )

Mgr. French
Monsignor Francis French
(Pastor 1977-93)
Bishop Beahen
Bishop John M. Beahen
(Pastor 1969-77)

Bishop Windle
Bishop Joseph Raymond Windle
(Pastor 1961-69)

Mgr. Lesage
Monsignor J. Leo LeSage
(Pastor 1951-61)

Mgr. Prudhomme
Monsignor  George  David  Prudhomme
(Pastor 1939-51)

Mgr. Fitzgerald
Monsignor George Edward Fitzgerald
(Pastor 1922-39)

Fr. Whelan
Father Matthew J. Whelan
(Pastor 1881-1922)

Fr. O'Connor
Father John Lalor O'Connor
(Pastor 1877-81)

Fr. Collins
Father John Joseph Collins
(Pastor 1866-77)

Fr. McGrath
Father James McGrath, OMI
(Pastor 1861-66)

Fr. Dawson
Father Aeneas McDonnell Dawson
(Pastor 1855-61)

A complete history of St. Patrick's Basilica has been published in "Enduring Faith, A History of Saint Patrick's Basilica Parish, Ottawa 1855-2005", with many historical pictures and beautiful colour plates. This large hardcover book is available in the Gift Shop.
St.Patrick's Basilica crest