Breaking ground on the Oratory's extensive $75 million modernization project
On Friday, Saint-Joseph's Oratory started construction on the biggest overhaul of the facility in nearly a century.
Highlights of the $75 million project include better accessibility and a new observation point at the top of the dome.
Officials say the oratory is a major tourist draw and it's essential to modernize it.
“I see it as part of Montreal's heritage that's really where I'm concentrating the efforts and also the money we're investing just like we would be investing for example in the Old Port or in other places the Olympic stadium,” said Montreal Mayor Valerie Plante.
The makeover will include a new welcoming centre at street level, and add escalators and elevators.
The crowning glory, however, will be a new dome area.
“What's particular with the Oratory is people from all faiths and all countries they come here whether they are Buddhist, Hindus, Muslim, Christians, atheists - they come here because somehow they are attracted by this temple on the mountain,” added Christian Lepine, Archbishop of Montreal.