This morning our tour bus left the campground at 8:25 and went over to the KOA Kampground to pick up some other passengers. Then we crossed the Jacques-Cartier Bridge onto the island and into the historic section of Montreal.
We made our first photo stop at St. Joseph's Oratory, which is situated on top of Mount Royal. It is one of the world's most visited shrines. Its huge dome reaches 97 metres and is second only in height to Saint Peter's Basilica in Rome. I wish we could have gone inside. We continued to Mount Royal Park for another photo stop. The view of Montreal from there was outstanding. I was very happy with the clear weather.
From here we went back into the historic section for a visit to the Notre Dame Basilica (www.basiliquenddm.org).. It is a masterpiece of Gothic Revival architecture. What an awesome sight! The parish dates back to the mid 1600s but this building was constructed from 1824-1829. The architect was James O'Donnell, an Irish Protestant from New York. He converted to Catholicism and died only a few months after the consecration of the church. The interior design, by architect Victor Bourgeau, was inspired largely by the Sainte-Chapelle in Paris. The stained-glass windows on the main floor depict scenes from Montreal's social and religious history. They were designed by Jean-Baptiste Lagace and made in Limoges, France.
Our next visit was to the Olympic Tower, where we rode a cable car to the observatory. From here we had even more spectacular views of the city. The tower leans at about a 30-degree angle. Next door to the Tower is the Biodome, which reproduces four ecosystems from the Americas: Laurentian Forest, Tropical Rainforest, St. Lawrence Marine ecosystem and Polar World. Although not very large, it is interesting.
Our visit to the Botanical Gardens was a real treat. It ranks second in importance worldwide, after Kew Gardens in England. I wish we could have stayed there all day. I saw only the Chinese, Japanese and First Nations gardens and just breezed quickly through the Insectarium.
This was a very good day and I hated to see it end.