Imagine that around you there are only a few small houses, a dirt road with horses and carriages and, in front of you, a small wooden chapel. A few blocks away, beyond the houses of the neighborhood, you see the newly completed St. Joachim's Church, near the old Misericordia Hospital.
In the distance, imagine Fort Edmonton, where the Alberta Legislature is now located. This small wooden chapel is the humble ancestor of the seat of the Catholic Archdiocese of Edmonton, St. Joseph's Basilica.
Named to honor the work of Catholic missionaries and pioneers, with a spiritual designation that recognizes St. Joseph the Worker, this cathedral basilica began as a small chapel in 1877 and grew to become a crypt church in 1913.
Because the nearby St. Joachim's Church was already well filled for Masses, parishioners attended a basement church on 113th and Jasper until St. Joseph's was completed in 1963.
Honored with the designation of Minor Basilica by Pope John Paul II in 1984, it is the seat of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Edmonton and hosts many special events for the Catholic community. One of its ties to French Canada is its organ, built by the Casavant brothers of St. Hyacinthe, Quebec.