Saint-Joseph Basilica

detail of the façade

Sources: Photo: City of Edmonton Archives EA-596-284

Original Plans for the Basilica

Photo: Unbuilt Projects 

The congregation had established a building committee in January 1924. The first drawings like this one were done by thenarchitect Edward Underwood. Unfortunately, due first to the Great Depression and then to World War II, the work was not completed. When work resumed in 1957, the funds available did not allow for such ambitious plans. Architects Henri Labelle of Montreal and Eugene Oleksky completed the work in 1963.

Text version of the audio

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. 

Extract of
Francophone Heritage in Edmonton

Francophone Heritage in Edmonton image circuit

Presented by : Conseil de développement économique de l'Alberta (CDÉA)

Get There

Download the BaladoDiscovery app (for Android and iOS) and access the largest network of self-guided tour experiences in Canada.