St. Mary's Basilica (Halifax)

St. Mary's Cathedral Basilica is a Gothic Revival Catholic cathedral located in downtown Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. It is the cathedral church of the Archdiocese of Halifax and is the largest Catholic church in the Archdiocese. Consecrated on October 19, 1899, it was made a basilica in 1950 by Pope Pius XII. The St. Mary's Cathedral Basilica boasts the tallest granite spire in North America.

St. Mary's Basilica, Halifax
St. Mary's Basilica in 2016
44°38′40″N 63°34′23.69″W
Location1531 Spring Garden Road
Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
B3J 2B9
DenominationRoman Catholic
StatusCathedral, minor basilica
ConsecratedOctober 19, 1899
Functional statusActive
Architectural typeNorman-Gothic
ArchdioceseArchdiocese of Halifax
Official nameSt. Mary's Basilica National Historic Site of Canada
Official nameSt. Mary's Basilica
TypeProvincially Registered Property
DesignatedApril 4, 1984
Reference no.00PNS0025


The church has been significantly expanded and altered over time. Originally constructed of wood, it was replaced by a stone structure beginning in 1820 inspired (as were many churches of the day) by Saint Martin in the Fields in London.[1] It was expanded to its present size beginning in 1869, according to designs of Patrick Keely who introduced the Gothic Revival facade and spire. Besides the Gothic features, the spire also includes Norman and Germanic design elements.[1]

The facade and spire are notable for being built entirely of granite. All of the stone was locally obtained, except for the three portals which have a jamb shaft of pink Aberdeen granite. The spire has a height of 189 feet (58 m).

The basilica was designated a National Historic Site of Canada in 1997.[2]


St. Peter's Cemetery located to the west of St. Mary's Basilica is the oldest Catholic cemetery in Halifax, created when the original chapel was built at the site of the basilica in 1784. The St. Peter's Cemetery served as the main Catholic burial place in Halifax until 1843 when it was replaced by Holy Cross Cemetery in 1843.[3]

See also


  1. J. Philip McAleer, A Pictorial History of the Basilica of St. Mary, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Library of Canadian Architecture, Technical University of Nova Scotia, 1984 (unpaginated)
  2. St. Mary's Basilica. Canadian Register of Historic Places. Retrieved 15 April 2013.
  3. Gordon Douglas Pollock and Sharon Riel, “St. Peter's/St. Mary's Burial Registers”, Genealogical Association of Nova Scotia
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