Parks Canada

Parks Canada

October 16, 2005 12:00 ET

The Government of Canada Commemorates the National Historic Significance of the Church of Notre-Dame-De-La-Defense

MONTREAL, QUEBEC--(CCNMatthews - Oct. 16, 2005) - The Honourable Stephane Dion, Minister of the Environment and Minister responsible for Parks Canada, in the presence of the Honourable Marisa Feretti Barth, Senator, unveiled today a plaque from the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada commemorating the national historic significance of the Church of Notre-Dame-de-la-Defense, located in Montreal.

"The Church of Notre-Dame-de-la-Defense truly is the most representative example of the collective heritage of these Italian immigrants who came to Quebec and everywhere else in Canada," said Minister Dion. Its profound beauty reflects the immense talent and genius of Guido Nincheri, the artist who drew the plans and created its interior decoration. It is only appropriate that we commemorate this place, which is so significant in Canadian history."

Since its construction in 1918-1919, the Church of Notre-Dame-de-la-Defense has been closely associated with the Italian community in Canada, which was first established in Montreal in the 1860s. Artist Guido Nincheri both drew up the plans for the church and created its interior. The vaulted ceilings and walls are adorned with frescoes inspired by the Italian Renaissance and which depict a rich iconography of prominent Canadians and Italians from the period. The church's distinctive features make it a rare and eloquent witness to the Italian presence in the country.

"From the time of its arrival in the country, the Italian community has changed the face of Montreal, Quebec and Canada, its dynamic nature contributing to the creation of Montreal's cosmopolitan character. The Church of Notre-Dame-de-la-Defense is a precious emblem in the collective memory of Italian Canadians," added Senator Barth.

Created in 1919, the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada advises the Minister of the Environment about the national historic significance of places, people and events that have marked Canada's history. The placement of a commemorative plaque represents an official recognition of their historic value. It is one means of educating the public about the richness of our cultural heritage, which must be preserved for present and future generation.

(Also available on the Internet at under What's new.)

Contact Information

  • Office of the Minister of the Environment
    Brigitte Caron
    Press Secretary
    (819) 997-1441
    Parks Canada
    Odette Lachance
    Communications Advisor
    (418) 648-4167