First Nation, Métis and Inuit religions in Canada vary widely and consist of complex social and cultural customs for addressing the sacred and the supernatural. The influence of Christianity — through settlers, missionaries and government policy — significantly altered life for Indigenous peoples. In some communities, this resulted in hybridized religious practices; while in others, European religion replaced traditional spiritual practices entirely. Though historically suppressed by colonial administrators and missionaries, especially from the late 19th- to mid-20th centuries, many contemporary Indigenous communities have revived, or continue to practice, traditional spirituality.
Easter is the Christian celebration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ on the third day after his crucifixion, which is marked on Good Friday. Canadians commonly refer to Easter as the period from Good Friday through Easter Monday. Good Friday (and /or Easter Monday) is a statutory holiday in Canada.
The Institute of the Brothers of the Christian Schools is a Catholic religious order founded by Jean-Baptiste de La Salle in France in 1680. In Canada, members are generally referred to as Christian Brothers or De La Salle Brothers. They are not to be confused with the Congregation of Christian Brothers who were founded by Edmund Rice in Ireland in 1802 and whose members in Canada were also called Christian Brothers or Irish Christian Brothers. The Brothers of the Christian Schools were a major force in Catholic education in Canada, especially in Quebec. They first arrived in Montreal in 1837, then experienced numeric growth, geographic expansion and a solid reputation over the next 125 years. The Brothers underwent a significant exodus and decline in vocations with the dramatic religious and social changes spawned by the Second Vatican Council and the Quiet Revolution.
Each major religion practised in Canada has, in addition to its own system of beliefs, a way of marking the passage of time and celebrating sacred events. Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs, Jews, Christians and Muslims enrich the religious and cultural diversity of Canada. However, the integration of these celebrations and beliefs does not happen smoothly, and sometimes raises controversy.
Notre-Dame Basilica of Montréal is located at the intersection of Notre-Dame Street West and Saint-Sulpice Street in the borough of Ville-Marie in Montréal. This jewel of Québec’s religious heritage was built by the Sulpicians over the years 1824 to 1829, to serve as a parish church. It is one of the oldest examples of Gothic Revival religious architecture in Canada. At the time it was built, it was a daring, innovative edifice on a scale unequalled anywhere else in North America. The architect was James O’Donnell, an Irish immigrant to New York City. Its interior decor, which was overseen by Victor Bourgeau, along with its rich ornamentation, are unique and evoke a true sense of wonder in visitors. The Basilica is also one of the major tourist attractions in the city of Montréal.
Bible colleges, institutes and seminaries are mainly sponsored by the Evangelical Protestant churches in Canada, although there are several Roman Catholic institutions in Canada. One of the first lay colleges in North America was established by T. Dewitt Talmage in 1872, in a church in Brooklyn, New York.
The presence of Roman Catholic priests, lay brothers, and nuns among the first settlers in New France was an important factor in the development of the colony. The prime object was to convert the Indigenous people but the missionaries also looked after the spiritual needs of the colonists.
In New France as elsewhere the christianization of the Indigenous population was an ostensible motive for European occupation, and trading companies and governors were under official pressure to provide it. The actual work was left largely to religious orders and societies.