Church of St. Francis Xavier

Bassin, Quebec | C.1939

Photo Credit: Delphine Larose

In the Magdalen Islands of Quebec, the historic Church of Saint-Francois-Xavier has served the residents of Bassin since 1873. The village categorizes the church as a historic monument, and the building remains an integral part of the community today.

Bishop McIntyre, of the Charlottetown diocese of nearby Prince Edward Island, visited the Magdalen islands in 1865. While on his trip, he noticed that parishioners in the center of the island, later known as the village of Bassin, lacked a place to worship. On his instigation, the new church was inaugurated in 1873 and the parish was founded four years later.

The presbytery, with its multiple mansard roofs, remains one of the best examples of Second Empire architecture on the islands. However, the original church was struck by lightning and destroyed in 1936. Architect Jos E. Harris of Charlottetown designed the new church in Romanesque Revival style, and two local contractors, Augustin Cormier and Fred Bourgeois supervised the construction work. The new church, with its characteristic square towers,  opened in 1939. 

The current church, like the first, continues to occupy an important place in the heart of the village of Bassin. Along with the presbytery, the cemetery, the primary school and the credit union, it forms a characteristic ensemble of Quebec villages from the first half of the 20th century.

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