Mission | Notre-Dame-des-Neiges Cemetery in Montreal

Our Mission

Image credit : Mathieu Dupuis

A Unique Cemetery Dedicated to Families

Founded in 1854, Notre-Dame-des-Neiges is a Catholic cemetery open to all faiths. It ensures that nearly one million deceased rest in respect and dignity, provides comfort and serenity, and offers a spiritual space where grieving families can reflect. Under the authority of La Fabrique de la paroisse Notre-Dame de Montréal, a non-profit organization (NPO), it offers a range of goods and services to help bereaved families pay a fitting tribute to their loved ones.

Its exceptional natural environment on Mount Royal, its status as a Canadian National Historic Site and its collection of funerary art make it a unique place of contemplation in Montréal and an essential witness to our society’s history.

The cemetery manages its activities in such a way as to maintain financial integrity and meet its long-term obligations in order to ensure its development and sustainability. Its staff offers a compassionate and professional welcome and support.

A Word from the Pastor

Welcome to the Notre-Dame-des-Neiges Cemetery website.

What remains of those we have loved? What remains of those we have known? Perhaps the memory of a given moment. Perhaps the memory of a face. We miss them and need a place to gather and celebrate their lives and their memory. We need something of their individual stories to remain. We need to keep track of them, and to do that we need a place to let our remembrance rest. Notre-Dame-des-Neiges Cemetery offers you such a place.

Since its founding in 1854, the history of Notre-Dame-des-Neiges Cemetery has been closely linked to that of Montréal and of all those who have gone before us. Our cemetery bears witness to the cultural diversity and Catholic origins of the city’s foundation: the dates and names that have forged our history are engraved on its monuments.

Notre-Dame-des-Neiges is the largest cemetery in Canada. Our field teams ensure that managing its 341 acres of land does not interfere with the peacefulness of the area, which we are committed to preserving. This causes major challenges on a daily basis as we work to ensure a peaceful environment for the loved ones of nearly one million deceased, while taking into account our status as a heritage site, our lush wildlife and vegetation, and our development activities to welcome future generations.

To fulfill our mission, we have committed employees who welcome families with respect and compassion. We also have priests who can help you through the difficult stage of grief. Do not hesitate to ask to meet them. After the funeral, we continue to think of you. Accordingly, every first Saturday of the month, during memorial Masses, we pay tribute to your loved ones in the magnificent Notre-Dame-de-la-Résurrection Chapel.

I believe in the resurrection of the body and life everlasting. Christ is truly risen. I know that death will transform our bodies, but I believe and hope that our lives will find their fullness in God.

May God Our Father give you grace and peace.


Miguel Castellanos, Pastor, PSS

Chair of the Board of Directors of La Fabrique de la paroisse Notre-Dame de Montréal

Where does the name Notre-Dame-des-Neiges come from?

Notre-Dame-des-Neiges is French for Our Lady of the Snows. A medieval legend has it that in Rome on the night of August 4-5, 356 AD, the Virgin appeared in a dream to Pope Liberius and the wealthy nobleman Giovanni, inviting them to erect a building in her honour.

The place where the shrine was to be built would be indicated to them the next day by a snowfall. The Pope and Giovanni Patrizio conferred and were amazed to find that, despite the season, snow had fallen on the Esquiline, one of the seven hills surrounding Rome. The Pope drew up the plan and the nobleman financed the construction of the first basilica.

This story and the following one were taken from an article published in the Betharram parish newsletter, a place of pilgrimage on the Gave de Pau river in the French Pyrenees.

Also in Rome, in 432, a year after the Council of Ephesus, which proclaimed that Christ was both divine and human and gave the title of Mother of God to Mary, Pope Sixtus made a gesture that deserves our attention—he dedicated the Our Lady of the Snows Basilica to Mary, Mother of God.

On this site now stands the Basilica of Saint Mary Major, one of the four basilicas in Rome that received the title of major (along with Saint John Lateran, Saint Paul Outside the Walls, and Saint Peter’s in the Vatican) and enjoys the privilege of extraterritoriality conferred by the Lateran Treaty in 1929. In the Roman calendar, Our Lady of the Snows is celebrated on August 5, the day of the dedication of the Basilica of Saint Mary Major.

  • Interment and burial
  • Interment in a crypt or columbarium
  • Commemoration
  • Funeral Prearrangements
  • Cremation
  • Eco-Friendly Options
Interment and burial

Thanks to its exceptional location on Mount Royal, Notre-Dame-des-Neiges Cemetery has a large surface area that allows it to offer many plots even today.

Interment in a crypt or columbarium

Interment in a columbarium allows the insertion of an urn in a niche; burial in a crypt allows the insertion of a coffin in a dedicated space in a mausoleum.

Commemoration

Because we know that your loved ones are not forgotten, we offer several memorial services and items to honor their memory.

Funeral Prearrangements

Funeral prearrangements allow you to plan your final wishes while you are alive, and to ensure that they are respected at the time of your death.

Cremation

Cremation is now chosen by nearly 75% of Quebecers. There are many reasons to choose this option, including its simplicity and the possibilities it offers.

Eco-Friendly Options

Inspired by the nature of Mount Royal, we have developed eco-friendly options to allow people to make their final gesture kind to the planet.