Mark Twain once said about Montreal that you can't throw a rock without breaking a stained glass window. At the time there were an incredible number of churches dotted around downtown Montreal. Many of them have since been demolished, although some were rebuilt elsewhere in town.
Why so many churches? Montreal has long been a multicultural and multiconfessional city. Practically every neighbourhood saw a need for parallel French and Irish Catholic churches and quite often churches for Anglican, United Church, Baptist and other Christian denominations too.
Another reason is the wide range of Catholic religious orders that put down roots here. At the end of the 19th century, Bishop Bourget invited a number of French religious communities to establish houses here in hope of reducing the religious monopoly long held by the powerful Sulpicians. Some churches were even built before having a parish assigned to them.