In 1904, Brother André (Alfred Bessette) began the construction of a small chapel on the side of the mountain near Notre Dame College. Soon, it became much too small. Even though it was enlarged, in 1917, a church, called the crypt, with a seating capacity of 1,000 places was built. Later, in 1924, the construction of the basilica was inaugurated and it was finally completed in 1967.
The basilica is dedicated to Saint Joseph of Nazareth, to whom Brother André credited all his supposed miracles. Its dome is the second-largest of its kind in the world after Saint Peter's Basilica in Rome, and the church is the largest in Canada.