Considered to be a place of history, Notre-Dame was designated as a place of national historic significance by the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada, in 1989. Since its foundation, the basilica has been the site of major religious and cultural events.

To name a few:

  • The funerals of Sir Georges Étienne Cartier in 1873, Pierre-Elliot Trudeau in October 2000, and Maurice Richard in 2001.
  • Pope John Paul II celebrated a mass for children on 11 September 1984.
  • Céline Dion and René Angélil were married there on December 17, 1994.

Since 1918, the annual commemorative festivities of the foundation of the city have been celebrated here, under the aegis of the Société historique de Montréal. On May 17, 2017, the Mass commemorating the city's 375th anniversary was held at the Basilica in the presence of many notable people, including the Prime Ministers of Canada, Justin Trudeau, and of Quebec, Philippe Couillard.

Being a place of culture, the Basilica is often frequented by music lovers who can enjoy concerts, choirs and the famous Casavant organ, thanks to its impeccable acoustics.

Luciano Pavarotti gave a Christmas concert at the Basilica in 1978. It is available everywhere in DVD, and also at the Basilica's boutique.

The active and innovative team at the Basilica initiated exhibitions and shows. One of sound and light Et la lumière fût was presented for ten years. Performances that have attracted 300 000 visitors.

Since March 2017, AURA, a Moment Factory production initiated by the Basilica, is presented six evenings a week. This unique luminous experience allows spectators to rediscover the breathtaking interior and architectural wonders of the Basilica.

As a tourism hotspot, the Basilica welcomes close to a million visitors from all over the world annually, unanimously enthralled by the beauty of the location, and who also have the opportunity to explore the religious history of Quebec.