The 189 foot granite spire of St. Mary’s Cathedral Basilica is the unquestioned pinnacle of Spring Garden Road and the tallest in North America. The first Roman Catholic church – then named St. Peter’s – was built from wood in 1784 after Irish Catholics were granted freedom of religion. It was replaced with another in 1820 and then the current Gothic Revival structure in 1899. Pope Pius XII declared St. Mary’s to be a basilica in 1950. Over the altar is a magnificent stained-glass window of the Assumption of Mary into Heaven. Interestingly, none of the windows are original. They were all blown out during the Halifax Explosion of 1917.