Traces. Places. Memories.

1950-…: Modernization

Another metamorphosis: A new downtown area rises up, with bungalows replacing the island’s countryside. Post-war dreams and turmoil were driving forces in Québec’s largest city. Montreal presented itself to the world at its 1967 World’s Fair. Montreal became Québec’s melting pot, at the heart of its tensions and its daring, setting the tone for the rest of the province.

I had the impression that cars populated the city long before people arrived, and that everything had been built around perpetual movement. Nothing seemed stable, definitive. A wandering city that only served to accentuate my insecurities as a wanderer.

Naïm Kattan, L'arrivée, 1965.


1967: Expo comes to Montreal

Montréal in Five Eras, 1950-2012: Explosions: The 1967 World’s Fair

In April 1967, Montreal was ready to welcome the first visitors to its World’s Fair. And there were lots of them! More than 50 million people entered the site over the course of the six-month event. Montreal went big: A new island was built in the river, l’Île Notre-Dame, and Île Sainte-Hélène was remodeled. This was done to accommodate pavilions from 62 countries, Canadian provinces, some American states, and themed and private pavilions, not to mention the La Ronde amusement park.

What’s left from this era?

The metro and the underground city

1950-2012: Explosions: The Metro and the Underground City

In 1962, Montreal began building the metro, but plans to do so had been around since 1910. Four years later, Montréal became the eighth city in North America to have an underground public transportation system. The initial network had 26 stations, while today there are four lines and 68 stations. The metro played an essential role in the development of the underground pedestrian network, which covers more than 30 km downtown.