expo 67 lounge

Mid-century fashion, vintage pop culture and retro cool... from Expo 67 and beyond.

4 December 2006

Montreal's Parisian Metro Portico

Mayor Jean Drapeau had always felt that Montreal had an affinity with the city of Paris.

Among his sillier plans was the idea of dismantling the Eiffel Tower (built for the 1889 Paris World Exhibition) and have it shipped off to Montreal to be rebuilt for the duration of it's own World Exhibition, Expo 67! [Small historical sidenote: it never happened...]

Engineers from the Parisian Metro system collaborated with the city of Montreal during the planning stages of it's subway system, in the early to mid 1960's.

On a trip to Paris for Metro-planning purposes, Mayor Drapeau noticed the dismantling of an Art Nouveau Metro portico and came up with an idea. He suggested that an entrance, designed by artist Hector Guimard in the late 1800's, be brought back to Montreal.

A little easier to ship than the Eiffel Tower, wouldn't you say...?

The idea was accepted and in 1967, the Regie Autonome des Transports Parisiens (RATP) donated an original Hector Guimard Metro entrance to the city of Montreal, in honor of their aforementioned collaboration.

The portico was installed at the Square-Victoria station, but Montreal building codes would not allow an entrance narrow enough to properly install it, thus making it impossible to put up the typical Metropolitain sign.

In 2003, with special permission to build a narrower stairwell, the Guimard entrance was completely restored to it's full Art Nouveau splendor.

Today, the Guimard entrance stands proudly at the St-Antoine exit of the Square-Victoria station. It is the jewel of the Montreal Metro art collection, and the centerpiece of the newly revitalized Quartier International.

To see the entire series of photos I took of it, click here.

photos: author's own

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Blogger Nanuk of the North, older but no wiser said...

Hey, you are in my work neighbourhood here.

I love this particular entrance to Square Victoria. As a little piece of Paris, I think it really works.

It's not quite like being in Paris over my lunch hour, but it will have to do.

11:35 am  
Blogger stinkypaw said...

Interesting history and great shots you took! Thanks for sharing!

11:46 pm  
Blogger Tom said...

It fits very nicely there.
It is the only one of this kind in the world to be outside of Paris!

4:23 am  

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