expo 67 lounge

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

14 October 2006

The Montreal Metro

The Montreal Metro system was officially inaugurated exactly 40 years ago today, on October 14th, 1966. It is on this day that Montreal became the 8th city in North America and the 26th in the world to have an underground transportation system.

The original Metro system had only 26 stations on 3 lines. Construction began in 1962 with the Green and Orange lines ready in 1966. The Yellow line, which brought passengers to Expo 67, was inaugurated on March 31, 1967, just before Expo opened.

The Metro was the most popular mode of transportation to Expo 67, and more visitors passed through the Île Sainte-Hélène metro station than the "official" main gate of Expo, Place d'Acceuil. Originally, there were plans for an Île Notre-Dame station, on Expo's other island, but the idea was abandoned due to technical difficulties.

The Île Sainte-Hélène station was originally equipped with washrooms and water fountains for Expo. The crowds were so dense during Expo 67 that, occasionally, the train was unable to stop at Île Sainte-Hélène, letting passengers off at Longueuil instead!

Our Metro has some differences to other subway lines in major cities. First, the Montreal subway runs on rubber tires instead of steel wheels. This necessitated the system to run entirely underground, due to the incompatibility of 1960's rubber tire technology with the harsh Montreal winters. Second, there is no air conditioning in the Metro, which can make summer travelling almost unbearable. And lastly, the metro system is not wheelchair accesible, which is a sore spot for accesibility advocates.

Montreal's Metro is renowned for it's architecture and public art. Mayor Jean Drapeau held design competitions for each station, ensuring that they all had a different look and feel.

The artwork featured in early stations were sponsored by patrons, while subsequent stations included art in their initial budgets. Artists worked in close collaboration with the architects of the stations to create a one of the most unique and beautiful subway systems of the world.

Since 1966, the Metro has carried over 6 billion passengers, which is equivalent to the world's population. Happy Birthday, Metro!

images: (1) internet.uqam.ca
(2) stm.info (3) wikipedia.org
(4-5-6) mic-ro.com

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Blogger mod*mom said...

love those orange + white seats!

12:56 am  
Blogger stinkypaw said...

My dad mined the tunnels of the Montreal metro when we first moved here - a minor from Chibougamau who came to town to do his thing!

2:42 pm  
Blogger Jason Stockl said...

That's totally cool, Stinky...

2:51 pm  

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