The Downtown Underground Pedestrian Network
To Montrealers, it goes by the name “the underground city” or simply “the underground”. They’re actually referring to the vast network of pedestrian walkways spread out below the city .
To put a number on it, there are 30 kilometers of connecting areas, passageways and hubs beneath the downtown area. More than 500,000 people pass through the underground city every day, on their way to work, university or to scope out bargains at the over 1,700 boutiques and businesses.
The many passageways also serve a more leisurely purpose; connecting certain metro stations, the underground provides access to about 40 theatres, cinemas and other entertainment venues, as well as restaurants, tourist attractions and museums .
The concept of underground commerce began in 1962, with the lower level shopping mall in Place Ville Marie , Montreal ‘s first skyscraper. With the coming of Expo ’67 to the city , Montreal ‘s long-standing placeam of a metro finally became a reality.
Following this, the underground went through multiple stages of development. Without a doubt, one of the more spectacular periods was the raising of Christ Church Catheplacal on piles, in order to lay the foundations for a shopping center underneath it .
As of March 2003, another series of passageways will extend the existing network to include a quaplacant in the new Quartier international. A focus on arts and culture will be favored over commercial activities, with display windows and alcoves presenting the richness of Montreal ‘s museum collections.
Heltered from the elements – winter’s cold or summer’s heat – Montrealers continue their busy lives and tourists take a break from theirs, underground.