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Vintage Montreal photos

Montreal has always been a special city with energy like no other. Old photos from Montreal's archives proves that this has been true for decades.

As someone who was born and raised in this city, I love seeing old photos of what our city was and how it came to what it is today. 

With so many amazing shots floating around, I decided to narrow it down to the 60’s, an era I have always been curious about and guys, Montreal looked really cool back in the day.

This was also the decade that Montreal tranformed into an international hub. From Expo '67, to the construction of the metro system, to the rise of the city's first skyscrapers, this was the period when the modern Montreal cityscape took shape.

From the vintage Orange Julep to the electric rue St-Hubert, some parts of our city are almost unrecognizable. Although the city has changed and evolved, one thing has remained the same: Montreal is a city with a lot of life, laughter and it is home to some of the most incredible people you will ever find.

Montreal Skyline

Archives de la Ville de Montréal

Montreal has grown and so has its skyline. Since the 60s, the number of skyscrapers in the city has multipled.

A rule restricting building height to that of Mount Royal has kept the skyline humble, though.

Boulevard René-Lévesque  

Archives de la Ville de Montreal

Did you know that René Lévesque used to be Boulevard Dorchester (and still is in Westmount)? This photo, which was taken in 1964, gives an aerial shot of the street.

As we all know, this street is one of the main thoroughfares in the downtown area and, as you can see from the recent photo below, glassy new developments have come to replace former concrete blocks.

Place des Arts

Archives de la Ville de Montréal

Place des Arts has grown a lot, as you can see from the photos. What was once a dense residential neighbourhood has become the cultural centre of the city.

The area is now a hub for businesspeople and the renovated look gives off a feel of being somewhere outside Montreal.

Parc Maisonneuve  

Archives de la ville de Montreal

This is the photo that dates back the latest on this list, taken in 1956. It was too cool not to share.

As you can see from the photo, Parc Maisonneuve used to be pretty epic. Even though I am sure that sliding down that hill in that tube had some safety issues, I do wish we were still able to do that.

Nowadays, you can enjoying grand views of the Olympic Stadium Tower, which was built two decades after the photo above was taken.

Old Port

Archives de la Ville de Montréal

In the 60s, the Old Port was still an active industrial landing, as you can see in the above photo. Today, it is primarily dedicated to recreation.

Despite its industrial past, the Old Port has and will always be one of the most gorgeous areas in our city.

Old Montreal is filled with history, restaurants and scenic views, and although it has changed a lot throughout the years, it is still just as charming.

Peel Metro Station  

Archives de la Ville de Montreal

Peel metro station is one of the most used stations in the city. Located in the heart of downtown Montreal, this metro station has seen a lot of history.

In the 1966 photo above, an artist pieces together one of the large works of tile that decorate the station. The photo is a testament to the meticulous work that made each metro station a public work of art.

Although some might say the station needs a bit of a makeover, knowing that these tiles were so carefully placed makes me appreciate the work behind it.

Rue Sainte-Catherine  

Archives de Ville de Montreal

Saint Catherine is known for its shopping, restaurants and crowds. The commercial street has clearly always been a go-to spot for Montreal locals.

Until seeing this photo, I had no idea how lavish the street once was. The first picture, which was snapped in 1964 shows Sainte Catherine lit up, glowing like a miniature Times Square.

Although there is still a lot of life pumping through this street, you can tell from the old photograph that there was a sense of glamour that rue Sainte-Catherine no longer has.

Mount Royal  

Archives de la Ville de Montreal

Winters on Mount Royal used to be a little different, as you can see from this photograph, which was taken in 1963.

This picture shows locals skiing down the mountain, something that you rarely see today.

Now, during the winter months, Mount Royal is filled with cross-country skiers, and avid runners who are somehow able to jog in minus 30 degree weather.

There is still a tubing track near Beaver Lake, though!

Orange Julep  

Archives de la Ville de Montreal

The Orange Julep is without a doubt one of my favourite spots in all of Montreal.

This iconic eatery serves up some of the most epic poutines, hot-dogs and pogos, not to mention their mouth-watering secret orange drink called the julep.

Although the iconic orange ball still remains, you can tell that many changes have been made.

Rue Saint-Hubert   

Archives de la Ville de Montreal

Saint Hubert Street may be a construction zone now but in 1963 it was the place to be.

The light, the life and the energy — this strip was one of the most popular destinations in our city.

Montreal is planning a big revamp on Saint Hubert but until then, the street is basically a war zone.

Rue de la Montagne  

Archives de La Ville de Montreal

Rue de la Montagne is one of the most prestigious streets in downtown Montreal and, to be honest, looking at this photo from 1965, the street still kind of looks the same.

Yes, it is more modern now and there are new stores and restaurants, but many of these buildings are still standing, which is remarkable given the tremendous changes in other parts of the city.

It goes to show that if it aint broke, do not fix it!

La Ronde  

Archives de la Ville de Montreal

La Ronde is Montreal’s amusement park and for years it has been entertaining locals throughout the summer months.

As you can see from this picture, snapped in 1967, La Ronde has come a long way. The amusement park seems empty, with only a few rides small and countless games.

Today, La Ronde is stocked with some insane roller coasters along with a slew of other rides.


Archives de la Ville de Montreal

Major Montreal construction efforts began in the 60s and clearly have not wrapped up since.

In 1966, Place Bonaventure was under construction and although there is no construction on that building right now, the rest of our city is an obvious disaster.

Do you think Montreal has changed for the better or worse?

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