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Montreal's "Gender Segregated" Beach Under The Jacques-Cartier Bridge In 1940

Montreal is recognized as a city all about personal expression. Yes, there are some tensions between cultures, but no one can deny the city has a very free-spirited nature, recent events like the World Naked Bike Ride and Go Topless Day are testaments to that fact. The city wasn't always like that, however, especially not during the 1940s.

Shared on Montreal Memories by Mario Pompetti, this pic showcases a Montreal beach along the St. Lawrence next to what looks to be the Jacques Cartier bridge, back when it reached Île Sainte-Hélène from the South Shore. Kudos to the many commenters on the OG post who deduced the identity of the bridge.

Most striking about the photo isn't the fact that there was a legit beach along the St. Lawrence River, or bathing suit fashion. No, what comes as a huge surprise to us modern minds if the fact that the beach was segregated by gender. Look for yourself, you can see how everyone in the photo is a dude with no ladies in sight, likely relegated to another area entirely.

Maybe this was some magical gay beach where women weren't allowed at all, but given how same-sex activity wasn't officially legal 'til 1969 (yes, actually in 69) the beach was probably just gender segregated. Good thing the times have changed, with a nude beach only a short trip away from the city. Yay for progress.

For more on all things Montreal, follow Michael on Twitter @MDAlimonte

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