Photo cred - Archives de Montréal

It's hard to think of a Montreal today without our convenient and somewhat iconic metro system whizzing around beneath our feet at any given moment. While we now take it for granted, and even complain about its inefficiencies and limitations, the Montreal metro is sill the busiest subway system in Canada, and third biggest in North America. It's hard to believe that it was inaugurated just 50 years ago, on October 14, 1966.

The initial conception was only a 12.5 km line that would run under Saint-Denis, Saint-Jacques and Sainte-Catherine, back in 1950, as a means to ease rising traffic congestion, but it wasn't until Jean Drapeau was elected Mayor 10 years later, the metro got the official go ahead.

It would take 4 years and some 5,000 workers to dig out the first 16 km of tunnels, with 3 lines and 26 stations at the time, which now comprises 68 stations on four lines with a total of 69.2 km of tunnels today.

The Montreal metro has come a long way over the years, and while it's not the biggest or best subway system in the world, the city would be lost without it.

Check out some of the photos below of the massive excavation process and the first foundations being laid, courtesy of Archives de Montréal.

For more photos and history visit the Archives de Montréal website here.

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