FX Excursions

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Montreal’s Underground City

by Edward Mack

Jan 4, 2015

Art Souterrain, Underground City, Montreal © Michel Bussieres | Dreamstime

Destination

Like the setting of a science-fiction comic book, the Underground City in Montreal calls to us with tantalizing intrigue. The name, however, is somewhere between a misnomer and the truth; the Underground City is an expansive, multi-level network of tunnels that connects Montreal’s downtown area. Yes, the Underground City is cool and useful, especially during the harsh Québécois winters. Yes, there are shopping centers, multistory indoor courtyards, public squares and public art. No, it is not an entire city underneath the ground, however much we want it to be. Yes, there are restaurants, train stations, the metro, hotels … ok, so maybe it is an entire city.

 

The first tunnels were built in 1966; they have since expanded to include more than 20 miles of connections linked by more than 120 access points throughout Montreal. Often visitors may not realize they are in the Underground City at all, as much of it is above-ground connections between buildings and facilities.

 

Be sure to check out the annual art exhibit Art Souterrain, starting at the end of February and stretching until mid-March. This year’s seven-mile walking circuit is based on the theme “Security in our society: what remains of our personal freedoms?”

 

Whether using it to escape the elements, shop or simply wander around under Montreal, the Underground City is a worthwhile visit. From Saint Catherine St. to McGill, Peel, Old Montreal, and all the way up to Olympic Stadium, you may never have to step foot outside in Montreal again. The labyrinthine network can easily get you turned around, so be sure to pick up one of the free maps on your way down.

 

Happy exploring!

 

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