The Underground City of Montreal

Wednesday, 24 April 2013 - 11:13 am (CET/MEZ) Berlin | Author/Destination:
Category/Kategorie: General, Shopping
Reading Time:  4 minutes

Complexe Les Ailes © Oleksandr

Complexe Les Ailes © Oleksandr

Montreal’s Underground City (officially RÉSO or La Ville Souterraine) is the set of interconnected complexes (both above and below ground) in and around Downtown Montreal, Quebec, Canada. It is also known as the indoor city (ville intérieure), and is one of the largest underground complexes in the world.

Not all portions of the indoor city (ville intérieure) are underground. The connections are considered tunnels architecturally and technically, but are air conditioned and have lighting as good as any building’s liveable space does. Many tunnels are large enough to have shops on both sides of the passage. With over 32 km (20 mi) of tunnels spread over more than 12 km2 (4.6 sq mi), connected areas include shopping malls, apartment buildings, hotels, condominiums, banks, offices, museums, universities, seven metro stations, two commuter train stations, a regional bus terminal and the Bell Centre amphitheatre and arena. There are more than 120 exterior access points to the underground city. Each access point is an entry point to one of 60 residential or commercial complexes comprising 3.6 km2 (1.4 sq mi) of floor space, including 80% of all office space and 35% of all commercial space in downtown Montreal. In winter, some 500,000 people use the underground city every day.

Halles de la gare - Central train station © Gene.arboit/cc-by-sa-3.0 Complexe Les Ailes, access on McGill College Ave © Gene.arboit The lower floors of the Complexe Les Ailes, between the McGill and Peel metro stations © Dickbauch/cc-by-sa-3.0 Complexe Les Ailes © M.G.Stewart/cc-by-sa-3.0 Complexe Les Ailes © Alexcaban Complexe Les Ailes © Oleksandr
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The lower floors of the Complexe Les Ailes, between the McGill and Peel metro stations © Dickbauch/cc-by-sa-3.0
In 2004, the downtown network of the underground city was rebranded and given the name RÉSO, which is a homophone of the French word réseau, or network. The “O” at the end of the word is the logo of the Montreal Metro. Schematic maps bearing the RÉSO logo are found throughout the network. The largest and best-known segment is located in the centre of downtown, delimited by the Peel and Place-des-Arts metro stations on the Green Line and the Lucien-L’Allier and Place-d’Armes stations on the Orange Line.

The underground city is promoted as an important tourist attraction by most Montreal travel guidebooks, and as an urban planning achievement it is impressive. For most Montrealers, however, it tends to be considered more as a large mall complex linking metro stations – they may not even know they are in it. Many Canadian cities have some kind of tunnel or skywalk system downtown to help people avoid the weather. Most parts of the Montreal underground city are open while the metro is in operation (5:30 AM to 1:00 AM), though some are closed outside of business hours. Maps of the underground city and the metro can be obtained free of charge from all metro stations, and the network of buildings is indicated on most maps of the downtown core.

Read more on Montreal Underground City, mtl.org – Your guide to the Underground City and Wikipedia – Complexe les Ailes and Wikipedia Underground City Montreal (Smart Traveler App by U.S. Department of State - Weather report by weather.com - Global Passport Power Rank - Travel Risk Map - Democracy Index - GDP according to IMF, UN, and World Bank - Global Competitiveness Report - Corruption Perceptions Index - Press Freedom Index - World Justice Project - Rule of Law Index - UN Human Development Index - Global Peace Index - Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index). Photos by Wikimedia Commons. If you have a suggestion, critique, review or comment to this blog entry, we are looking forward to receive your e-mail at comment@wingsch.net. Please name the headline of the blog post to which your e-mail refers to in the subject line.




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