Skip to content

The Montreal Archives Website : A Real Time Machine

A not to be missed site to better understand the evolution of Montréal as a metropolis.
Old Montreal, 50 years ago, long before the first Prével's condos were launched!

While reading an article entitled ‘Montréal 50 years ago’ that was in a recent issue of L’Actualité magazine I was fortunate to discover a great source of archives.

What I came across was the Montréal Archives, a site that allows users to access countless collections dating from 1913 to 2013, filled with photos, maps, pictures and even videos. I assure you the trip is worth a click.

I am always fascinated to see how the City of Montréal and its surroundings have transformed throughout the years. While the city is currently approaching its 375th anniversary (2017) this trip back in time is relevant and thought-provoking. These archives make us truly understand Montréal’s evolution as a metropolis and highlight the major differences between yesterday and today. Frozen in images we find densely populated areas that were just endless farmland, our mighty river that once had a slightly different route and was rich with marshland, as well as a now-forgotten airport at the current Technoparc and the speedway, where the Montréal Alouettes played.

Here are 3 series of images that I found really highlights the major changes that have taken place in Montréal over the past 50 years:

Construction of Expo 67

1967 was a turning point in the history of Montréal and Québec, as the city was opening and hosting the whole world all at once. This Expo was also a vast construction site for years prior to the actual event and changed the landscape of Montréal as well as the St Lawrence River forever. The Expo 67 areas and facilities are still major attractions today, as they are used to host events all throughout the year.

photo ©Archives Ville de Montréal

Old Montréal

This may be surprising today, but back in the 1960’s Old Montréal was in a slump. Basically, the shift of economic activities to the downtown area as well as the decrease in action at the Old Port transformed the neighborhoods function’s and character. You’ll notice that in those days cars and trains occupied a lot of space. We even parked cars on Jacques-Cartier square!

photo ©Archives Ville de Montréal

Montréal-Dorval Airport 1964-66

Passing through YUL in 2014 most people notice that Pierre Elliot Trudeau Airport, which used to be called Montréal-Dorval, grew in lockstep with the city it services. You’ll notice in the images how the main building that everyone sees was expanded in the early 60’s. Did you know that it was the St-Hubert Airport that originally serviced Montréal, having first opened in 1927? It was only in September 1941 that Dorval took its place.

photo ©Archives Ville de Montréal

Hope you have a great trip back in time!


All photos: Archives Montréal. Some images were cropped to fit this post. Do not hesitate to seek for the original on

Continue reading

Back to blog

We are not putting up walls. We are trying to break them down.

Our adventure began on the streets of Old Montréal and extended out to Griffintown, showing how projects such as Le Seville and Lowney not only revitalized neighbourhoods, but also redefined the concept of city living. Old Montréal and the Quai de la Commune In the 1990s, Old Montréal began its metamorphosis. It was at this…
Read article