Montreal's Underground City

Take a Look at the Art and Architecture of This Must-See Attraction

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Underground City Photos: What Lies Beneath Downtown Montreal

Montreal underground mall
Emmanuel Joly/Getty Images

We'll be the first to admit the Montreal underground city's status as a must-see attraction is blown a bit out of proportion. From a tourist-who's-seen-it-all perspective, it's a bunch of malls connected together.

From many a local's point of view, the largest underground city in the world is but a practicality. Hundreds of thousands of daily commuters seek refuge from the winter cold as they trek to and from work in its 33 kilometers of climate-controlled tunnels, corridors, hotels, and shopping centers.

But the underground has its charm. Parts of the network are stunning, a joy to walk through. If you can find them. Ironically, those same stretches are rarely, if ever seen in guidebooks or on the Internet, possibly because said corridors are mapped out like a labyrinth. Here is a look at the underground city's unsung nooks and crannies.

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Art Souterrain

Art Souterrain
Art Souterrain, Catherine Dumont

This photo here was taken inside the Centre de Commerce Mondial, otherwise known as the Montreal Trade Centre, during Art Souterrain, an annual event that turns Montreal's underground city into a sprawling art exhibit.

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Hotels Beneath Downtown Montreal

Intercontinenal Montreal
Intercontinenal Montreal

Select Montreal hotels are directly connected to the underground city allowing guests to travel from Point A to Point B without setting foot outside, a boon on cold winter nights.

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Place Bonaventure

Place Bonaventure
Alex Drainville/Flickr CC BY-NC 2.0

This section of Montreal's underground city is in Place Bonaventure, a building used primarily as an office building and convention center completed in time for Expo '67 which in its heyday,  was the largest concrete building in the world.

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Place des Arts

Place des Arts
Retis/Flickr CC BY 2.0

Place des Arts, Montreal's largest performing arts complex, is connected to the underground city. The projections as seen above in its main corridor were captured on November 23, 2016. The project is called "Le public" and represents the emotional reactions of the audience as perceived by stage artists. It's a Baillat Cardell & Fils creation in collaboration with the illustrators Capucine Labarthe and Lino.

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Quartier des Spectacles

Complexe Desjardins
Bruce Yuanyue Bi/Getty Images

Located across the street from Place des Arts in the Quartier des Spectacles, Complexe Desjardins is one of the Montreal underground city's connector buildings. It's a mall, an events center, an office building, and a hotel wrapped in one.

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Cooridors in the Quartier International

The Quartier International
Emmanuel Joly/Getty Images

The most intriguing sections of Montreal's underground city are its corridors, some of which look like they're straight out of a sci-fi flick. 

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Palais des congrès

Palais des congrès
David Thompson/Getty Images

Montreal convention center Palais des congrès is a major part of the underground city, connecting pedestrians to Chinatown, Old Montreal, and the downtown core. Several hotels surround the convention center.

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Montreal's Subway Network

Montreal subway
Nicolas Kipourax Paquet/Getty Images

Select parts of Montreal's subway network are integrated into the underground city network, notably Bonaventure, McGill, Square-Victoria, and Place d'Armes Metro stations.

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Underground City: What Lies Beneath Downtown Montreal

Palais des congrès
Olivier Cirendini/Getty Images

This part of Montreal's underground city is above ground, connecting to ​Palais des congrès.

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