Montréal Métro – Street photography gone underground

February 1, 2018

I spent about half my life growing up in & around Montréal, Québec.  Riding the Montréal Métro was a big part of that.  I’ve not called the city my home for many years now, but whenever I return, and ride the Métro, it brings back all kinds of memories.  The sounds, the smells, none of it has really changed.  It is like taking a step back in time, to another life when I was a young man, riding the Métro to college, or downtown to buy CD’s, or up to the Plateau to where I would eventually live.

Recently, I decided to try and capture some long exposure photographs inside some of the stations.  In researching for this project, I discovered quite a bit about the history & design of the stations.  Notably, the main system was designed in the 1960’s and the main influencing style is Brutalist architecture…A raw, rugged style, lacking in comfort.  Each station also had a distinct designer to create a network of surprising variety.  I only was able to capture a few stations for this project, and here I will present my digital images, captured with a Fuji XT2 & 16mm lens, though I also shot some photos on 120 film with a Mamiya 645 camera, which I will share in a future post.

Métro Jarry

Architects: LeMoyne, Bland, Edwards & Shine.

Montreal MetroMontreal Metro
Métro Champ-de-Mars

Architect: Adalbert Niklewicz

Montreal travel photographyMontreal travel photographyMontreal street photography

Métro Beaubien

Artist: Claude Vermette

Montreal street photography

Place D’Armes

Architect: Janusz Warunkiewicz

Montreal QuebecMontreal photographer


Métro fun facts

The strange smell of the metro comes from an oil used to treat the metro’s unique wooden brake shoes.

The three note sound you hear prior to a train departure is device called a ‘peak chopper’, used to prevent a power surge.

The metro is controlled by employees in a secret location in downtown Montreal.  To keep it secure, the location is not public knowledge.

To learn more fun facts about the metro, visit this blog, where I pulled these facts from.

Montreal photographer

I hope you enjoyed this little tour of the Montréal Métro.  I’ll get back one day to add some more stops to the project, and to take in those familiar sounds & smells.  Until then, happy trails!

I’d love to hear your metro/subway stories.  Please leave any thoughts or comments below.

If you’d like to get in touch, you can contact me right HERE.

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