Time-Travelling in Montreal


Montreal ’87? Try Montreal ’72. Flickr habitué Colin Rose recently delved into his photographic archives and pulled out some remarkable shots from the early 1970s. Some depict a massive snowstorm that coincided with a blue collar workers’ strike, which left downtown streets impassable for days. Others focus on Montreal’s art deco architecture. Since they are all scanned from slides, the photos have a particularly crisp quality that makes them look as if they were taken yesterday, not thirty-five years ago.

What makes Rose’s photos so interesting is they they reveal so many small details of everyday Montreal life. In his snowstorm set, for instance, you can’t help but notice that English street names have English signs (“Stanley St.“) while French street names have French signs (“Rue de la Gauchetière“). The Expo ’67 logo is still affixed to lampposts on Dorchester Boulevard and Peel Street, a reminder of Montreal’s late-sixties glory. On Ste. Catherine Street, terse 1970s design (check out the classic “banque provinciale” sign) is juxtaposed against the giddy neon of an earlier era.

Then, of course, there are the cars: American behemoths on one hand, tiny Volkswagens and Peugeots on the other.


This entry was written by Christopher DeWolf , posted on Thursday January 25 2007at 12:01 am , filed under Canada, History and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink . Post a comment below or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

3 Responses to “Time-Travelling in Montreal”

  • I recognize all of those locations . . . as if it were yesterday. I used to hang out downtown in the late 70s . . . what an innocent time it all seems now. No computers, blackberries, cell phones, videos, Internet, free long distance phone calls, LCD TVs; hell, even microwaves were rare.


  • These are fascinating. Thanks for the link to the Montreal Art Deco flikr gallery. It has been duly bookmarked.

  • Cyrus says:

    Well blows me down Popeye! I’m a bit late, by about 5 years, but Christopher I’ve really enjoyed checking out your Mtl. photos. You’ve chosen unique topics, or at least ones that I don’t see everyday such as Depanneur’s etc..the photo of Ave Parc in the fog with the bicycle leaning against the pole was breathtaking. I grew up in Toronto, or as I prefer to call it, the asshole of Canada, but I lived in Montreal, on and off, from 1977 to 1987 and what I discovered there, let me tell you, threw me for a loop. The people were SO nice, the restaurants, the clubs, the fashions, the history. Toronto has to take the best bits of every other city and call them their own, it’s always been, is now, and always will be the city that wanted to but never could. In the last, I don’t know how many years, 20 maybe, they’ve decided to call the gay area “the Village”.this after Mtl and NYC! Nothing original about Toronto. People always say I’m just bitchy.. yeah? Really? Until I start laying out specific documented personal first hand “episodes” I’ve had with Torontonians, then they call me other names because they know I’m right!! I always end the argument with this bon bon.. “listen asshole, I grew up in Toronto, do you really think, as a Torontonian, I like knowing how much it sucks? Do you think I enjoy pointing out what makes it so pathetic? How’s this for a side by side comparison. Find me 2 women who are 70 years old. One from Toronto and one from Montreal. Now, let’s take a gander at their “look” shall we? Woman from Montreal..nicely made up, casual but elegant, she has a glass of wine in her hand, she’s wearing a lovely understated poly blend pant suit with an elegant hat, lovely gold hoop earings and comftorable shoes, she’s sitting on the patio of an outdoor cafe enjoying her arugula salad and smiling pleasantly. Ok? Now, woman from Toronto, “orange lipstick OUTLINED in black pencil, she’s sitting on a plastic lawn chair in front of her apartment building drinking a beer and eating a hot dog. She’s wearing a bright pink mumu and a scarf around her dull listless hair..both of them! When she opens a new pack of cigarettes she likes to take out one cigarette and turning it upside down she slides it back into the pack, why? Because she thinks it makes her “unique”..I could go on but I’ll spare you the rest of the FACTS! Oy vey, I lost it! Anyway…GREAT photos, I love them tons!! Cyrus, UNFORTUNATLY back in Toronto!