33 kilometres of connecting passageways

Underground network

The name “the Underground City” refers to the vast network of pedestrian walkways below the city. There are 33 kilometres (20.5 miles) of connecting passageways beneath downtown, with the métro (subway), commuter trains and buses also converging here. The system of walkways is a big deal and the numbers prove it: approximately 500,000 people circulate daily on this network.

History

The concept began in 1962 with the lower level shopping mall in Place Ville Marie. With the coming of Expo 67, Montréal’s dream of a métro finally became reality. The underground went through many stages of development. One of the more spectacular periods was the raising of Christ Church Cathedral on piles, in order to lay the foundations for a shopping centre underneath.

The name “Underground City” refers to the vast network of pedestrian walkways below the streets of downtown Montréal. In total, 32 kilometres (20 miles) of passageways connect the subway system with hotels, shops, museums, universities and skyscrapers. Indeed, more than a pathway from point A to B, RÉSO (“network” in French) is a destination in itself. Within the network you can find a segment of the Berlin Wall, a stained-glass wall devoted to the musical history of Montréal and hundreds of other works of art. In the winter months, an annual 5K running race takes place in the corridors. You’ll be surprised what you might discover.

Montréal's Underground Pedestrian Network (RÉSO) is the biggest of all the man-made underground networks in the world:

  • some 2,000 boutiques
  • 10 hotels
  • close to 265 restaurants
  • museums and exhibition halls
  • 10 university buildings
  • some 10 000 indoor parking spaces
  • 10 metro station, 2 train stations and 2 bus stations
  • banks, offices, dwellings, an arena and cinemas…

Dig deeper for art

See the art gallery in a whole new light when Montréal’s “underground city” is adorned with artwork.