The Underground City in Montreal
Peter Triassi, a Montreal resident, aims to feature on this page all the wonderful spots in his city. Aside from historic sites such as Mount Royal, Notre Dame Basilica, and St. Joseph’s Oratory, urban structures are also brightening up Montreal. This blog features the Underground City, a must-see subterranean pedestrian network that takes up 20.5 miles of the city’s downtown space.
The Underground City connects to public transport systems, universities, offices, hotels, apartments, and shopping areas, Peter Triassi from Montreal explains. The plan for the area surprisingly didn’t have a master plan and was developed for more than 50 years. The change in developers resulted in an interesting maze that surprisingly became a part of city living.
However, calling this place the Underground City is a misnomer. Contrary to popular belief, the pedestrian network is not underground. Interestingly, it consists of multiple levels of tunnels and stairs in this area connect to most places in downtown Montreal. Like other locals, Peter Triassi says that it should instead be called an indoor city. But since the misunderstanding already gained attention among tourists, the nickname was retained.
In 2004, the city was rebranded as RÉSO, which sounds like réseau, French for network. Because the complex is a testament to the city’s impressive urban planning, it was marketed as a tourist destination. Peter Triassi, a Montreal local, sometimes considers the area as a shopping center or a link to other key areas downtown. But perhaps for those who will be visiting the city for the first time, they might see the RÉSO as a hodgepodge of shops, repurposed buildings, artistic, and cultural ventures in the city.
Getting to the Underground City is quite easy that many people don’t realize that they are already in it. But even if it has more than 190 exits, it is quite easy to navigate. For those planning what to do while touring or just passing by the RÉSO, locals suggest enjoying the many shopping and dining spots in the Underground City. As the network is home to six different shopping centers, one can spend hours just looking at the shops. As Montreal is a foodie’s city, the place is also home to restaurants that offer the city’s specialties.
The Underground City is a testament to the creativity and innovation of Montreal’s people. It’s bustling and modern vibe provides a bright place for visitors and locals alike.