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Montreal's Metro – The Beauty Below

What began as an academic project exploring the world of architecture photography has grown into an all-out personal obsession with the Metros of the world.

Jean TalonJean Talon

Day in and day out, I traveled Montreal’s Metro to and from school, observing the same stations from the same perspectives – a rather monotonous commute after a few years. I knew little of the Metro system’s story other than its inception for Montreal’s 1967 World Expo.

MTLMetroProject_10sChamp de Mars

The Montreal Metro Project is an on-going photo series exploring the architecture, art, and design of Montreal’s iconic Metro system. Composed of 68 stations, each with a unique design laid out by its own architect, the system transports over one million passengers daily. Commuters may miss, as I did for so long, the beauty of these stations. Hidden behind train delays and dirty floors, is rare beauty that are not found in all public transport systems – and it’s something many Montrealers take for granted.

De L’ÉgliseDe L’Église

While the cold season began to creep into the city in October 2014, deep underground, the Metro stayed warm. Jumping from station to station became my creative outlet. It gave me a window into decades of architectural styles from the stark yet awe inspiring concrete caverns of De La Savane station, to sun lit stained glass murals of Champ de Mars. The diversity of each stop has provided months upon months of inspiration and exploration, and I see no end in sight.


With so much movement in the Metro and so many passengers, I use long exposures to distil the spaces to their graphic qualities. Metros make for gorgeous blue and white stripes across the frame, and escalators became abstract metallic streams. When people are removed from the spaces (never shoot during rush hour), the graphic qualities of the architecture become that much more prominent.


Straight away, I began sharing my project on Instagram (@chrismforsyth) using #mtlMetroproject to keep all my photos in one place. What I didn’t expect was that hundreds of other Montreal Metro commuters began sharing their Metro photos. The hashtag has become an archive of the city’s 68 stations. When I’m low on enthusiasm to shoot, I look through the hashtag to see how others are approaching their stations for inspiration. As much as the project is my own view on the Metro, it has become a community initiative to document Metro as well.

MTLMetroProject_9sBerri UQAM

About the Author

Chris Forsyth is a Montreal-based photographer. Currently studying Professional Photography at Dawson College. Chris explore his passion for architecture and design through his camera.

Chrismforsyth.com | instagram.com/chrismforsyth

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