A little while back, some really cool satellite images of Montreal in 1947 surfaced on the internet. Set up like Google maps, the images can give you awesome, clear photos of the city back in the day. But something seemed off—for one, satellites didn’t really hit space until Sputnik’s launch in 1957. So where did the images come from? It turns out that the Montreal city archives released the aerial shots of the city, most likely taken from a high flying plane or balloon, and local blogger and map enthusiast Anton Dubrau stitched them together.

We explored the map and looked for some notable changes in the city’s landscape. What can you find?


Île Sainte-Hélène

Plot twist- Île Sainte-Hélène hasn’t always been home to the infamous Parc Jean Drapeau or la Ronde. In fact, when the Island was chosen as the site for Expo 67, it was enlarged and consolidated with several nearby islands. The expansive island we know and love today was in large part built using the earth excavated from the construction of the Montreal metro.

Screen Shot 2015-08-11 at 4.15.03 PM Screen Shot 2015-08-11 at 4.10.49 PM



McGill Upper Residences

Tucked away at the top of Mont Royal, it seems the McGill Upper Residences weren’t always populated by eager first year students. Although Douglas Hall is still perched majestically above the football field, McConnell, Gardner and Molson are noticeably absent. We also noticed a few extra tennis courts on campus.

Screen Shot 2015-08-06 at 1.43.09 PM Screen Shot 2015-08-06 at 1.43.14 PM


Downtown Skyscrapers

It’s easy to forget that Montreal wasn’t always this built up. In the last half century, Montreal’s downtown core has been filled with big skyscrapers like the Telus building and the Bell Centre, radically changing the cityscape.

Screen Shot 2015-08-06 at 1.44.39 PM Screen Shot 2015-08-06 at 1.44.43 PM


Westmount Railway Station

Turns out Westmount hasn’t always been the upperclass enclave we know today. Although the station closed to passenger service in 1983, it has since become a Heritage Railway Station. The area that the station used to occupy now appears to be public green space—take that, industrial age!

Screen Shot 2015-08-06 at 1.46.38 PM Screen Shot 2015-08-06 at 1.46.42 PM


Beaver Lake Pavilion

If you’ve lived a winter in Montreal and still haven’t made it up to do some Ice Skating at Beaver lake, you’re probably still stuck in 1947. The pavilion we’ve come to love was built in 1961, and is now included in Québec’s heritage register of modern architecture. There was probably less annoying construction up there in those days.

Screen Shot 2015-08-06 at 1.48.45 PM Screen Shot 2015-08-06 at 1.48.49 PM


Search through the “Satellite” images of Montreal to find more major changes.