Archives de la Ville de Montréal/Cat-bus

Sixty-six years later, the city's urban design is not so different.

If you're familiar with the city of Montreal, you might be interested in this mash-up of historical shots and Google Earth.

Using aerial shots taken between 1947 and 1949 -- on the eve of urban renewal -- the Montreal blog Cat-Bus created a click-through comparison map, which allows viewers to instantly switch between the past and present.

More than anything, I'm surprised by how similar the city's frame looks. Downtown is still full of buildings, rather than parking lots. It's clear that urban renewal did not unfold here with the same force as in U.S. cities like Louisville and New Haven.

That said, you'd be hard pressed to find an area that hasn't changed at all.

Below, a few blocks of buildings razed to build the Autoroute Ville-Marie :

The parking lot did become a park, though:

The expansive freight yards on the city's north side are no more:

All images from the Archives of the City of Montreal and Google, via Cat-Bus.

About the Author

Henry Grabar

Henry Grabar is a freelance writer and a former fellow at CityLab. He lives in New York.   

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