The 60s: Montreal Thinks Big
Edited By Andre Lortie

Douglas & McIntyre

This copiously illustrated volume of essays and testimonies from architects, politicians, business people, and urban planners is the book version of the exhibition which is currently (spring 2005) at the Canadian Centre for Architecture.

The face of Montreal changed dramatically in the 1960s: whole neighbourhoods, including Goose Village and Griffintown, were demolished to make way for new expressways. Buildings such as Place Ville Marie, the Chateau Champlain (known then as “the cheese grater”), and Place Bonaventure changed the skyline dramatically.

The first major essay in Montreal Thinks Big covers not just city planning but also the forces in society that made the changes possible: the Quiet Revolution and the rise of the middle class. The second essay addresses the singular problems of a “Metropolitan Archetype.” In the third major text section, André Lortie, Michael Sorkin, and Jean-Louis Cohen take part in a round-table discussion entitled “Learning from Montreal,” discussing the effects of the métro, megastructures, and other phenomena.

Urban planners everywhere will love Montreal Thinks Big as a reference, as the process that transformed Montreal took place in cities throughout the world. For amateurs, the stunning aerial photos by Olivo Barbieri are alone worth the price of the book. mRb