Besides zipping travelers across the island, the Montreal Metro doubles as the city’s most expansive art gallery. Each of its 68 subway stations is a distinctly designed synthesis of architecture and art, and many prominently feature sculptures, mosaics, and stained glass. Even for longtime residents, visiting a new stop for the first time can feel like an adventure.
Two of the most photogenic artworks in the metro are no doubt the stunning stained glass windows at Charlevoix station. On sunny days, they cast kaleidoscopic hues across crowds going up and down the escalators. With over 15,000 pieces of glass in 800 colors, they’re an unexpected joy as you descend underground.
The windows can’t be seen from street level, as their light comes from a deep shaft that provides ventilation to the platform below. Charlevoix is the deepest station in the entire network, with its lower platform located 97 feet (29.6 meters) beneath the surface. It opened in 1978 as part of the Green Line’s expansion southwest into Angrinon.
The windows were designed by Montreal artist Mario Merola and crafted by Pierre Osterrath. Work by both artists can be found elsewhere on the metro. Merola designed the brickwork at Sherbrooke station, and there are more stained glass windows by Osterrath at stations Berri-UQAM and Du Collège.
Know Before You Go
Be sure to visit during daylight hours to see the windows at their best. The one closest to the surface can be viewed without a metro ticket, but the lower window is past the turnstiles.
Updated as of June 2023: The windows are boarded over, check before going to see if they have been uncovered.