The process of modernization begun in the post-war period reached its full potential after 1960. A modern city was under construction, the economy was being re-structured, urbanization was expanding and the overall quality of life was improving. Montréal lost its title as Canada's metropolis, but thanks to French-speaking society's re-appropriation of the city, Montréal came into its own as the metropolis of a new and modern Québec which asserted itself in the political, economic, social and cultural arenas.
Re-structuring the economy
Montrealers' standard of living continued to rise in the two decades after the war. Better qualified workers earned higher wages, while the participation of women in the workforce increased the number of salaried workers.
The state intervened to improve social, medical and educational services.
The recessions of 1981-82 and 1990-92 dealt serious blows to Montréal's economy. Unemployment was high in older neighbourhoods, as traditional industries declined and deserted the old manufacturing areas. The situation was better in the suburbs where state-of-the-art industries were developing alongside small and medium sized specialized firms. The service sector expanded, employing a vast majority of the workforce. The economic structure that had characterized Montréal since the mid 19th century underwent deep-seated transformation.
Montréal's pivotal role in Canadian transport was weakened by the opening of the St. Lawrence Seaway, the decline in rail transportation and the rise of Toronto as the primary centre for Canadian and international air traffic.
Metropolitan Montréal emerged from this re-organization with a considerably more modern and efficient manufacturing structure.
Montréal lost its status as Canada's metropolis. Development in the West and vigorous growth in Ontario aided by American investment gave Toronto a clear advantage. Many large firms moved their head offices there.
Nevertheless, Montréal maintained certain high-level metropolitan functions. The emergence of large French-speaking businesses and publicly-owned corporations with head offices in Montréal gave the city a new role as Québec's metropolis and decision making core.
Montréal International Airport