Historical Background of Olympic Stadium, Montreal

Montreal built the Olympic Stadium for the Summer Olympics in the year 1976. Later it became the hub for Canadian football and Montreal professional baseball. In the year 2004 the Montreal Expos relocated to Washington DC. Due to this along with a handful major structural and financial problems and the Olympic Stadium was becoming a bigger and bigger liability every passing day. The stadium has a multipurpose seating capacity of 56,040 for special events like concerts and trade shows and retained its earlier seating arrangement of 66,308 people for Grey Cup games and playoffs. The stadium has the tallest inclined tower at 175 meters. It is also a member of the Federation of Great Towers.The shape of the Olympic stadium is similar to a doughnut and has given rise to its nickname the Big O”. Some suggest the astronomical cost that went into its construction for the Olympics of 1976 gave rise to the nickname as the Big Ow.It was designed by the famous French architect Roger Taillibert who built in an attractive retractable roof. The roof had to be closed via the 175 meter tower. The Olympic Stadium is the 6th largest building in Montreal. Under the large inclined tower is the Olympic Swimming Pool. At the time of construction the main idea was to build a stadium that could host various equestrian events, opening and closing ceremonies, football and athletics. During the construction of the Stadium a major labor strike caused an enormous delay of 11 years before the roof and inclined tower was completed. Finally in the year 1987 both the roof and the tower were completed. Although the stadium was used for the1976 Olympic Games, due to the strike and some other problems the construction of the stadium was incomplete. The roof was only used once in the year 1988.However, problems with the stadium did not end with the strike. The roof was simply too heavy and retracting it in winds higher than 40km/h was not possible. Windy and rainy weather conditions caused a lot of disruption to the games because of the retractable roof that could not actually be closed.A combination of the delays and strikes caused the cost of the construction to escalate to much more than anticipated. The budget of C$134 million shot up to C$264 million. To recover the investment the government introduced a tobacco tax. The 1976 special tobacco tax act mandated that ownership of the stadium would be retained by the city of Montreal once the cost was finally paid off.In 2006, the complete bill was cleared and the total cost reached up around CS 1.61 billion. The Olympic stadium in Montreal is the 2nd most expensive stadium in the world. On average since 1977 the stadium has been able to generate CS$20 annually. The stadium has continued to face major damages like water seepage, fire, and ripped off roof etc. The building’s design is based off of the Modern architecture of the towns and is a must see attraction while in Montreal.

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