Design & Purpose
Monteral’s Olympic Stadium is located in the Parc Olympique district of Montreal, Quebec. The structure, nicknamed “The Big O”, was designed by French architect, Roget Taillibert, and was intended to house the 1976 Olympic Games.
The state-of-the-art stadium was one of the first sports stadiums to be capped with a plastic dome roof.
Work began at Olympic Park on April 28, 1973 with an anticipated completion date of early 1976 to accommodate the commencement of the Olympic Games.
- 12 million cubic metres of clay and limestone were removed during excavations
- The tower was designed to be 165 metres tall with a 45-degree angle- making it the world’s tallest inclined tower (40-degrees more steep than the Leaning Tower of Pisa)
- To accommodate the extreme slope of the tower, a solid concrete base had to be buried 10 metres below the ground. It weighed 145,000 tonnes compared to the top of the tower which weighs in at 8,000 tonnes.
Despite the plan, work did not progress as predicted. In May 1975, workers walked off the construction site for approximately 5 months, which negatively impacted the completion date of the project.
Due to this delay, the stadium and its tower remained unfinished for the opening of the Games.
After the Olympic Games, construction on the tower continued. Due to unforeseen costs largely related to the roof, construction lasted more than 12 years.
The Stadium Today
For a while, the stadium was used to house Montreal’s professional football and baseball teams (the Expos and the Alouettes, respectively), however both teams ultimately decided to relocate.
Due to lack of use and tenancy, the concept of demolition was raised in 2009. A survey of the same year found that 95% of Quebec residents opposed this demolition.
Today, the 56,000 seat stadium is used to host sports events, exhibitions and fairs.