Built for the 1976 Summer Olympics, the Olympic Stadium in Montreal is used for a multitude of sports and other activities today.
Olympic Stadium in Montreal
The Montreal Olympic Stadium is a unique structure found in the Montreal Olympic Park. With the permanent section of the roof of the building it resembles a doughnut when viewed from above.
The roof of the Olympic Stadium is retractable. The permanent section of roof covers most of the seating areas. Additional seating can be added when the roof is fully covered.
In total, over 56,000 people can be seated in the Montreal Olympic Stadium. There is also capacity for additional temporary seating in the floor area, adding approximately 4,000 extra seats. By seating capacity it is the largest stadium in Canada.
Location and Hours
The Montreal Olympic Stadium can be found at 4545 Pierre-de Coubertin Avenue. The stadium is a part of the Montreal Olympic Park. Sherbrooke Street East runs right next to the park.
Several other popular tourist attractions can be found in the area. The Olympic Park itself contains a Biodome and a planetarium. Just across the street is the Montreal Botanical Garden and Maisonneuve Park.
Hours at the Montreal Olympic Stadium vary depending on the events being held. Guided tours of the place are also usually available most days at select times, depending on the season. Due to COVID-19 the stadium is currently closed.
The Montreal Tower
The Montreal Tower can be found directly next to the Olympic Stadium. The Tower is 175 metres tall and sits at a 45-degree angle. It’s the tallest inclined tower in the world!
The top of the Montreal Tower offers 360-degree views of the surrounding area. In regular times the Tower is open six or seven days a week depending on the time of year. However, due to COVID-19, the tower was closed for much of 2020 and 2021.
For more details visit the official Olympic Park website.
The Olympic Stadium is primarily used for sports games and other athletic events. Both professional and amateur sports games can be held here.
Sports played in the stadium include football, baseball and soccer, though there is no team that plays all or even the majority of their games in the stadium. Teams that used to or sometimes play at the Olympic Stadium are listed below.
The Montreal Expos
Montreal’s former baseball team called the Olympic Stadium home from 1977 until the franchise moved to Washington in 2004. The highest attendance at the stadium for a baseball game was for the 1982 MLB All-Star Game (59,057).
The stadium was not seen as ideal for baseball with players and staff complaining about the thin AstroTurf that lay over concrete as well as the fact that before the roof was finished in 1987 there was ice on the field at the beginning and ends of seasons.
Over the last few years the Toronto Blue Jays have begun a tradition of playing preseason games at the Olympic Stadium. The first pair of games was in 2014 and they continued to play two every spring until the COVID-19 pandemic cancelled the scheduled 2020 games.
The Montreal Alouettes
The Olympic Stadium hosted the city’s Canadian Football League team for ten seasons from 1977 to 1986, when the Alouettes folded. When the team came back in 1996 they played two more seasons at the stadium.
However, in 1998 the franchise moved to Percival Molson Stadium. They continued to play playoff games and rarely some regular season games at the Olympic Stadium up until 2014.
Despite not being home to any football nowadays, the Olympic Stadium is home to nine of the ten largest recorded crowds in CFL history. This includes the record of 69,083 for a game against the Toronto Argonauts.
Club de Foot Montréal
Formerly known as the Montreal Impact, CF Montréal is the city’s Major League Soccer team. While their primary home is Saputo Stadium, the Olympic Stadium is used for the team’s biggest games.
CF Montréal games played at the Olympic Stadium include their first two MLS games in 2012 and the 2015 CONCACAF Champions League Final against Club América of Mexico. That last game broke the Canadian attendance record for a professional soccer game (61,004).
As well, the Olympic Stadium hosted the 2009 Trophée des Champions Final between Bordeaux and Guingamp. The stadium has also been selected as one of the host sites for the upcoming 2026 World Cup.
In addition to sporting events the Stadium also hosts other special events. Music festivals, large concerts and other exhibitions have all been held here. Notable performances at the Olympic Stadium in the past have included Metallica, Guns N’ Roses and Pink Floyd.
History of the Stadium
Construction began on the Olympic Stadium in 1973, three years after Montreal had been awarded the right to host the 1976 Olympics. The project fell behind schedule with strikes, bad weather and other issues, and only barely opened in time for the Olympics. While it opened in 1976 the roof was not fully installed until a full decade later.
The stadium has quite a unique look due to its domed shape and the presence of the Montreal Tower. As mentioned earlier, the tower is the tallest inclined structure in the world and the cables that hold the retractable roof hang from it.
The Olympic Stadium received the nickname “The Big O” due to its name and shape. This name is sometimes turned into “The Big Owe” due to the massive cost of building the structure (over $1 billion).
For more details click Montreal Olympic Stadium.
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