Olympic Stadium hosting event tonight - 38k attending

Travel, nice putting together the Big Owe and the Gardiner. :thup: Completely agree, kill 'em both really, painful as it is from a cost perspective but neither are going to add to either city in the long run. Just plain mistakes but on such a huge scale. That is what history is about, learning from our mistakes as they say. And Mirable.

BC Place is/was different though. Never been inside but it seems they did that one right with the renos as there was enough baseline correctness from the start to do so. Correct?

Hamilton should also kill Copps and Jackson Sq. completely but they are putting money into Copps, er First Ontario Place, Core Entertainment and have the Junos there this year. I would have killed it though and Jackson Sq. to be honest. Jackson Sq. is one complete dive with two-bit stores that should be blown up. First Ontario Place will never, ever see the light of day for an NHL team (Jim Balsillie really was the city’s only hope) but apparently the city of Hamilton disagrees with that. Blow it up and build condos and rethink an arena in Hamilton or Greater Hamilton.

[url=http://www.thespec.com/news-story/5454349-a-rethink-on-horrible-jackson-square-entrance/]http://www.thespec.com/news-story/54543 ... -entrance/[/url]

All the demo costs I have ever seen are gov't numbers. It would be interesting to invite private sector proposals (no contract guaranteed) and see what it would truly cost. Maybe even make the land it is on part of the deal (i.e., demo the place and you can build there, right on top of a Metro station). Be surprised if it was hundreds of millions of dollars.

Who ever thought Olympic Stadium would come to the point of basically being an embarrassement for the city and province. But that being said, people continue to go to the place for games like the Grey Cup and Impact games and even games that mean nothing like Blue Jays exhibition games.

Grew up in Quebec in the 60s/70s, and recall the sad history of construction unions and contractors extorting the organizers to drive the costs through the roof (pun intended), and the ridiculous decision in the first place to choose a stylish stadium design that was impractical for the environment. Had it been designed as a fixed roof, with the roof added post-Olympics (which would have had some additional cost - but nothing compared to the Taillibert "vanity" design) its history would be so different. The parachute roof might have been fine in a temperate climate, but not Montreal.

So the eventual "embarrassment" status was, sadly, virtually guaranteed.

Actually at the time the IOC demanded and Open air stadium. The idea of a retractable roof was that it would be better equipped to handle Canadian winters. Its a concrete structure, well maintained it could work for a long time but it is in need of a renovation similar to what happened at BC place. With the technology available today it could be one of the most functional and breathtaking stadiums in the world but it will cost 1 billion dollars. Quebec simply does not have the money after all the bad decisions that have been made and the decrepit infrastructure of the city. They have over 200 schools that are on average over 80 years old filled with asbestos, radon, uroformaldehyde. Busted water and clay lines. Bridges that can take out 40 thousand people and a road system designed in the 20's... I would not be surprised to see the place condemned in the next decade. Hopefully no one gets hurt.

Generally agree. As for the highlighted part, that is true and why I suggested that they should have designed for a conventional, fixed roof to be installed after the games rather than the pretty-pretty fanky-smancy tower and parachute. But hindsight is 20/20.

Should’ve, Could’ve, Would’ve - what does it matter what was supposed to happen 40 years ago. The question is what do they do with it now? Does the government spend another $500 million putting a new lid on it, or do they keep it the way it is and use it as from April to November facility with the bad weather clause?
With Quebec on a spending freeze it’s likely the “Big Owe” will stay the way it is for many years. Don’t expect money to put on a new roof or money to tear it down and don’t expect money for a QC stadium new or renovated.

Yes, and I don't think the baseball fans in Quebec should be thinking that the province is going to put money into a MLB stadium either.

Hamilton did the right thing with the monies available to build a solid stadium from head to toe without spending on fancy cosmetic bells and whistles. Lesson learned from the Big Owe. A roof or awnings like in Winnipeg of any sort is expensive and you don't want to do these if you have to cut corners on the actual building of a quality stadium itself.

With the Big Owe roof the way it is I suppose they could play baseball there from Apr to the end of Oct. You are right a government funded baseball stadium is out of the question. They can pack the Big Owe for the baseball spring games but I doubt they could maintain crowds there after the first season.

As I said previously, before they make decisions I would love to see some private sector, non-binding, bids from companies from anywhere in the world on the cost of a safe demolition/deconstruction (likely not a simple implosion because of the construction and the Metro stop under it). Don't trust the gov't estimates on this, let alone gov't estimates from an office that was either (probably?) neck deep in the recent construction scandals or so inept that they couldn't see what was going on around them.

Throw the land in and I bet not only does the cost suddenly get reasonable but there is then an multi-facetted, "economic development" project for politicians to crow about.

The Olympic Stadium

Fact and fiction

Over the years, many have expressed their feelings or perceptions about the Olympic Stadium, some of which are true, some of which are false. Here are a few facts about the Olympic Park and the Stadium to help set the record straight.


Since 1976, the Stadium, Sports Centre and Montréal Tower have welcomed more than 100 million visitors.

The Stadium alone has had over 66 million visitors since 1976, equivalent to the entire Québec population almost nine times over.

The Stadium is the only site in Québec where it is possible to host crowds the size of the population of Saint-Jérôme, i.e. 60,000 people.

A single, 60,000-spectator event at the Stadium is equal to a full-house at a 2,000-seat hall for 30 days.

Since 1977, the Stadium has been used an average of 190 days per year.

If Montréal did not have such a large stadium, the city and the province would not be in the running for large-scale national and international events, including the Grey Cup, the FIFA U-20 World Cup and big rock concerts. These events would all be held elsewhere in Canada or in the United States, meaning Québec would lose out on the great visibility and economic spinoffs they generate.

Over the past three years, the Stadium has been host to some 20 major exhibitions and fairs, such as: the Cottage and Country Homes Show and RV Show; several major national and international sporting events, including CFL Eastern finals, the 2008 Grey Cup game, nine FIFA U-20 World Cup games, the CONCACAF quarter-final match and the Trophée des Champions; a number of motor-sport events, including the Supermotocross and Monster Spectacular; large-scale rock concerts, including AC/DC and Genesis; film shoots, etc.

It is the only venue in Québec capable of hosting more than 22,000 spectators, with 60,000-plus seating capacity.

Since 1977, the Stadium has been used an average of 190 days per year.

Without the Stadium, Québec would miss out on hosting a number of major cultural and sporting events.


The Stadium is an important driver of Montréal’s and Québec’s, economy. A single Grey Cup game produces spinoffs worth an estimated $50 million. A study conducted by Secor in 2009 revealed that the economic spinoffs for Québec from out-of-province tourists alone could go as high as $160 million per year if the Stadium were used 12 months out of the year, and this is considered a conservative figure.

Since 1977, the RIO has brought in an average of more than $20 million per year in operating revenue. This compares favourably with the revenues generated by other large stadiums, and that’s not counting that, since 1999, the Stadium has closed for four months out of the year, thus restricting its operating capability and revenue-generating capacity.

Despite closing in winter, the Stadium has some 50% self-funding rate, which compares favourably with other public assets.

As is the case with other public assets, the world’s greatest stadiums receive a balancing subsidy from the government. Even small neighbourhood arenas are subsidized by their municipal government.


A survey by Léger Marketing* revealed that:

The Stadium ranks first among the symbols of Montréal (48% of spontaneous responses).

80% of Quebecers have a positive opinion of the Stadium.

93% say we need to make greater use of it.

81% are in favour of a new roof.

95% of Quebecers are opposed to its demolition. Demolishing the Stadium is not an option: given its unique post-tension, pre-stressed concrete structure and its proximity to the metro and residential areas, the Stadium cannot be demolished using dynamite. Like a giant Meccano toy set, the Stadium would have to be taken apart piece by piece. This would take several years, cost some $700 million, and require the disposal of tons of concrete… but most importantly, it would deprive us of the largest Stadium in the province.

  • Survey conducted in March 2009 among 1,500 respondents in Québec.

A single Grey Cup game generates spinoffs worth an estimated $50 million.

Since 1977, the Stadium has brought in an average of $20 million per year in operating revenue.

Large-scale events like the AC/DC concert in August 2009 stimulate the economy.


In total, repaying the mortgage ($1.5 billion) for all the facilities combined - the Olympic Village and its subsequent conversion to rental apartments, the Velodrome and its conversion to the Biodôme, and the Stadium and adjacent Sports Centre—took 30 years. That’s not much for such massive structures. A mortgage on a house can take just as long to pay off.

These were the only public buildings to have an actual mortgage. The costs for other public facilities are charged to municipal, provincial and federal consolidated expenditures.

The final mortgage payment for the Olympic Park facilities was made on November 14, 2006. Most of the money used to pay back the mortgage came from the special Olympic fund, which was financed by a portion (which has fluctuated over the years, but has been around 8% over the last few years) of the provincial tax on tobacco products.

Numerous factors contributed to the cost overages associated with the Stadium’s construction. First, in spite of all the studies conducted at the time, we could not have predicted the extent of the problems we would encounter with the soil. The foundation needed modifications, incurring $12 million in additional costs for the Velodrome alone, equivalent to the initial budget for the entire facility. Next, there was the price of steel, which rose dramatically during the construction phase. Initially set at $200/ton, the price climbed to $900 in just six months, then to $1,200 by the time the work was complete! The Stadium has over 1,000 kilometres of high-tensile steel cable running through the concrete blocks that form its structure. In addition, difficult working relationships on the site also led to several delays that had to be recovered, and thus incurred further expenses. And these are just a few of the many unforeseeable problems that made costs soar.

To most Quebecers, the Stadium is THE symbol of Montréal.

More than 66 million people have visited the Stadium.

The Stadium has hosted thousands of events of all kinds since 1977.

Nice post, Charukfan. It’s good to look at something from a perspective different from the usual. :thup:

Let’s hope the city gets to host more Grey Cups there in the not-too-distant future.

Agree with Jukeon, excellent read Charukfan.

I don't pretend to know what the answer is for Montreal and that stadium but without a regular tenant do you spend hundreds of millions just for the odd special event? Maybe the answer is yes but that seems pricey to me without some sort of regular tenant to guarantees a certain number of dates of use.

Those numbers in that report are spun in the most positive light possible to make the Big Owe sound good. I love how they talk about Stadium numbers dating back to 1976, but any recent annual numbers they will seemingly only provide a number of visitors to the entire Olympic Park complex (including pool and Saputo Stadium) to sort of hide how few actually use the stadium itself these days.

66 million visitors since 1976 sounds good, but how many of those visited in the first 20 years or so compared to how many have visited in the last 15 - 20 years. I'm guessing here but I suspect they were near the 50 million mark by the mid 90's with ever dwindling numbers since. Just for comparison just since 1989 the smaller capacity Rogers Centre is already over 60 million and will likely pass 66 million by next year.

An MLB team, if it drew well in the Big O, would help, that's for sure.

Whether some like it or not, it is an architectural landmark. I don't think some Canadians/Quebecers see it in the same light as people abroad. The esteemed President of FIFA, Septic Bladder called Olympic Stadium "a jewel". Seriously. But then again he was the guy who said women soccer players should wear tighter shorts.

OK tearing it down is not an option. Cost and logistics wise.
Well then, if the people of Montreal are this positive about it , they should desire and enjoy having the Als move back in.
After the Molson Stadium lease is up.

I did not think it would happen, but based on this glowing report maybe it should.
If they like it , then use it.

I know when they had to move to Molson for the playoff game because of a concert .
That spiked their popularity.
However , now that they have the loyal fan base they could move back.
Again , based on this popularity report.

Montreal is an interesting market.
When Oly opened 77, it was the place to be . Set a Grey Cup record in the Staple Bowl.
As the team got weaker and weaker then fans stayed away. Finally folded.

Then in 91/92 the WL Machine came to town and had huge crowds despite a bad team.
They were glad to have pro football back. That folded
Then the 95 Champions moved to Montreal.
Not only did montreal have a CFL team again, but the champions.
Yet this time , poor crowds.

I could not figure that one out.
Moving to Molson most likely saved the team.
Then it was the thing to do again.

They have done great with playoff games and recent Grey Cups.
Not sure how a permanent move back to Oly would work in the long run.
Maybe great at first, but if the team starts loosing , like in the 80's they might stay away.
Although I am sure the modern fans are more loyal than those of the 80's.

Yet, according to this report, should be good.

At this point its not much more use than the Roman Coliseum. It needs a massive renovation.

Ask the NFL if they think it’s a “jewel”. :stuck_out_tongue: :lol: Agree Hf, massive reno, what type of reno and whether it’s worth it, don’t have a clue. I still think the major reno would be to get rid of it once there is a huge amount of money required to be put into it to reach code to have anybody even go into the place for an event. At that point it’s time for the demolition companies to submit their bids. Basically that’s what happened in Hamilton. Give it time, all stadiums reach that point at some point, even the houses we live in of course. I’ve seen decent looking houses here in Hamilton in older areas that have huge lots that you can’t get in a new subdivisioin demolished completely and a huge brand spanking new house goes up and beside it you might have another tearer downer. But new subdivisions don’t often come, if ever, with a huge lot and nice view, in this case Niagara Escarpment views that have some older homes on it with huge lots.

Apples and oranges time again.

Wonder if they could do something like they are doing with the Houston Astrodome.
It was to be torn down , but was bought and being turned into an indoor park / entertainment center including sporting events.

If not, it will be looking like the Pontiac Silverdome.
Crumbles bit by bit, where she sits.

Man I am glad that thing is not in Calgary for me to pay for.