Congratulations, Montréal, on finally paying for the 1976 Olympic Games

Assuming everything went according to plan, Montréal today made the final payment on Olympic Stadium (or Le Stade Olympique), originally built for the 1976 Olympic Games, and nicknamed "The Big O" (or "The Big Owe", if you prefer). Before you snicker, at least you have to give them credit for keeping the stadium until it was paid off. The Seattle Kingdome opened just a few months before Montréal's Olympic Stadium, but we demolished it in 2000 even though we will still be paying for it until 2012.

Comments (11)
  1. Miles Archer says:

    Demolishing the kingdome was too good for it.

  2. alexandre.r. says:

    That’s true, but, had it been demolished, the province would have ‘saved’ tons of money by not having to repair the roof over and over again…

  3. bramster says:

    Actually, the Montreal Olympic site was only partially un-demolished, if I can use that term.

    In 1990 chainsaws were applied to the teak track of the Olympic Velodrome, and the building converted to a zoological garden.

    The Montreal Velodrome was arguable the best cycling track in the world, and its destruction was considered by the cycling community in Eastern Canada as "The Crime of the Century".  

    In the 1980s, many of us in Ottawa, Ontario, travelled the 125 miles to Montreal on a weekly basis in order to "ride the track" during the winter months.

    The cycling track from the 1996 Atlanta Olympics was acquired, and moved to Bromont, Quebec, between Montreal and Quebec City.  Although a fine track, it is outdoors, and as such unavailable for cycling during the winter.

  4. Mike Morton! says:

    The reason the Kingdome didn’t last as long as the Big O was because the Big O never got replaced.

    Thanks Jeffery Loria!!

  5. We’ll have to wait until September, though. There’s 15 millions remaining to pay, probably because cigarette(*) sales went down lately.

    (*) There is a tax on cigarettes sold in the province of Québec, to help pay the Olympic Stadium!

  6. KB says:

    When writing in English, it is generally acceptable to drop the accent aigu on Montreal (Montréal).  Same thing for Quebec (Québec).  Something like the difference between Vienna and Wein, I figure.

    Has anyone else ever noticed that in Americans tend to pronounce Montreal MON-tre-ALL (the way it’s spelled), while Anglophone Canadians say MUN-tre-ALL?  I find that curious whenever the city is mentioned in American movies.

  7. Norman Diamond says:

    Montréal today made the final payment

    It looks to me like the article states correctly that the province paid it off.  The city won the bid with its mayor’s famous promise, but the province decided that its most distant rural residents would get to help pay for it.  Maybe it’s just pure luck that the rest of the country didn’t have to pay for it.

    Though now I live in a country where the national government spent 10 years spending the entire national economy into near oblivion, outdoing even what Trudeau could have done if he’d thought of it.

  8. Kzinti says:

    In French, you do not pronounce the "T" at all… Mon-re-all.

  9. KB says:


    > Maybe it’s just pure luck that the rest of the country didn’t have to pay for it.

    Depends on how you do your accounting.  The rest of Canada pays a hefty premium for the privilege of having Quebec as a part of the country.

  10. Matt says:

    KB: Regarding the pronunciation, yes, I did notice this.  When I lived in Canada, I made a conscious effort to say it the "Canadian" way so as not to appear too obviously American.

  11. Isaac Lin says:

    Maybe something is getting lost in the transliteration. As a native Montrealer, I find Americans tend to say MAHN-tree-ALL, and to my ears, we are saying MON-tree-ALL (O as in cot).

    Although the stadium is still there, it is mostly unused since the Expos moved. The Canadian football franchise, the Alouettes, will play playoff games there for the extra seating, and the occasional motocross or monster truck rally will be held in the stadium. Thanks to the incident when snow fell through the roof during the setup for the

    annual Montreal car show, it doesn’t get much (if any) use as a convention site anymore.

    The Quebec government was making plans for replacing the existing roof, so I guess they may go back into debt on the stadium again…

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