Montréal’s space-age Olympic Stadium, the centerpiece of the 1976 Olympic Games, looks like a giant stapler. The main event is the 165m (541-ft.) inclined tower, which leans at a 45-degree angle and does duty as an observation deck, with a funiculaire that whisks passengers to the top in 2 minutes. On a clear day, the deck bestows an expansive view over Montréal and into the neighboring Laurentian mountains. At C$22.50, though, the admission price is as steep as the tower.
The complex includes a stadium that seats up to 56,000 for sporting events and music concerts. The Sports Centre houses swimming pools that are generally open for public swimming and classes, although the Centre was closed in 2014 for major renovations and not expected to reopen until at least January 2015.
A 20-minute guided “quick tour” describing the 1976 Olympic Games and use of the center today are available daily for C$10. The roof doesn’t retract anymore—it never retracted well anyway. That’s one reason why “the Big O” was scorned as “the Big Woe” and then “the Big Owe” after cost overruns led to heavy tax increases.
- Leslie Brokaw, Erin Trahan, Matthew Barber