Montreal’s Big O, Or Owe, May Get Yet Another Roof

It is just a boat load of loonies.

There may be a new roof in the future for the Montreal Olympic Stadium and it might be ready in time for the only 2026 World Cup soccer match that will be played in Montreal.  That would be a first for the stadium that was supposed to have a roof for the 1976 Summer Olympics and for Major League Baseball’s Montreal Expos in 1977. The story of the Big O, short for the Olympics, or the Big OWE as in the cost of the stadium project is still being written and it is quite a tale. The roof is just part of the tale that started in the mid-1960s when Montreal elected officials decided that the city should seek a Major League Baseball team and the Olympics. A domed stadium was needed for the baseball team. By 1970, a domed stadium was being planned and that the venue would open in 1972. That never happened but the stadium plan continued and it included a retractable roof that would spring from a tower. That never happened either because the tower was never completed. It would not be finished until 1987.

In 1970, it was estimated the cost of the Montreal stadium would be about $134 million Canadian. When the final bill was sent to taxpayers for money going to pay for the building in 2006, the estimated cost of the stadium was about $1.6 billion Canadian. Along the way, the tower that was supposed to house the roof caught fire during construction and a piece of the tower fell onto the field in 1986. A roof appeared in 1987 but ripped and leaked. In 1991, a support beam gave away and crashed. The roof has been a long time problem but putting a top on the stadium will not bring back the Expos. A new stadium would especially with a working roof would do the trick.

Montreal and the MLB