Montreal Olympic Stadium to get new roof, project to cost $870M

"We're investing for 50 years. We're doing this for you, your kids and your grandkids," says Quebec tourism minister, Caroline Proulx, of a new roof for Montreal's Olympic stadium. The project estimated at $870 million. Anastasia Dextrene reports.

By News Staff

Quebec is going ahead with the replacement of Montreal’s Olympic Stadium roof, a project expected to cost $870 million.

Tourism Minister Caroline Proulx, alongside Olympic Park President and CEO Michel Labrecque, and others, made the announcement during a press conference at the Big O on Monday morning.

“We’re investing for 50 years. That’s what we’re doing. We’re doing this for you, your kids and your grandkids with all the commercial potential that is available here in the stadium,” said Proulx. “We’re looking at the Beyoncé tour and the Taylor Swift tour – only to speak about them. What they generate as fiscal revenues for either the government or the city is tremendous. So we have an obligation in regards to the building itself to go forward once and for all.”

The new roof will be fixed, rigid and feature a transparent glass hoop – with a life expectancy of 50 years. “This distinctive element will become the largest window on the sky in Montreal, allowing the enclosure to be flooded with daylight or offering the public a view of the starry night, thus honoring the idea of its designer, Roger Taillibert (the original architect).”

“The aim is to restore this Quebec landmark to its full potential,” said the government in a press release and generate economic spin-offs of nearly $1.5 billion over 10 years.

Adding that the new roof will enable Montreal to become a key player in the event industry – as the Olympic Stadium is the only stadium in Quebec capable of hosting over 50,000 people.

Exploratory work is already underway. The first major milestone in this new phase will be the dismantling of the existing roof, starting this summer.

The work will take place over the next four years, and will be led by the consortium formed by Groupe Construction Pomerleau-Canam, made up of two Quebec flagships.

“With over 20,000 tears, the Olympic Stadium roof has reached the end of its useful life. Its replacement has become necessary in the short term.”

“Montreal will be back on the list of a business like the big tours. Montreal is back! So I’m sure that Taylor Swift will be happy to drop by in Montreal,” added Proulx.

“We may like it or not, like the Big O, but ultimately it’s there to stay. It’s part of our symbols,” said Mayor Valérie Plante. “I think today the government of Quebec is doing the right thing by saying, ‘okay let’s find a permanent solution so we don’t go back to that story in five, 10, 20 years later.”

Montreal Olympic Stadium to get new roof
Montreal Olympic Stadium on Feb. 5, 2024. (CREDIT: Hayder Mahdy, CityNews Image)
Montreal Olympic Stadium to get new roof
Press conference to announce Montreal Olympic Stadium getting new roof. Feb. 5, 2024. (CREDIT: Hayder Mahdy, CityNews Image)

“This government decision deserves to be saluted for its courage. The new roof of the Olympic Stadium will mark an important milestone in the history of this Quebec landmark. We’re giving future generations an Olympic Park that can rival the world’s greatest stadiums, and one that Quebecers can be proud of. I’m looking forward to hosting many memorable, even historic, events here in the decades to come,” said Labrecque.

“The Olympic Stadium is the symbol of Montreal’s east end. This legacy is one of our great attractions, and we must restore it to its former glory if it is to maintain its role as a vector of economic and social development. We have chosen to invest in our heritage to offer unforgettable experiences to future generations,” said Chantal Rouleau, MNA for Pointe-aux-Trembles and Minister responsible for Social Solidarity and Community Action.l

The replacement of the roof and the implementation of the Olympic Park business plan will on an annual basis: increase economic spinoffs from $68 million to nearly $150 million, and gross revenues from $23 million to $61 million; generate tax revenues of over $20 million per year for the Quebec government; increase the number of events, from some 30 to 100 per year, by hosting special sports events, international star tours, large-scale trade shows and conventions, among others; double the number of paying visitors (from 1 million to 2.1 million).

While the Olympic Stadium will be closed for the duration of the work, all other Park facilities will continue to offer a varied program, including various festivals, outdoor activities, trails, the sports center and the stadium tower, where 2,000 employees work on a daily basis.

Last October, Premier Legault said, according to him, a new roof must be installed. He said he wanted to restore the Olympic Stadium to its former glory, even if he knew the operation would be costly.

Montreal Olympic Stadium to get new roof
Press conference to announce Montreal Olympic Stadium getting new roof. Left Michel Labrecque, President and CEO of the Olympic Park and right Caroline Proulx, Quebec Tourism Minister. Feb. 5, 2024. (CREDIT: Hayder Mahdy, CityNews Image)
Montreal Olympic Stadium to get new roof
Montreal Olympic Stadium on Feb. 5, 2024. (CREDIT: Hayder Mahdy, CityNews Image)

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