Monday, 5 March 2012

Olympic Stadium an embarrassment to Montreal, Quebec and Canada

You know when you write a headline for shock value, overstating something for effect? Well this isn't one of those headlines. With the latest Olympic Stadium debacle, where a parking lot chunk of concrete fell, this albatross around the necks of Montrealers is once again being called into question.
The Big Owe - what a piece of crap

You remember the Olympic Stadium, right? The most pathetic, out-of-date structure in the history of sports venues? It's the one in the wrong part of town, with too much of a walk-up to actually get inside. You know, the one we all call the Big Owe (coined by the late Ted Tevan). It's that engineering marvel that isn't permitted to be used in the winter months due to snow and safety concerns. Fantastic. 

I am sickened, saddened and angered by the constant reminder of Montreal being the only large city in North America without an indoor/retractable roof facility with over 35,000 seats. 

When you think of just how close the city and province was to the building of Labatt Park back in the late 90's, in an effort to save the Montreal Expos, it almost makes you want to cry. Instead, Expos fans were forced to sit in the echo-rich Big Owe, wondering how something this ugly, uncomfortable and maddening was ever designed. 

Add in the fact that a 2010 report came out calling for another $300 million to be spent on this monstrosity, and it stirs up ideas of demonstrations and sit-ins. Enough is enough. Get rid of this sore on the metaphorical ass of Montreal and let's look respectable again. 

Oh but wait, reports also have indicated that it would cost too much to demolish the Olympic Stadium, estimated in the $500 million range. So I know, let's spend more and more money on this beast and keep feeding it until we've spent the equivalent of 15 new downtown stadiums. 

Everyone knows just how passionate I am about baseball and how I lament its departure from Montreal. But come on, people! Even the artsy-fartsy types out there have got to agree that this East-End joke-of-venue is getting out of hand. At this point, my blood is boiling to the point where it's difficult to type. 

If you take a look around North America, Montreal looks sadly passé. In a world where cities like Milwaukee and Cincinnati have new parks and stadiums, how is Montreal in this predicament? It has come to the point where visiting bands have to build their own stadiums rather than get anywhere near excrement-like bane of every Montrealer's existence. 

So to recap, we're still spending hundreds of millions of dollars on the Olympic Stadium, it is unstable, it cannot be used during certain months of the year, the atmosphere is cavernous and it's located in an undesirable area of the city. Yep, let's pour more money into it and say we're not in need of something better. 

You don't think that a new stadium wouldn't get its uses? This is the city of events! Bands, monster truck rallies, raves, football and soccer games, conventions, etc... The appeal of Montreal is so incredible that a new venue would be the missing piece to our city's re-summit as THE place to be in this country. 

But alas, we're doomed to continue to be overlooked by big-thinking concert promoters, sports leagues, and any other well-to-do individual or organization considering Montreal as a destination for great things. 

Remember when Rodger Brulotte said that he knew a group of businessmen exploring the idea of trying to get a Major League Baseball team back here? Well Rodger, tell them to step up! Now is the time. The government of Quebec and the city of Montreal are feeling shame and frustration. This is the time to inquire about how a new facility could put Montreal back on the map. 

Don't be shy, Rodger, tell them to belt it out over every airwave. Because of this mysterious group truly does exist, they've just been dealt a couple of nice pocket cards. 

Follow Matthew on Twitter @TSNmatthew. Listen to TSN 990 Radio for Game Points, Tuesdays and Sundays in Montreal or online at 

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