People often ask me for directions. Even in places I don’t live. I guess I look local. Especially when I was in Germany.
It happened again outside Montreal’s Olympic Stadium this summer. And while the Canadian city named for Mount Royal, the Corcovado like mountain park located adjacent to the urban center, is a fine place to live and work, I wouldn’t feel the need to return to their Olympic Stadium any time soon.
Actually the observation tower portion of the arena is more interesting. And that’s not really exciting at all.
The Biodome (not the crappy Pauly Shore movie from over a decade ago, but the adjacent science museum) is a million times more exciting yet it’s also a destination I think you can pass up.
But this about the stadium itself, and what a sad state of affairs it currently rests in.
Today, Montreal’s Olympic Stadium is used occasionally for a Montreal Alouettes Canadian football league game, but mostly for trade shows. What kind of trade shows? Boring ones I’m sure. As you walk around this disgustingly ugly spaceship looking eyesore, you’ll notice the horrible degeneration of the sidewalks. There’s weeds growing everywhere; cracks in the foundation, and a fountain that probably was never ever used- even during the Summer Olympics of 1976.
And this facility is exhibit A for why I was happy Chicago didn’t get the games in 2016. Among the many, many reasons you don’t want the Olympics in your city. Granted, Chicago’s plan included a temporary stadium that would be reduced to a small theater once the closing ceremonies were over, but this is what happens when you pour a lot of money into something you never truly use.
Locals call this monstrosity the “big owe” because it was so overpriced and expensive, it took the city my entire lifetime to pay it off. Yes, they made their final payments a couple years ago and what do they have to show for it?
A retractable roof that has literally worked just twice in its lifetime and the world’s most exciting physical therapy office. Yes, check out Stadium Orthopedics, the most lively part of the stadium. Or maybe it’s the Metro stop. You know what they say “a bad day at the ballpark beats a good day anywhere else.” But an average day at the Metro station is superior to the best thing that’s happened here since the Expos left.
The city wouldn’t publicly finance a new stadium for the Expos, and that’s understandable- I don’t believe privately owned, for-profit MLB teams should receive corporate welfare. Why should private businesses get handouts in the form of our hard-earned taxpayer dollars? And that’s why the Expos bailed, and this venue went into the downward spiral it’s in today.
There’s a sign for a Kodak moment, at what was probably a picturesque spot during the games. And now Kodak has fallen off the map, just like the Expos and any interest anyone has in coming here. There’s a lot of kids skateboarding in the plaza with all the flags of the nations that participated in the ’76 games, and my eyes quickly find the old Soviet Union (CCCP), East Germany (DDR) and Yugoslavia. All nations that don’t exist anymore- just like the Expos, and reasons to visit this stadium.
Paul M. Banks is CEO of The Sports Bank.net, an official Google News site that generates millions of unique visitors. He’s also a regular contributor to Chicago Now, Walter Football.com, Yardbarker, and Fox Sports
He does regular weekly radio spots in Chicago and Cleveland and has appeared on live shows all across the world from Houston to New Zealand. You can follow him on Twitter