Canadian Consulting Engineer

New roof for Montreal’s Big O?

May 17, 2009
By Canadian Consulting Engineer

Plans are in store to give Montreal's infamous Olympic Stadium a new roof that will cost between $75 and $100 milli...

Plans are in store to give Montreal’s infamous Olympic Stadium a new roof that will cost between $75 and $100 million.

The Montreal Installations Board has approved a design by SNC-Lavalin for a steel roof and submitted plans to the province. Because the new roof would be heavier than the present fabric roof, the supporting concrete tower and support structure would likely also

have to be upgraded. SNC-Lavalin submitted its proposal following a call for proposals in 2008, but the Quebec government has to give its approval.

Built for the 1976 Olympics, the massive Olympic Park stadium has been plagued by problems from the start. Its Kevlar roof was not completed until 10 years after the Olympic Games. In 1991 a block of concrete weighing 55 tonnes fell off a support beam. In 1999, another section of the roof collapsed.


Nicknamed the “Big Owe” because of the huge debt incurred to build it and the other Olympic structures, the 58,000-seat stadium became home to the Montreal Expos baseball team until the team was sold to Washington, D.C.

The stadium roof’s support tower is still the world’s tallest inclined structure at 175 metres. Roger Taillibert of France was the architect.



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