All in all, I know Montreal pretty well. Even though it’s not my favourite city in Canada, it’s a convenient two-hour drive from Ottawa and I’ve been there many times for work, leisure or simply to catch a flight at Trudeau Airport.
That Sunday, we decided to check out the Olympic Park—I had seen it from afar but I had never been up close. The Park is located in Hochelaga-Maisonneuve, a quiet working class residential neighborhood favoured by newcomers and students. We spotted a few families having breakfast on their balconies, and people doing their morning “beer run” at the local convenience store—unlike in Ontario, booze is sold everywhere in Quebec.
Montreal hosted the 1976 summer Olympic Games, and you can still visit the Olympic Park, containing the Stadium, Olympic Tower, Saputo Stadium, Biodome, Olympic Pool, Maurice Richard Arena, and Parc Maisonneuve.
The stadium is nicknamed “The Big O”, a reference to both its name and to the doughnut-shape of the stadium’s roof; “The Big Owe” name has also been used to reference the astronomical cost of the stadium and the 1976 Olympics as a whole. Seems like every city that hosts the Olympic has budget issues afterwards…!
The stadium is the largest by seating capacity in Canada. After the Olympics, it became the home of Montreal’s professional baseball and Canadian football teams. Since 2004, the stadium has no main tenant, and with a history of financial and structural problems, is largely seen as a white elephant.
The Olympic Park is clearly from another era—concrete, so much concrete…! It feels pretty old and outdated.
We then headed to Sainte Catherine Street, one of Montreal’s major commercial arteries, with hundreds of flagship stores and the famous “underground city”, a huge shopping malls with many retailers. No shopping for me though—we have the same stores in Ottawa!
You can see the complete Montreal set of pictures on Flickr.