A white elephant is burdensome possession which cannot be disposed of, and whose upkeep far outweighs its usefulness. Montreal’s Olympic Stadium is a perfect example of a white elephant. Construction began in 1973, and was not completed until 1987. It was barely opened in time for the Olympics, but the tower and retractable roof (which has never actually retracted) remained unfinished.
The stadium was originally only supposed to cost $134 million, but to date has cost the city more than a billion dollars. Because of the subway line running underneath, the cost of dismantling the stadium is estimated around $700,000,000; but it also needs a new roof, which could cost an additional $300,000,000. It is an unenviable choice for the city of Montreal.
The stadium might be an abject disaster, but nonetheless it is a spectacular example of Modern architecture. It is an organic look, not at all out of place in the surrounding park. Since the Montreal Expos baseball team left in 2004, the stadium is without tenants, apart from occasional CFL games, so the main attraction here is the slanting tower. It is the tallest slanting tower in the world at 175m. It offers an excellent view of Montreal and its surroundings. The view is not as good as the one from Mount Royal, but makes for an interesting attraction nonetheless.
Location: 4141 Avenue Pierre de Coubertin, Montreal H1V 3N7
Telephone: (514) 252 4141
Metro: Pie-IX, Viau
Admission: Admission charge.