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Stade Olympique
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Stade Olympique

Olympic Stadium/Stade Olympique
The Big O

Location Montreal, Quebec
Opened July 17, 1976 (Olympics)
April 15, 1977 (Baseball)
Capacity 43,739 (Baseball)
56,245 (Football)
Owned By Régie des installations olympiques (Government of Quebec)
Architect: Roger Taillibert
Dimensions:

Left
Left-Center
Center
Right-Center
Right


325 ft.
375 ft.
404 ft.
375 ft.
325 ft.
Stade Olympique (English: Olympic Stadium) is a multi-purpose stadium located in Montreal. It hosted ceremonies for the 1976 Summer Olympics and has been the home ballpark of Major League Baseball's Montreal Expos since 1977. The park opened for baseball on April 15, 1977, with the Philadelphia Phillies beating the Montreal Expos 7-2. The Expos have played their home games at the stadium since then, excepting a few home games played on the road in 1991 and a handful of games played at Hiram Bithorn Stadium in San Juan, Puerto Rico in 2003 and 2004.

Nicknamed "The Big O", the stadium was designed to be a very elaborate facility and was to feature a retractable roof, which was to be retracted by a huge 556 foot (approx. 169 1/2 meters) tower - a foot taller than the Washington Monument and the tallest inclined structure in the world - located outside of the stadium. Designed by Paris architect Roger Taillibert, the park was very expensive , with the total cost of the stadium being over C$11 billion. Due to its extremely high cost, the stadium has also been dubbed The Big Owe.

Problems plagued the stadium from the time it opened for the Olympic Games. The 58,500 seat stadium was not fully completed in time for the games due to strikes by construction workers. Both the tower and the roof, made of over 60,000 feet (approximate 18,500 meters) of kevlar, were not completed for over a decade, and it wasn't until 1988 when it was possible to retract the roof. The 65-ton roof then proved difficult to retract, and was occasionally torn in heavy winds.

The roof is only 171 feet above the field of play. As a result, a number of pop-ups and long home runs have hit the roof since play began, necessitating the painting of orange lines on the roof to separate foul balls from fair balls.

Olympic Stadium was remodeled in 1991, with 12,000 seats being removed for Expos games. In September of that year, one of the stadium's 55-ton concrete beams fell, forcing the Expos to play a handful of home games on the road. The following season, the roof on the stadium became permanent. It was removed in May of 1998, turning the park into an outdoor stadium for the season. A new permanent roof was installed for the 1999 season, and has remained on the park since.

In addition to the Expos, the park was home to the Canadian Football League's Montreal Alouettes for a number of years, but they now use the Percival Molson Stadium of McGill University. However, the stadium is often still used for the team's playoff games. The stadium also has various other multipurpose uses: indoor exhibitions, monster truck shows, and so forth.

The stadium is directly connected to the Pie-IX station on the Green Line of the Montreal Metro.

Sources