Here's what Montreal should do with the Olympic Stadium

Feb 25 2022, 5:51 pm

How can we put this? Uh… the Olympic Stadium sucks.

It’s no secret that Montrealers have a strained relationship with the Big O. Built in the mid-1970s as the main venue for the 1976 Summer Olympics, the Olympic Stadium has never reached its full potential.

In 2006, the stadium’s costs were finally paid off in full — more than three decades later. Total costs, including initial renovations, 30 years’ worth of repairs, interest, and inflation, have totalled over $1.7 billion, making it one of the most expensive stadiums ever built.

And yet, the Big O isn’t really used for much. The Desjardins Group has some offices in the Montreal Tower and the Olympic Stadium hosts the occasional sporting event and monster truck show.

It’s not exactly worth nearly $2 billion.

But you know what could be? A massive indoor heated beach.

How about this?

Seagaia Ocean Dome in Japan (via: @viagem.simples/Instagram)

Given the fact that Quebecers spend most of the year in freezing cold and snow, imagine if the Olympic Stadium was transformed into a 3,646,087 sq ft heated indoor beach?

A fabricated beach-like setting used to exist and Montreal could follow in its footsteps. In 1993, the Japanese city of Miyazaki had a gigantic indoor beach called the Seagaia Ocean Dome.

The Ocean Dome was covered with a huge retractable roof but Montreal wouldn’t have to mimic that since the roof has been a constant burden. Instead, Montreal could permanently make the roof out of glass so imitation beachgoers could sit on imported sand and stare off into the real Montreal winter sky.

Are you still with us?

If you’ve ever been to a waterpark, the Olympic Stadium could take aspects of that and completely fill the Big O’s 1,00,000 sq ft floor with sand.

Heck, we could even change the stadium’s moniker to the “Big O-cean.”

Think about it, cold Quebecers could flock to the “Big Ocean” as if they were spending vacation in a tropical paradise, just you know, completely fabricated.

The city could plant trees, have industrial-grade heated lamps, a wave pool, sand, hammocks, lounge chairs, and a wooden boardwalk. It could be like a beach away from the beach.

Seagaia Ocean Dome in Japan

If the Olympic Stadium’s neighbour, the BiodĂ´me, can create five different ecosystems of the Americas under one roof, the Big O could simulate one: a hot beach.

Montreal is no stranger to man-made beaches. The Clock Tower Beach in the Old Port is completely fabricated, so too is Beachclub in Pointe-Calimet, and Verdun’s urban beach, which opened in 2019.

It’d be the same concept, just on a massive indoor scale.

The Olympic Stadium also has the capacity for lodging, parking, and restaurants. Imagine taking a few days off in the dead of winter and booking several days at the Big O Hotel? Chow down some lobster rolls, a poutine, and sip back some margaritas, all just a few steps outside of Pie-IX metro.

Let’s make use of Quebec’s nearly $2 billion seldom-used catastrophe. Nicki Minaj said it best: “Let’s go to the beach-each, let’s go get a wave…”

Plus, the marketing practically takes care of itself: who wants to spend a few days at the Olympbeach Stadium?

If you need me, I’ll be the guy sipping back real piĂąa coladas under the fake palm trees.

Ty JadahTy Jadah

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