(Took an article from Uncle Johns Bathroom Reader)
The main facility, Olympic Stadium, was a futuristic-looking building with a curved 556-foot tower that was meant to be a lasting symbol of the games.
And it is-It’s come to symbolize the financial disaster of the Montreal Olympics.
The games were mostly paid for by the provincial government of Quebec, and at that time Montreal mayor Jean Drapeau assured residents that the revenues generated by the sports events would offset the expense of holding them.
“The Montreal Olympics can no more have a deficit than a man have a baby” Drapeau Boasted.
When Montreal won the bid in 1970, organizers said the games would cost $310 Million.
But the cost overruns and frequent labor strikes pushed up the final cost to just under $2 billion. Most of that money was connected to building Olympic Stadium, designed by french architect Roger Taillibert.
Initially projected to cost $150 million, it had a final price of $800 Million…and the tower and retractable roof weren’t even finished on time. (The roof wasn’t finished until 1987, more than a decade later)
Taillibert also designed the bicycling velodrome, which cost $59 million–5 times the original estimate. After the games, the velodrome was converted into a biosphere, and the Montreal Expo’s baseball team moved into Olympic Stadium.
But in 1986, a mysterious explosion in the tower caused it to burst into flames (It was later repaired), and in the late 1980’s, roof tiles began dropping onto the playing field.
The province of Quebec did eventually pay off its Olympic debt through a tobacco tax.
The last payment was made in October 2006-30 years after the closing ceremonies.