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Québec government pushes forward with revamp of Olympic Stadium

Coalition Avenir Québec, the ruling political party in the Canadian province, has committed to Montreal’s Olympic Stadium after tabling a bill that will reform management of the facility and install a new roof at the venue.

Opened in July 1976 for Montreal’s staging of that year’s Summer Olympic Games, the 56,040-capacity stadium has long been promised a new roof. The CAQ government’s new bill will see the Olympic Installations Board rebranded as the Societé de développement et de la mise en valeur du Parc Olympique, or Olympic Park.

The change is designed to give more power to the body to bid for major events, while also granting it the ability to sign its own contracts with other organisations and governments, in addition to long-term leases with suppliers and corporate entities.

Olympic Park will market the entire site housing the Olympic Stadium, including the venue’s iconic tower and the Biodôme and Saputo Stadium. “It’s time we gave prestige and standing back to the Olympic Park and the Olympic Stadium,” Tourism Minister Caroline Proulx said, according to the Montreal Gazette newspaper. “For too long it has been not loved or under-loved by Quebecers.”

The project to install a new roof at the Olympic Stadium has been given added impetus by Montreal’s status as a host city for the joint staging of the 2026 FIFA World Cup, which will bring together Canada, the United States and Mexico.

The cost of a new roof has previously been pegged at between C$200m (£117.3m/€133m/$148.1m) and C$300m, and the Gazette noted that the CAQ government’s strong financial status places the project at an advantage when compared to previous attempts to complete it.

The plan is to have a new roof installed by 2024. “We will be working on replacing the roof, it is mandatory to change the roof,” Proulx said. “We will change the roof. The business plan will be tabled in the next few months.”

According to Canadian broadcaster CTV, the project will not impact on plans to develop a new baseball stadium in Montreal. Groupe de Montréal, an entity seeking to return a Major League Baseball (MLB) franchise to the city, last week reached an agreement for a plot of land on which it is seeking to build a stadium.

Image: Tim Rawle