From falling concrete to shredded roof, a timeline of the Olympic Stadium's struggles

The Quebec government has committed to a new, $250-million roof by 2023. The stadium and its roof have had a checkered history. Here's a look at some of the problems over the years.

Montreal's Big O has a long history of ups and downs. Here's a look at some of them

(Charles Contant/CBC)

The Quebec government has committed to a new, $250-million roof for Montreal's Olympic Stadium by 2023.

The stadium and its roof have had a checkered history from the beginning.

Then-mayor Jean Drapeau presents a mock-up of the Olympic Stadium. 'The Olympics can no more run a deficit than a man can have a baby,' Drapeau said before the games. The stadium went so far over budget that it wasn't paid for until 30 years after the event. (Radio-Canada)

The stadium opened just barely in time for the Olympics in July 1976, although its tower was finished and the roof installed only years later.

Here's a look at some of the problems over the years.


  • August 1986: Explosions and fire in unfinished tower interrupt Expos game. Nobody injured but game is rescheduled.
  • April 1987: Kevlar roof completed and installed.
  • June 1989: Roof lining rips during tractor pull event, forcing evacuation of about 8,000 people.
  • June 1991: Roof tears during windstorm, leaving gaping hole of 30 metres by 15 metres.
  • September 1991: Fifty-five-tonne beam crashes to the ground, closing stadium for 94 days. No one hurt.
  • August 1992: Riot erupts at Guns N' Roses concert when lead singer Axl Rose ends concert after just 55 minutes. Eight of 300-odd police officers called to the scene receive minor injuries amid clashes with rock-and bottle-throwing rioters who use everything from uprooted street lamp to metal barriers to smash windows.
  • January 1994: Interior wall collapses. No one hurt.
  • January 1998: Ice damages stadium roof, sending snow and water onto floor and forcing cancellation of two Rolling Stones concerts.
  • May 1998: Kevlar roof sold for $1 to company specializing in research and development of industrial machinery. Fixed roof installed.
  • January 1999: Section of nine-month-old roof tears and pieces rain down along with ice and snow on 200 people preparing for an auto show. Five people slightly injured.
CBC explores the troubled past and uncertain future of the aging Olympic Stadium. 7:24
  • November 2006: Stadium paid for in full, 30 years after event it was built for. Total cost: $1.47 billion.
  • April 2012: Concrete slab falls from ceiling of underground parking facility. Nobody injured.