With the Summer Olympic Games on their mark in London, Montreal’s own Olympic legacy comes to mind. Yes, a few things have changed since 1976, but the impact the XXI Olympiad had on the city is still felt today at Montreal’s Olympic Park, a hub of athletic and family-friendly activity – especially with this summer’s brand-new outdoor esplanade – and home to a must-see Montreal view…
Located in the east-end Montreal neighbourhood of Hochelaga-Maisonneuve, between Pie-IX and Viau metro stations, the Olympic Park boasts a sports centre complete with Olympic-level pools, Saputo soccer stadium, playing fields, the Biodome, Botanical Gardens, Insectarium, and of course the Olympic stadium and adjacent Montreal Tower, a structure that can be seen across the city (my favourite view of it is from Jeanne-Mance Park at Rachel Street).
Montreal went all out when it built the Olympic Tower, which remains the tallest inclined tower in the world: French architect Roger Taillibert designed it to be built 165 metres high and lean at a 45-degree angle. Ride the elevator way up to the observation room at the top of the tower any day of the week for a spectacular view of the city, Mount Royal, the St-Lawrence River and beyond. It’s also an awesome place to view the fireworks competition this summer.
And, oh, this summer will be sweet out in the east end. Not only are our Major League Soccer team, the Montreal Impact, playing hard and fast at Saputo Stadium, but a whole new area of the Olympic Park will open on June 1.
The Esplanade Sun Life Financial fills the once-empty area next to the Stadium fittingly with sports activities (to participate in and to watch, for all ages, from basketball to tennis to extreme sports like parkour), as well as cultural performances and dance classes in tango, salsa and more, plenty of live music (including an August 9 free concert by the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, country-western themed days and shows by Montreal indie-rock bands), a large urban garden, a weekend of circus (July 7-8), and plenty more until September begins again.
Olympic Park, 4141 Pierre-de Coubertin, (514) 252-4141
(Tip: Check out the STM’s Family Outings package, which offers discounts on public transportation and family-friendly fun.)