An Olympic-Size Error

the mag

Year Montreal Hosted the Summer Olympics: 1976

Year Canadian Citizens Finished Paying for Those Games: 2006

The 1976 Summer Games were expected to cost $300 million Canadian. Not to worry, however; city officials assured Montreal's residents that revenue from the Games would cover costs. "The Olympic Games can no more lose money than a man can have a baby," announced then-mayor Jean Drapeau. You Mister Moms out there (and there are apparently plenty of you) would be interested to know that the final bill for the 1976 Olympics came to nearly $2 billion Canadian. Much of that was public debt paid off by average Canadians, and the final payment wasn't processed until November 2006.

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During its 20 years in use, the rip-prone Kevlar top required $700,000 in annual upkeep.

Fed up, the city finally just replaced the thing with the less-flashy non-retractable kind in 1998. Still no luck. When covered with ice and snow, the new roof was unstable, forcing the stadium to close during the winter (when its value as an indoor arena would be at its highest). What's worse, now that Olympic Stadium is paid in full, the city is hesitant to take responsibility for it. That's because the facility's key tenant, baseball's Montreal Expos, relocated to Washington, D.C., in 2005.

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