4141 Avenue Pierre-De Coubertin, Montréal, QC H1V 3N7, Canada
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Photo by Rodderick Chen / age fotostock
Olympic ParkFor decades, Québec was viewed by many Canadians, and even many Québecois, as a conservative, traditional, and rural part of the country that was falling behind other provinces that were looking optimistically toward the future. Those are the years that would come to be known as the Grande Noirceur, or the Great Darkness. In 1959, Maurice Duplessis, known for his staunch Catholicism as well as fierce anti-Communist and anti-union policies, died, and he was followed by Liberal governments that led the so-called Quiet Revolution. Québec would emerge from this period as a decidedly cosmopolitan and socially liberal province. The Expo 1967 and the 1976 Olympic Games in Montréal proved to be key moments in which newly transformed Québec introduced itself to the world, and the buildings from both had huge impacts on the cityscape. The Olympic Park's stadium, designed by French architect Roger Taillibert, is still used for sporting events as well as concerts. The inclined tower on the site has an observatory with sweeping city views. You can explore on your own, though there are also guided tours that provide an introduction to the architectural and engineering innovations of the Olympic Park's buildings.
about 5 years ago
Along with the buildings constructed for Expo 67, the structures built for the 1976 Olympic Games give Montréal's cityscape a decidedly contemporary flair. The swoop of the tower of the Olympic Park (Parc Olympique), which leans at a mind-boggling angle of 45 degrees, remains one of the city's most identifiable landmarks. Visitors can ascend by funicular to the top of the tower, at a height of 165 meters (541 feet), for sweeping views of the city. The stadium is the most famous building by the French architect Roger Taillibert and is still used for sporting events; there are also architectural tours offered. Finally, the Biodôme, home to more than 4,500 animals and 500 different plant species, now occupies the former velodrome, also designed by Taillibert.