dreadedcandiru2 (dreadedcandiru2) wrote,

The Big Owe

As the very old among us might remember, one of the most anticipated parts of Canada's centennial was Expo 67 in Montréal. What they maybe don't know is that Mayor Drapeau had an odd fixation with the Eiffel Tower and proposed that it be dismantled, shipped overseas and put in the fairgrounds for the duration. After the French told him that would be a non-starter, his tower envy wound up taking the form of installing a really impractical tower in the primary Olympic Stadium for the 1976 games. Having to deal with the architectural short-comings of a design so questionable, one person suggested that the architect be sent home to play with his crayons led to the odd-looking thing becoming a sucking financial wound that Les Anglais called "The Big Owe" because it took thirty years to pay the damned thing off and by that time, people had started wondering if maybe they should perhaps demolish the thing.

The reason that I mentioned this fact is that it was probably the first time that people actively started to question the conventional wisdom that a sports stadium is a licence for a municipality to print money. While it's pretty much received wisdom that team owners make out like bandits while the community blessed by their presence ends up getting stuck with all the costs and none of the spin-off, back when Lynn was ranting about the jocks and the smocks, everyone believed that Elly was standing in the way of printing money.

What this tells us is that if she'd wanted to modernize the arc, she would have had one of two options. The first would be to have Elly up in arms because they were replacing the old town hall with a new building that would still have room for the arts but be a shining example of the municipal parking garage school of design. The second option would be to have her do battle with a historical preservation society that's sick and tired of cleaning up after theatre majors and wants them gone before they wreck the place.
Tags: canadian culture 101, freefloating commentary

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