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Like the neighbouring stadium, Montreal’s Olympic Velodrome was designed by Mayor Jean Drapeau’s hand-picked muse, French architect Roger Taillibert. Its construction cost was similarly over-budget: in this case $CAN70 million, $CAN58 million more than projected, as a result of labour unrest and the difficulty of fabricating and assembling the large number of unique pre-cast concrete segments required. Architect John Hix described the resulting building as “some giant Paleozoic tribolite come to rest at the bottom of the sea.” Its dramatically lit interior space hosted the track cycling and judo events at the 1976 Summer Games.
Much to the frustration of cycling fans, who lost what was arguably the finest indoor velodrome in the world, since 1992 the building has housed the Montreal Biodome. This popular tourist attraction re-creates five North American ecosystems indoors.
- Jesse Jackson