When it comes to planning large-scale sporting events, one of the main challenges is finding appropriate venues. Montréal has plenty of options. As a global sports icon, the city has a résumé packed with significant athletic events and historic moments in sporting competitions. There’s the 1976 Summer Olympics. There’s the historic hometown hockey team (called the Montréal Canadiens). There are the annual professional competitions in tennis and car racing and running. But this is just scratching the surface.
When you’re ready to create memories in Canada’s sport capital, these venues will host the grandest of competitions.
Since its inauguration in 1976, more than 67 million visitors have been inside the Olympic Stadium, which has — along with the iconic Montréal Tower — become an international symbol of Montreal. The stadium has accommodated sporting events, salons, fairs, shows, exhibitions, film shoots, social events, and more. It is the largest amphitheater in all of Québec.
The Olympic Park
The Olympic Park is home to more than just the stadium. There’s also the Olympic Park Sports Centre — with no less than seven pools, a sports medical centre, and a well-stocked gym — that is a regular host venue for international swimming and diving competitions. Outside, the Esplanade hosts a multitude of events ranging from the First Fridays Street Food Festival to the eye-popping Jackalope action sports competition.
The Bell Centre
The Bell Centre is home to the beloved Montréal Canadiens hockey team. As one of the largest venues in the city, the arena is also the mainstage for the world’s biggest entertainers when they stop in Montréal (think: Beyoncé, Coldplay, The Weeknd).
Maximum capacity: 21,000
Sample events: NHL hockey, Disney on Ice, WWE professional wrestling
The IGA Stadium hosts numerous sporting and special events, with the highlight being the annual tennis tournament the Canadian Open (currently branded as the National Bank Open). This prestigious professional tennis tournament organized by Tennis Canada is classified as a Masters 1000 event on the ATP World Tour schedule. The IGA Stadium also has 10 outdoor courts (hard) and 16 indoor courts (hard & clay).
Maximum capacity: 12,000
Sample events: Canada Masters (annually), live music, corporate banquets
Claude-Robillard Sports Complex
The Claude-Robillard Sports Complex was the site of the handball and water polo competitions of the 1976 games. Today, the centre is an example of multipurpose versatility, hosting a range of sports including track and field activities, baseball, tennis, soccer, fencing, and archery, among others.
Maximum capacity: 12,000
Sample events: 1976 Summer Olympics
Auditorium de Verdun
Constructed in 1938, the Verdun Auditorium is an arena located in the Montréal neighbourhood of Verdun. While primarily used for hockey, the venue has also hosted other sporting events (such as basketball and wrestling) and concerts (Nirvana played here!). In recent years, $42 million renovations have ensured facility upgrades, as well as a restoration of the brick façade.
Maximum capacity: 4,114
Sample events: The first WWE event to be held in Montréal!
On the eastern edge of the Olympic Park, the Centre Pierre-Charbonneau played host to the wrestling events of the 1976 games, and today continues to host world-class contact sport competitions ranging from judo to boxing, as well as other competitions such as basketball.
Maximum capacity: 2,700
Sample events: Judo Championships, Boxing Championships
Saputo Stadium is a soccer-specific stadium at the Olympic Park. The stadium opened in 2008 and is the current home of CF Montréal (the city’s professional soccer team).
Maximum capacity: 19,619
Sample events: Soccer, Soccer, Soccer!
Circuit Gilles Villeneuve
Home to the immensely popular Canadian Grand Prix, the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve is a motor racing circuit on Notre Dame Island. Event planners can reserve a stunning space that overlooks the racetracks: Espace Paddock.
Maximum capacity: 100,000
Sample events: Formula 1 Grand Prix du Canada
Made of two islands — Ste-Helene’s Island and Notre-Dame Island — Parc Jean-Drapeau offers both beautiful gardens and sport installations. Espace 67 is a vast open and modern space, which offers sound systems, stage design, washroom facilities, lighting, and sophisticated security for the safety of all visitors. And the opportunity for sports events is endless.
Maximum capacity: 10,000+
Sample events: Grand Prix du Canada (F1 car racing), the Montréal Triathlon, the Dragon Boat Québec Cup
The Percival-Molson Stadium
Currently home to the Montréal Alouettes football team, the Percival-Molson Stadium was built for the students of McGill University in 1915. During the 1976 Olympics, the stadium hosted the field hockey competitions. Fun fact: it was also the world’s first Olympic stadium outfitted with artificial turf.
Maximum capacity: 23,420
Sample events: Ultimate Frisbee, Field Hockey, Grey Cup (CFL)