The Montreal Forum
The Montreal Forum, often linked to the glorious years of the Montreal Canadiens – no less than 22 of their 24 Stanley Cups were won here – remains, long after its change in use, one of the iconic buildings of Montreal. It is also the place, where, in 1976, millions of television viewers around the world fell in love with gymnastics.
Originally a sports centre dedicated to roller and ice skating, it opened to the public in 1908 and quickly attracted investors thanks to its ideal location at the corner of Ste. Catherine West and Atwater Streets.
Edward W. Beatty, a businessman, invested $406,000 ($6 million in today’s money) in 1924 to transform the facility into an amphitheatre. The Montréal Forum opened its doors on November 29th of that year, with the first of many overwhelming victories for the Montréal Canadiens over the Toronto Saint Patricks.
Over the next eight decades, the Forum welcomed nearly 90 million spectators for many sporting, artistic and political events. Queen, The Beatles, Pink Floyd, The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, Bob Dylan, David Bowie and Céline Dion are just a few of the famous stars to have drawn huge crowds.
After over 70 years of service, the Montreal Forum closed in 1996. The old building no longer met the needs of professional hockey. It continues to have a commercial purpose and has been converted into movie theatres, arcades, food courts and boutiques.
Nadia the Queen
In July 1976, in the Montreal Forum, a graceful and bright-eyed 14-year-old girl touched the hearts of people around the world. After completing a routine of unmatched difficulty for the time at the uneven bars, the tiny Nadia Comaneci received a perfect score – the first ever to be awarded at any Olympic Games.
The spectators in attendance still remember the thunderous applause and cheering from the stands. Crowned Queen of the Games, Nadia still feels such a special bond with Montréal that she agreed to be the FIG 2017 Artistic Gymnastics World Championships spokesperson.