Destination Profile: Montreal

Montreal’s pedigree as a premiere sports destination was confirmed in both 2019 and 2018 when it topped the Global Sports Impact (GSI) Canada Index, based on the hosting of national and international sport events and championships. 

By Angela Kryhul

Accommodations: 24,600+ total rooms 
Getting here: Montreal-Trudeau International Airport; VIA Rail business and group travel fares

Montreal is an Olympic city, having hosted the 1976 Summer Games, and is home to Formula One Canadian Grand Prix auto racing as well as professional sports teams—the Montreal Canadiens, Montreal Alouettes and Montreal Impact.

Aquatic sports rate high thanks to state-of-the-art competition venues and the city’s geographic location on the mighty Saint Lawrence River. Montreal is exploring new opportunities in the growing esports and urban sports sectors. For example, Tribu Expérientiel’s annual Jackalope action sports festival is held at Montreal Olympic Park featuring skateboarding, bouldering and fixed gear events as well as base jumping from atop the Montreal Tower.

Sports Events Montréal plays a leadership role in the development of the sports market by collaborating with local partners on planning, bidding and promoting as well as facilitating connections with government, sports partners, venues and volunteers.

Vans Skatepark
Phase one of the Vans Skatepark opened in Olympic Park’s Esplanade section in July 2019. Created by the Vans shoe company, the $5-million park is designed to international standards and features a 900-square-metre concrete dome.
Photo: Montreal Olympic Park

Olympic City

Montreal is Canada’s only Summer Olympics city and has invested millions of dollars to modernize the legacy infrastructure.

“When you bring an event to the Olympic Stadium, you’re making a statement that your event is also the biggest and the best and that you’re part of this history,” says Cédric Essiminy, public relations consultant, Montreal Olympic Park.

Olympic Stadium

  • Capacity of 60,000  
  • Configurations for baseball, football and soccer; ability to host esports tournaments (e.g., DreamHack) 
  • Partitioning of stadium and additional rooms available for more intimate events

The Sports Centre

  • Multi-sport complex used by high-level athletes and the public
  • Fully renovated in 2015
  • Seven basins for water sports (swimming, artistic swimming, diving, water polo)

Esplanade Financière Sun Life 

  • Outdoor sporting events, concerts, festivals and more
  • The largest private section hosts 12,000 guests

Montreal Tower and Observatory 

  • World’s tallest inclined tower, rising 165 metres at a 45-degree angle
  • Private function space with panoramic views of downtown and the Saint Lawrence River


After a $24.5-million renovation was completed in 2014, Montreal Olympic Park welcomed INS Québec as a tenant as well as 10 resident sport organizations (boccia, boxing, fencing, gymnastics, judo, swimming, artistic swimming, diving, water polo and short-track speed skating). Olympic and Paralympic athletes as well as high-performance coaches use the facility daily and love that it’s a one-stop shop for training, according to INS Québec president and CEO, Gaëtan Robitaille.

Athletes’ District paddling tank
Photo: Parc Jean-Drapeau

Aquatic City

Parc Jean-Drapeau is home to a selection of the city’s high-performance aquatic facilities.

Aquatic Complex

  • Outdoor competition swimming pool and diving training pool with six springboards (highest is 22 metres) 
  • Fully renovated for the 2005 FINA World Championships  

The Olympic Basin 

  • 2.2 km long; 110 metres wide
  • Host to rowing, canoe kayak and dragon boat groups, high-performance championships and competitions
  • Grandstands, hangars, starting and finish tower

Athletes’ District

  • Indoor facility for year-round training renovated in 2015 
  • Paddling tanks for rowing, canoe kayak and dragon boat
  • Ergometer equipment


2022, 2018 ISU World Short Track Speed Skating Championships

2020 ISU World Figure Skating Championships

2018–2021 FINA Diving World Series

2017 FIG Artistic Gymnastics World Championships

2017, 2015 IIHF World Junior Hockey Championships

2015 FIFA Women’s Soccer World Cup


  • Formula One Grand Prix Du Canada World Championship Race 
  • Grand Prix Cycliste De Montréal—UCI World Tour 
  • ITU World Triathlon Series 
  • Rock ‘N’ Roll Oasis Montreal Marathon 
  • Rogers Cup professional tennis
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