Turn onto Mont-Royal from St-Laurent, and you can see it, that gloomy, melancholic phallic symbol thrust up into the air. Continue moving east, and it gets harder and harder to avoid, looming over streets, potholes and crumbling infrastructure like a proud father. From a distance, then, Montreal’s Olympic Stadium is a success; it is the Eiffel Tower-like structure that former mayor Jean Drapeau hoped it would become.

Look a bit closer, though, and cracks start appearing.

The underused stadium now draws roughly a quarter of a million visitors a year, which is nowhere near enough to justify calls for a new $300 million dollar retractable roof. A recent inspection found over 1200 “new” tears and defects in the stadium’s current roof, which means if you attend an event there during the winter, you’ll likely receive the kind of email I did, stating that, “weather conditions will be suitable to host an event in the main area of Olympic Stadium.” Weather conditions in this case involved five centimeters of snow. Obvious question: how much snow is too much? And how do they now?

The idea is that the new roof will not only improve safety, but also revive the moribund stadium, which has not had a regular tenant since the Expos left town in 2002 (the stadium requires close to $20 million in public subsidies to “operate”). Fine, but if we’re going to spend that kind of money, I have a better idea, one that would provide many additional advantages: let’s turn the Big O into a giant toilet bowl.

Let’s face it, from a distance, the stadium already looks like a giant shitter (the Big Bowl, if you will). It has the same kind of shape as the standard porcelain crapper, and up close, it even looks like shit. It’s time to put 2 and 2 together.

With so much of the city’s infrastructure in disarray anyway, why not cull all available resources and divert our waste to the east end? Residents there are already used to the smell of crap, and they would be able to benefit from the largest, most insane urban project in history. The stadium could collect thousands of tons of Montrealer’s waste, steaming and burping like the most terrifying volcano imaginable: a man-made one.

Think of the advantages. Once a day, the city could flush its contents, emptying its bowl, and the city, of everything foul and disgusting. Apart from the powerful psychological benefits, this ceremony would come to represent the city in a way in an honest way: instead of hammering on about “uniqueness,” we can just admit it’s all a bit shitty. “Montreal…c’est de la merde,” can be the new city slogan, with our giant John looming over crumbling roads. In time, the Big Flush could come to be a prestigious honor bestowed upon dignitaries and celebrities. Instead of ringing the bell at the stock exchange, Prince William and Kate can flush away an entire city’s fecal matter.

Just think of the potential benefits this could have to the city’s tourism industry, which was down last year amid the world economic slowdown and “social disturbances” across the province. Asia, after all, is completely poop-obsessed. From toilet-themed restaurants to poop-shaped bread, that continent’s got a real scatological obsession. Tourist buses and enthusiastic Asians, taking photos holding up the peace, sign would surround the stadium, and entire spin-off industries would appear, from tie-ins to Mozart and his love of Scat humor to childhood education.

Following public hearings, the Olympic Installations Board, the government agency that manages the site, is apparently working on a preliminary report that will decide the future of the stadium. That’s expected by the end of the year. There’s still time, in other words, to do something great.

After all, we’re sitting on a goldmine. We just need to flush that shit out.



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