Since 1909, sports have become a great part of Montreal’s heritage. It all began with the Montreal Canadiens in the National Hockey League (NHL), followed by the founding of the Montreal Expos in 1969. What followed was the implementation of an abundance of centres and parks for various sports: the Taz for skateboarding, the Saputo Stadium for soccer, race tracks for the Grand Prix and F1 races, Jarry Park for basketball, tennis, and baseball, and so many more.
The urban impact of sports in Montreal has only grown over the years. The city’s liveliness, safety, community well-being, and economic vitality thrives on Montreal’s abundance of sports.
The increased activity within the city of Montreal then brings about many other changes, such as the city’s safety and sense of community. Its economy also feeds off local and professional sports teams.
When the city is filled with energy and is pumped with the adrenaline of the game, it also becomes safer to travel around and comparingly to a piazza, regions of the city that are filled with sports tend to be democratic and inclusive spaces. Citizens are more inclined to interact and communicate with each other considering that they root for the same team and have such characteristics in common, as is the case with many Montreal Canadiens, Montreal Impact, and Montreal Expos fans. They all gather in one place for a few hours a week to watch a team they admire play a sport they love.
Clearly, the adoration does not stop simply at the sport, but instead it spreads to a feeling of pride for the city of Montreal, in general. The reason why Montrealers are so determined in believing they are better than Torontonians is because the Montreal Canadiens have won more Stanley Cups than the Toronto Maple Leafs. This is arguable; however, it shows the extent to which sports spread throughout a city.
Some Montrealers do not watch hockey and therefore do not know about this rivalry, but they still believe in such statement. Such inclusive spaces and instances create atmospheres that value social life and community. Diverse citizens all come together for sports in their city of Montreal.
Montreal’s economic vitality does inherently thrive on the many sports happening throughout the city at any given time. Community centres are being rented out to organize tournaments or practices. Merchandise of professional teams like the Montreal Canadiens and the Montreal Impact is being sold at every game. Tickets to these professional games and entry to stadiums, as well as food and drinks sold by stadiums also generate a lot of money for the city.
It is unquestionable that the city of Montreal would not be Montreal without its abundance of sports and the communities they bring together. Sports continuously impact Montreal’s urban life by activating its energy, bringing together members of similar or different communities, and allowing its economy to thrive.
Written by: Maria Dryden