Grand Prix paddocks inaugurated after last-minute construction blitz
Formula One racers will have a new home next month, even though workers may be there around the clock until the event begins.
On Wednesday the city of Montreal held the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the paddocks at the Gilles Villeneuve racetrack, even though the building is not finished.
The renovation of the project began immediately after the races ended last year and ran into several expensive delays: workers said that at one point the newly-installed roof leaked and a lot of work had to be redone.
Construction was supposed to be finished in April.
The initial price tag for the project was $48 million, but that price grew to $59 million. Montreal is paying the lion's share of the bill, at $41 million, with the provincial government covering the rest of the cost.
The new building has solar panels, a white roof to reflect the sun, and was built with the idea of recycling materials in mind.
It also contains multiple reception halls, and corporate loges and grandstands with seating for 5,000. The old building had room for 1,800 fans.
The building also has a freight elevator large enough for an F1 car, which will likely be used extensively during the race and if, as planned, the building is rented out for private or corporate events.
Provincial tourism minister Caroline Proulx and Montreal Mayor Valerie Plante said despite the cost, renovating the buildings was worth it.
"What's important to keep in mind is that it was built also to welcome other types of events. So it's not only for the Formula One. It's for people to hold events. there is a fantastic view of the city right there, well located, so for me this is very positive for Montreal," said Plante.
Proulx said the Grand Prix is the single largest sporting event in Canada with regards to tourism, with half of all visitors coming from outside Quebec.