The surge of refugees overwhelmed the YMCA facilities that are normally used to temporarily house new arrivals.
So the agency turned to the Olympic Stadium — specifically, to the area by the concession stands, the CBC says.The first refugees to stay at the stadium were bused in on Wednesday, The Associated Press reports.
“Volunteers from the Quebec Red Cross helped set up the cavernous, concrete stadium for a temporary stay with cots and food in the rotunda,” the wire service writes. “The stadium was the main venue of the 1976 Olympics. It has not had a main tenant since the Montreal Expos left in 2004.”
The stadium will be hosting up to 450 people for several months, but cannot provide shelter permanently, given the event schedule, the AP says.
The Guardian reports on the transformation:
“It took just 24 hours for the stadium – built in the 1970s as a venue for the city’s 1976 Olympics – to be converted into a welcome centre where the asylum seekers will be sheltered and receive help in finding housing and completing paperwork related to their asylum claims.
“So far, 150 cots – arranged neatly into rows among the concrete walls of a windowless area … of the stadium – have been set up, along with access to showers and a cooking area.”