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Formula 1 inks 10-year deal to keep Grand Prix in Montreal

06/07/2014 09:28 EDT | Updated 06/16/2017 01:05 EDT
Downtown business owners who profit from Montreal's Grand Prix weekend are licking their chops at the news that a 10-year deal has been reached between Formula 1 and the City of Montreal.

"We wait all year long for this," said Otman Amer, owner of Newtown on Crescent St.

During Grand Prix weekend, Peel and Crescent streets are closed down for all the off-track celebrations and events.

Amer said it's tax money well spent, referring to the catch in this Grand Prix deal: Some $15 million will continue to be paid to Formula 1 every year, split between various levels of government.

On top of that, the City of Montreal will spend tens of millions to maintain and upgrade the venue at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve racetrack.

Greenpeace Canada spokesman Patrick Bonin said in a time of austerity and mounting evidence of global warming, this sends a bad message.

"The government's supposed to fight climate change, but it's subsidizing the symbol of over-consumption," he said.

Montreal's board of trade sees the deal differently, looking at it as a symbol of optimism — and some $50 million injected annually into the local economy.

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