Calgary will have one of Canada’s largest convention and exhibition centres when a major expansion of the BMO Centre at Stampede Park is complete.
A $500 million plan will double the size of the existing convention centre facility, which currently has a programmable floor area of 274,000 square feet. There are five 50,000-square-foot exhibition halls, a 17,000-square-foot Corral Floor, a 1,000-seat theatre, and a number of breakout meeting rooms and ballrooms that have a combined space of 24,000 square feet.
But more space is needed in order for the BMO Centre to attract larger, international events – to compete with Vancouver’s rapidly growing convention and meetings business. An expanded BMO Centre would have a spillover effect into the local economy by benefiting the local hospitality industry, restaurants, and bars.
Some of the BMO Centre’s older facilities will be demolished to allow for the construction of the new expansion. Preliminary plans will be released in a few months and construction could begin before the end of the year.
The project will create an estimated 1,800 jobs during construction and 500 full-time jobs upon opening. It follows an approved master plan for the Stampede grounds, which includes the completion of the Agrium Western Event Centre and a new Youth Campus.
The city’s ability to handle more conventions and visitors is also supported by the recent expansion of the airport and the soon-to-be-completed National Music Centre. As well, a number of new hotels are slated to open over the next several years, including this summer’s opening of the 320-room Hilton Hotel.