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BMO Centre expansion project handed over to Stampede; opening set for June


The $500 million expansion of Calgary's BMO Centre is in its final stages and the project is now in the hands of the Calgary Stampede to prepare the one million square feet of space for events in the summer.

The groundbreaking on the 565,000-square-foot expansion was held in April of 2021 and the first event in the new space, the Global Energy Show, is set for June.

"The expanded BMO Centre is second to none in its design architecture and functionality and sets a new precedent for convention facilities," said Kate Thompson, the president and CEO of the Calgary Municipal Land Corporation.

Funding for the space was split equally by all three levels of government. The interior work and preparation includes moving in more than 6,500 stacking chairs, 600 banquet tables and 7,600 pieces of cutlery.

Nearly three months from the opening date, officials say more than 100 bookings have already been placed for events as far out as 2030.

"The one that we're most excited about here in the near term is Rotary International, which will be here in 2025 – just before the 2025 Calgary Stampede," said Joel Cowley, Stampede CEO.

"It's expected to have between 25,000-30,000 delegates, which will probably take every hotel room between Okotoks and Airdrie."

The BMO Centre expansion, along with the LRT station redesign and the 17th Avenue S.E. extension, is the first of several major projects announced for the area in the last five years, with the new Calgary Event Centre and a new hotel all expected to break ground in the coming year.

"This area doesn't look at all like it did five years ago today, and five years from now we will also have the events centre," said Thompson.

A bigger convention centre is expected to generate about $267 million in annual economic impact, Cowley said.

Mayor Jyoti Gondek said the transformation of Victoria Parks is already bringing investment interest from outside of the city.

"While we can't talk about things that are in play right now, I can tell you that there's people globally that are paying attention to what's happening here in our city," she said.

More than 600 workers were on site daily during major construction and crews logged a combined two million hours of work.

The public opening of the expanded centre is scheduled to take place on June 8. Top Stories

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