Plans have been outlined to expand the BMO Centre in the Canadian city of Calgary as part of a major C$500m (£292m/€324m/$369m) project.

The plans have been unveiled by the Calgary Stampede festival and its development partner Calgary Municipal Land Corporation (CMLC).

It is hoped that the expansion will modernise the facility, which was built in 1982, and enable Calgary to host major international conventions. The announcement comes after Calgary Stampede and CMLC last year carried out a process to select Stantec, Populous and S2 Architecture to lead the project.

The three firms have spent the past 12 months creating a design for the revamped BMO Centre. The project is scheduled to be completed by June 2024 and thousands of jobs are set to be created both during construction and once work has finished.

The project will see BMO Centre become the largest conference facility in western Canada, and the second largest in the country after Toronto’s. The expansion will span over 1 million square feet of total floor space, including 350,000 square feet of contiguous exhibit space.

Kate Thompson, CMLC president and chief executive, said: “This project defines an incredibly important phase in realising the Calgary Stampede’s and CMLC’s long-term vision for east Victoria Park and Stampede Park.

“The mission shared by the whole BMO project team – together we will design a world-class facility that celebrates Calgary, captures the Stampede Spirit, connects the city with the Rivers District and activates the site all year long – speaks to this commitment.”

Dana Peers, president and chairman of the Calgary Stampede Board, added: “Calgary’s citizens are world-renowned for their community spirit and their drive to achieve great things.

“When complete in 2024, the expanded BMO Centre will provide Calgary and southern Alberta a significant platform for economic diversification through growth in both the convention and tourism industries.”

The Calgary Stampede, which is an annual rodeo, exhibition and festival, takes place in July but this year’s event has been cancelled due to COVID-19. Last year, the event contributed C$700m to Canada’s economy.

Images: Calgary Stampede/CMLC