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Design & Development

Calgary’s BMO Centre opens following major revamp

Featured image credit: Calgary Stampede

The revamped BMO Centre in Calgary officially opened its doors yesterday (Wednesday), becoming the largest convention centre in Western Canada.

The facility now spans over one million square feet and boasts an occupancy of 33,000 after a major renovation. The project, which cost C$500m (£286m/€336m/$365m) to carry out, was designed by Populous, with the plans first outlined in 2020.

BMO Centre was built in 1982 and is home to the Calgary Stampede festival. The economic impact of the new-look venue is expected to equate to upwards of C$100m a year and provide thousands of jobs.

Populous has designed the venue in partnership with Stantec and S2. The project has focused on providing a best-in-class experience for convention attendees and locals alike.

The Calgary Stampede has also struck a new 10-year deal with financial services company BMO, which will retain naming rights to the convention centre until at least 2033. A free tour of the expanded BMO Centre will be made available to Calgarians on Saturday.

Michael Lockwood, senior principal at Populous, said: “BMO Centre sets the precedent for future convention centres, synthesising form, functionality and thoughtful design to provide world-class meeting facilities while engaging and enriching the community of Calgary.

“Creating a venue to develop meaningful and memorable experiences was top of mind for BMO Centre, so we were proud to work alongside all our partners to bring this vision to fruition.”

Joel Cowley, chief executive of the Calgary Stampede, added: “For four years, we have been promising that the expanded BMO Centre will offer Calgarians, southern Albertans and visitors to our city a greater way to gather. Today, it is with immeasurable pride that we open the doors to the BMO Centre at Stampede Park.

“The BMO Centre expansion was built for Calgary and southern Alberta, with the vision of creating a world-class facility both in terms of design and the ability to provide exceptional guest experiences through our signature western hospitality.

“With the interest we’ve seen from the meetings and conventions industry before the doors have even opened, we know that this facility is going to have a positive impact on Calgary’s economy by bolstering the tourism and hospitality sectors. We built this for our future, and we look forward to realising the success of the expansion in the decades to come.”