Though meeting planners and attendees head to Calgary with the intention of learning, networking, and more, there’s no denying that part of the fun of traveling for an event is getting to experience the destination itself. Those headed to the BMO Centre will find that sense of place and a connection to the city has been built into every aspect of their experience, starting with its iconic location on the grounds of the world-famous Calgary Stampede.
In the coming years, meeting planners have much to look forward to as the BMO Centre undergoes a more than $500-million expansion. Thanks to this major upgrade, as well as other investments in the city’s meetings and events infrastructure, Calgary will become the largest convention destination in Western Canada by 2024.
But this expansion goes beyond bringing more meeting space to Calgary. The BMO Centre’s executive chef Derek Dale is also building an impressive F&B program that complements this exciting growth and serves as another way to connect attendees with all things Canadian.
With the expansion on schedule and set to be completed by June 2024, Dale’s inspiration for the enhanced F&B program is clear: “Our vision is to engage the passion and diversity of our culinary team to create artistically presented, multi-sensory, made-from-scratch menus using locally sourced products that will lead to industry-award-winning achievements and provide our guests with lasting memories.”
According to Dale, the new menu, which is still under development, will feature “aspirational contemporary local Canadian cuisine,” made from scratch using fresh, seasonal ingredients. Dale and his team already have made it a point to use as many locally sourced ingredients as possible and have set a goal of using 60 to 70 percent Canadian suppliers by 2024 — and then eventually increasing that number to 100 percent. In addition to Canadian cuisine, Dale said the plan is to recreate classic dishes like Chicken Cordon Bleu, Beef Wellington, and Trout Meuniere, using Canadian ingredients.