Long recognized as the ultimate host city, Calgary in little over a year will welcome the world to a newly expanded BMO Centre at Stampede Park — a state-of-the-art venue that showcases the best in both technology and Western Canadian hospitality.
With the center’s steel structure now complete, the venue’s grand opening is on track for June 2024. The BMO Centre will offer more than double the capacity for conferences, meetings, and events than it had before its $500-million expansion. In total, the expansion adds 565,000 square feet of new space and 177,000 square feet of pre-function space for a total building footprint of more than 1 million square feet, making the BMO Centre the largest meeting facility in Western Canada.
The completed venue will have more than 100,000 square feet of exhibition space, 38 new meeting rooms, and two new ballrooms with a total square footage of 70,000. A signature element of the interior design is a dramatic, 25,000-square-foot central gathering space called The Exchange that is anchored by Canada’s largest indoor fireplace, a two-story, nearly 70-foot-tall, copper and blackened steel piece of art designed to remind people of the tradition of gathering around the fire. The Exchange and its fireplace are meant to encourage the kind of serendipitous connections and personal experiences business events — and Calgary — are known to deliver.
“We’re designing a place for people to come to gather, to allow magic to happen,” Michael Lockwood, senior principal at Populous, the project’s architectural firm, told Convene in April 2022.
The BMO Centre, like the city where it is located, will leave attendees feeling both welcomed and inspired. Views from inside the venue, as well as from a new, 11,000-square-foot outdoor covered terrace, will showcase Calgary’s vibrancy as well as the stunning natural beauty surrounding the city.
A New Culture & Entertainment District
Calgary’s awe-inspiring scenery, world-class dining, and must-see attractions already made the destination an extraordinary experience for groups. The BMO Centre, located in legendary Stampede Park, anchors a more accessible convention district that will allow visitors to experience Calgary in an entirely new way. When all the projects are completed, groups will meet, stay, and play in this walkable Culture + Entertainment District that will radiate out from its main thoroughfare, Stampede Trail, which will be filled with sidewalk patios, retail shops, restaurants, and entertainment and cultural venues. This four-block section of Stampede Trail, scheduled for completion in late 2024, will not only serve foot, cycling, and vehicle traffic, but will be easily transformed into a “festival street” for special events.
The C+E will also be home to a new convention center hotel with a direct interior connection to the BMO Centre. The hotel is being planned as a 4-4.5 diamond boutique lifestyle hotel with a minimum of 220 rooms, four food and beverage venues, and expanded amenities including a fitness center and 11,000 square feet of meeting space.
These exciting additions are only the beginning of changes coming to Calgary. For more information, go to visitcalgary.com/meet-bmo.