Calgary’s BMO Centre will welcome visitors to the new building in 2024 with the project on time and on budget.
The $500-million expansion will add 500,000 sq. ft. of convention space to the BMO Centre, making it the largest convention centre in Western Canada, with more than one-million square feet.
The new space will feature three floors of tradeshow and convention space, with a more than 100,000 sq. ft. exhibition hall, 38 additional meeting rooms, and two new ballrooms totalling more than 70,000 sq. ft.
Designed by an award-winning team of architects at Stantec, Populous and S2 Architecture, the BMO Centre expansion will create warm and unforgettable experiences. The expansion of the BMO Centre gives Calgary a better way to gather and will dramatically improve the Calgary Stampede’s hosting capacity.
For a glimpse into the new convention centre, we spoke with Greg Newton, general manager of the BMO Centre, who shares some insights into the project and what it will mean for Calgary.
- What stage is the project at?
The BMO expansion is in the final stages with the exterior of the building weather tight. The building will open in less than a year and the focus over the next few months is on the final interior finishes, followed by final landscaping next spring.
- Why is this expansion needed – why is it important?
Calgary has long been underserved with appropriate convention space in relation to the size of the city and the amount of airlift. The current convention centre in the city is the 10th largest venue in the country in the country’s fouth largest city. The existing BMO previously serviced the exposition space but did not have the complimentary meeting space to the amount of exhibit space to help the city attract conventions. With the completed BMO expansion the venue will be over 1 million gross square feet with greater than 50 per cent of that being leaseable space. At completion the BMO Centre will have 350,000 square feet of contiguous exhibit space, more than 80,000 square feet of meeting space and a 50,000 square foot ballroom.
- What are you most excited about with this project?
The approach to design was really focused on four key areas: 1. Physical Health 2. Mental Health 3. Financial Health (of our clients) and 4. How people connect.
We believe this is a different approach than typical designs which focus on maximizing leaseable space. I am most excited to see people move through the space and engage with each other. Seeing people enjoy the outdoor gather places, and seeing conventions and groups maximize the return for their sponsors and stakeholders.
- Is there anything unique or standout about the new design?
I do believe the large lobby area we call the “Exchange” on the second level to foster serendipitous connections which is mirrored with the outdoor ‘Great lawn’ are unique elements that people will take notice of and enjoy.
- Are you seeing any interest in bookings already?
The excitement for the project amongst clients is far exceeding expectations and I believe our sales team is enjoying the opportunities that are presenting themselves with this project.