On-Site Magazine

BMO Centre expansion reaches substantial completion

By Adam Freill   

Commercial Construction

After four years of construction, the expansion of the BMO Centre to more than 1 million square feet is closing in on its June grand opening.

(Photo courtesy of Calgary Municipal Land Corporation)

In mid-March, the Calgary Municipal Land Corporation (CMLC) and the Calgary Stampede celebrate a significant milestone for the $500 million expansion of BMO Centre, reaching substantial completion, moving the project into its final stages of operational readiness ahead of its planned grand opening in June.

“As development manager for this transformative project, Calgary Municipal Land Corporation is proud to have delivered the BMO Centre expansion on schedule and on budget,” said Kate Thompson, CMLC’s president and CEO. “This is a major accomplishment for CMLC and our partners, and a huge step toward achieving our vision for a vibrant and active Culture + Entertainment District.”

The project represents more than 2 million construction hours and contributions from nearly 5,000 tradespeople, including demolition crews, steelworkers, drywall installers, and electrical and mechanical teams.

“The expanded BMO Centre is second to none in its design architecture and functionality, and sets a new precedent for convention facilities. We are thrilled to hand over the keys to the newly expanded BMO Centre to the Calgary Stampede team as they prepare to operationalize the building in advance of its grand opening this June,” added Thompson. “Achieving this milestone would not have been possible without the generous support of all levels of government or without the dedication and expertise of our construction manager, PCL Construction, and project manager, M3 Project Management. Our gratitude also extends to our world-class design team of Stantec, Populous and S2 for their visionary design of this architectural landmark, and to our partners at the Calgary Stampede.”


At more than 565,000 square feet of new space, 10,000 metric tonnes of steel, and a staggering 2.4 million square feet of drywall, the expanded BMO Centre is now western Canada’s largest convention centre.

“The BMO Centre expansion project has been years in the making for the Calgary Stampede, from first questioning ‘Should we expand?’ to considering ‘What would an expansion look like?’ to then involving our development partners in making it happen. To reach this substantial completion milestone is monumental, as our team will now work to operationalize the building in preparation of welcoming the world to the BMO Centre at Stampede Park in just under 90 days,” said Joel Cowley, Calgary Stampede CEO.

“The impact that the expanded BMO Centre will have on the Calgary Stampede and on Calgary’s tourism, convention and hospitality sector cannot be overstated. We have already seen great interest in the expanded BMO Centre and now have more than 100 incremental events booked through 2030,” Cowley continued. “With the opening of the BMO Centre expansion, we are excited for the future of Stampede Park and are eager to see how Calgary will continue to transform around it. Whether you are a global company looking to host a memorable convention featuring unparalleled Western hospitality, or a local Calgarian looking forward to the brand-new, world-class experiences we are now able to host in our city, we can’t wait to welcome you to this iconic space on Stampede Park.”

In preparation for operation of the facility, the Calgary Stampede team will soon begin loading in furniture and equipment, including some 6,500 stacking chairs and more than a thousand tables for the Tier 1 Convention centre, which will compete for larger meetings and convention business.

The $500M expansion, funded in equal parts by the Government of Canada, the Government of Alberta, and The City of Calgary, more than doubled the centre’s capacity for conferences, meetings and events. Across the expansion and existing facilities, the BMO Centre will be able to host up to 33,000 guests at once.

The expanded BMO Centre is set to host its first event, the Global Energy Show, this coming June 2024.




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