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Calgary’s BMO Convention and Trade Centre set for expansion

Funding has been approved for a $500 million expansion that will double the size of Calgary’s BMO Centre to almost one million square feet, transforming it into Canadas second-largest facility, creating new spaces for conferences, meetings, exhibitions and consumer shows, allowing BMO Centre to host larger conventions and events, boosting spin-off benefits for local businesses.

“Tourism and trade show facilities like the BMO Centre play a huge role in supporting our local economies,” said the Right Honourable François-Phillipe Champagne, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities. “This project will create a landmark attraction that will attract tourists and strengthen Calgary’s economy for years to come.”

In a recent interview with the Calgary Herald, mayor of Calgary, Naheed Nenshi noted that the city has had to turn away between 11 and 14 bid opportunities for Tier-1 size conferences each year. This expansion will provide the infrastructure the city needs to bid on those significant events, “The idea here now is that the Telus Convention Centre and this facility will be working in conjunction to attract bigger conventions, and that is a real important part of our economic development strategy and building our tourism business.”

With funding in place, construction on the BMO Centre expansion will begin almost immediately and will be phased in over the next five years.  The Government of Canada is contributing up to $166.6 million to this project through the New Building Canada Fund, while the Government of Alberta and the City of Calgary are each providing $166.6 million through the extension of the Calgary Rivers District Community Revitalization Levy. The Calgary Exhibition and Stampede Ltd. has previously committed $3.9 million.

Once open, the expanded BMO Convention and Trade Centre is expected to generate an annual economic benefit of $267 million, which includes $223 million in Alberta.

“This is a significant investment that will pay dividends for generations to come,” said Nenshi. “An expanded convention centre is a key part of Calgarys plans for downtown. Not only will this investment in the BMO Centre create jobs, this project is an opportunity to boost Calgary’s travel and tourism sector and our overall economy.”