Calgary Stampede’s expanded BMO Centre opens new possibilities

May 28, 2024
General Business Team Calgary Real Estate & Development
3 STAMPEDE 1000 x 750

Greg Newton is the executive vice-president, conventions and events and general manager of the BMO Centre at Stampede Park.

Photo credit: Wil Andruschak © Postmedia Network Inc.

Joel Schlesinger © Postmedia Network Inc.

The unveiling of the newly expanded BMO Centre at Stampede Park involves more than adding convention and events space.

The expansion opens a new world of possibility, making the city a major destination for North America’s largest, top-tier gatherings.

“Alberta, Calgary included, was really a bit of a fly-over province when it came to the big national and international conventions,” says Greg Newton, executive vice-president, conventions and events and general manager of the BMO Centre.

“The new addition of more finished meeting and exhibition space allows the city to compete with the other three major cities in Canada — Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver.

For that matter, the new $500-million expansion, set to open June 5, makes Calgary a premier destination in North America for conventions and other large events.

More than 100,000 square feet of exhibition space has been added amid the upgrades and will continue to host events like the Calgary International Auto and Truck Show. But the addition of 38 meeting rooms, ranging from 500 sq. ft. to 6,000 sq. ft., and 70,000 sq. ft. between two new ballrooms is game-changing, he adds.

Central to the expansion is The Exchange — a nexus space connecting the new conference rooms and ballrooms. The public space — complete with a fireplace, comfortable lounge furniture and a fully serviced bar — is designed to spur social interaction among event attendees, Newton says.

“Its layout is meant to ‘foster serendipity,’ because if people can connect outside the meeting rooms, that is really where the magic of networking happens,” he explains. “We want people to stay between the meetings and mingle, as opposed to leaving and going back to their hotel room.”

Indeed, the overall expansion is all about bringing people together — no matter the size of the gathering.

“The layout allows us to have a big meeting in a ballroom, for example, and then a bunch of small gatherings in other meeting rooms, along with a big lunch in the other ballroom,” Newton says, adding that the expanded facility might do more than attract events that passed the city by before.

“We’re exposing the city to organizations and professionals who may never have come here otherwise, and who may in turn realize all that Calgary has to offer,” he says.

“And that can lead to increased tourism and business for the city, including the potential for businesses relocating operations here.”

This story was created by Content Works, Postmedia’s commercial content division, on behalf of Calgary Economic Development.

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