Revamped BMO Centre opens in Calgary


BMO Center opens in Calgary Image: Populous

The BMO Centre in Calgary, Canada has re-opened for business following a major $500 million renovation project.

The Populous Americas team, alongside its counterparts at Stantec and S2 lead the design of this stunning new home of the Calgary Stampede, and now the largest convention center in Western Canada, boasting more than one million square feet and an occupancy of 33,000.

The expansion added 565,000 sq. ft. total including more than 100,000 sq. ft. of new exhibition space, 38 new meeting rooms, two new ballrooms totalling 70,000 sq. ft., and a dramatic central gathering space called the Exchange that features a 70-foot-tall indoor fireplace.

Outside, the 100,000 sq. ft. public plaza showcases a 170-foot curved canopy, a 70-foot-tall Spirit of Water public art sculpture and a dedicated performance space on the Grand Staircase.

The expansion’s designs are inspired by the region of Calgary and the surrounding prairies, drawing on elements such as the sculpted riverbanks of the Bow and Elbow Rivers, the rolling foothills that transition into the Rocky Mountains, and the pioneering spirit of the Calgary Stampede.

The three-level building features a sweeping composite metal panel façade and roofline, highlighted by a 170-foot curved canopy that seamlessly extends to the outdoor public realm, drawing visitors to the facility’s primary entrance and grand staircase.

The underside of the canopy also features thousands of programmable LED lights that can display animated lighting programs.

The expanded BMO Centre is fundamentally a different kind of convention center, second-to-none in architecture, functionality and guest experience.

The expansion represents a new generation of convention facilities, one that celebrates and connects with its surroundings and its community.

Michael Lockwood, Senior Principal, Populous said, “BMO Centre sets the precedent for future convention centers, synthesizing form, functionality and thoughtful design to provide world-class meeting facilities while engaging and enriching the community of Calgary.

“Creating a venue to develop meaningful and memorable experiences was top of mind for BMO Centre, so we were proud to work alongside all our partners to bring this to vision to fruition.”

Joel Cowley, chief executive of the Calgary Stampede, added: “For four years, we have been promising that the expanded BMO Centre will offer Calgarians, southern Albertans and visitors to our city a greater way to gather. Today, it is with immeasurable pride that we open the doors to the BMO Centre at Stampede Park.

“The BMO Centre expansion was built for Calgary and southern Alberta, with the vision of creating a world-class facility both in terms of design and the ability to provide exceptional guest experiences through our signature western hospitality.

“With the interest we’ve seen from the meetings and conventions industry before the doors have even opened, we know that this facility is going to have a positive impact on Calgary’s economy by bolstering the tourism and hospitality sectors. We built this for our future, and we look forward to realising the success of the expansion in the decades to come.”

Adam Paulitsch, Principal, Populous added, “Working in tandem with Stantec and S2, we were able to bring modern design to Calgary, while also paying homage to the people and heritage of its community.

BMO Centre breaks the dated stereotype for convention centers by offering year-round, communal gathering spaces for the public to congregate and enjoy, while serving as a crown jewel of the city for those visiting for business.”

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