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Say goodbye to the Stampede Corral: BMO Centre expansion enters new phase of construction

Click to play video 'BMO Centre expansion project update from CMLC' BMO Centre expansion project update from CMLC
Work on the BMO Centre expansion is entering a new phase. As Sarah Offin reports, the project will now see the removal of the Stampede Corral and the Exhibition Hall A. – Dec 2, 2020

Big changes are coming to the Stampede grounds this month, including the demolition of the decades-old Stampede Corral.

Work to expand the BMO Centre at Stampede Park has been underway since 2019, and officials announced Wednesday construction of the new Exhibition Hall F is now complete.

The 100,000-square-foot exhibition space sits on the north side of the existing BMO Centre.

Read more: Calgary Stampede unveils design of $500M BMO Centre expansion

Calgary Municipal Land Corporation president and CEO Kate Thompson said the completion of the hall marks a major milestone.

“While we’ve certainly had to adapt and respond to health guidelines brought forward from the pandemic, we are now moving into the next stage,” Thompson said.

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The next phase of the project will see the removal of the Stampede Corral and the BMO Centre’s Exhibition Hall A.

Read more: Flames alumni share Stampede Corral memories as team marks 40 years in Calgary

In preparation for the demolition, crews have been working to remove materials from inside both buildings and the Plus 15 walkway on the south side of the corral.

“As we prepare to say goodbye to the corral, we are proud to be building the future of Stampede Park with the BMO Centre as a catalyst for Calgary’s continued economic growth and diversity,” Calgary Stampede spokesperson Jim Laurendeau said.

READ MORE: Economic impact of Calgary Stampede expected to surge amid BMO Centre expansion

Officials say corral memorabilia has been carefully preserved and placed in storage.

Several items that could not be saved – such as the neon cowboy and the large concrete figures that graced the building’s exterior – have been “digitally chronicled” to allow them to be recreated in the future, CMLC said.

Once the $500 million expansion is completed in 2024 the BMO Centre will be the largest convention centre in Western Canada.

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Click to play video 'Calgary Stampede unveils design of $500M BMO Centre expansion' Calgary Stampede unveils design of $500M BMO Centre expansion
Calgary Stampede unveils design of $500M BMO Centre expansion – Jun 10, 2020

The expansion costs are being paid for equally by the federal, provincial and municipal governments.

The CMLC says the project will “significantly grow and modernize” the facility and enable Calgary to host major conventions on a global scale.

“The project will also create thousands of jobs for the community, both during construction and after its completion,” a news release stated.

READ MORE: Feds to spend $166 million to help expand Calgary’s BMO Convention Centre