BMO Centre expansion steel structure complete, on track for 2024 opening

Click to play video: 'BMO Centre expansion project completes steel structure'
BMO Centre expansion project completes steel structure
WATCH: It’s one of the biggest renovations in Calgary and the BMO Centre expansion project is about to hit a major milestone. Gaby Rios reports. – Nov 3, 2022

The final piece of steel was put in place at the BMO Centre and construction is on track to be completed by 2024.

Calgary Municipal Land Corporation (CMLC), along with the Calgary Stampede, made the announcement at a news conference Thursday morning.

In the past 11 months, construction crews have installed 9,000 metric tonnes of steel to form the centre’s structure, with the final 90-foot piece of steel set into place this week, according to a news release.

Read more: Calgary breaks ground on $500M convention centre expansion in Stampede Park

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“This is a really a big milestone for the project and for the Calgary Stampede and CMLC,” said Kate Thompson, president and CEO of CMLC.

“It’s a large piece of steel but also an even larger project (as) it’s an over 560,000-square-feet addition, and this will be the largest convention centre in Western Canada. So a big part of a bigger project.”

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Thompson said to put it in perspective just how big the completed expansion will be, if you were to take the Calgary Tower hypothetically, and lay it flat on the main floor from tip to tip — it would fit inside the new building.

Most Calgarians would be used to the Palomino room inside the old building as it was popular for trade shows, grad banquets and Stampede. That room was 12,000 feet while Thompson added the new hall will be more than 50,000.

Though it’s a milestone to celebrate, there’s been plenty of hurdles to overcome since the shovel hit the dirt. The global pandemic and supply chain issues were two complications that came to mind for the CEO; however, she said by Stampede next year, it will start to “look like a building” and that they’re still on track to open by 2024.

Click to play video: 'BMO Centre expansion project update from CMLC'
BMO Centre expansion project update from CMLC

“I think anyone who’s building a project right now, in this uncertain market condition, and can actually say ‘the project’s on time and on budget’ is a real feat. And it really speaks to the strength of the partnership between all parties.”

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Jim Laurendeau, vice president of park and planning for the Calgary Stampede, echoes Thompon’s remarks and said it’s truly been a team effort and something that will benefit all of Calgary.

“Conventions are a huge economic driver for the cities that they occur in,” Laurendeau said.

“Think about all those restaurant meals, the hotel stays, the Uber and taxi rides, all of the impact that it has every step along the way with those flights coming into Calgary.”

Other features he’s excited about are the outdoor plaza space, a grand staircase and the view of the mountains along with 17th Avenue from the grand ballroom.

“This is going to completely change the face of the Calgary Stampede moving forward.”

Click to play video: 'Calgary breaks ground on $500M convention centre expansion in Stampede Park'
Calgary breaks ground on $500M convention centre expansion in Stampede Park

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