Capital Projects FAQ
BMO Centre Expansion
The expanded portion of the BMO Convention Centre is connected to the existing facility located on Stampede Park in the Culture + Entertainment District. The expansion will replace the aging portions of the existing facility through the demolition of Hall A and the Stampede Corral.
The estimated cost of the BMO Centre expansion is $500 million.
The expanded BMO Convention Centre is funded through equal shares from the Government of Canada, Government of Alberta and The City of Calgary via the Community Revitalization Levy (CRL).
The Community Revitalization Levy (CRL) is a funding initiative that allows The City of Calgary to redirect a portion of tax revenue that result from redevelopment in a designated revitalization area and direct the revenues towards approved municipal expenditures in the specified area. The Community Revitalization Levy (CRL) is managed by the Calgary Municipal Land Corporation (CMLC), a wholly owned subsidiary of The City of Calgary.
The expansion effectively doubles the size of the BMO Centre to approx. 1 million sq.ft., adding more than 100,000 sq. ft. of new exhibition space, 38 new meeting rooms, two new ballrooms totalling 70,000 sq. ft., and gathering spaces throughout. When completed in 2024, the facility will be Western Canada’s largest convention and trade centre and be able to accommodate larger national and international events.
An expanded BMO Centre will see a significant annual economic impact through attracting and hosting larger conferences and conventions to enhance trade and tourism and by creating jobs for Alberta.
- More than 1,800 jobs will be created with construction and more than 1,700 jobs after opening.
- An annual economic impact of $267M to Canada’s GDP, including $223M for Alberta, after opening.
In addition, the BMO Centre expansion is a major catalyst project in the development of Calgary’s Culture + Entertainment District in east Victoria Park, serving as an anchor to attract private investment and new local businesses.
The City of Calgary, along with the provincial and federal governments are equal-share funders of the BMO Centre expansion project.
Calgary Municipal Land Corporation (CMLC) is serving as development manager for the expansion on behalf of the project partners, The City of Calgary and Calgary Stampede. The City works closely with the Calgary Stampede and CMLC to assist in the successful execution of the project. A joint steering committee represented by each partner ensures the interest of the City are met including, among other things, ensuring that the project aligns with all applicable Calgary City Council policies, including but not limited to The City of Calgary Design Guidelines for City-funded Buildings, the Sustainable Building Policy, and the Access Design Standards.
In addition, The City reviews design drawings at specified intervals on an iterative basis and has a regulatory role through the Development Permit process.
The BMO Centre expansion is a project that when completed, will be the largest convention and trade centre in Western Canada. It will attract national and international events that will support our tourism and hospitality industry. It supports the Downtown Strategy, is an investment in Calgary’s future and economic resilience and is a key pillar in the creation of a Culture + Entertainment District in east Victoria Park.
While the ultimate impacts COVID on public facilities are still being researched and analyzed, the current stage of the BMO Centre expansion project allows the project team the opportunity to understand how the building design and operational model needs to reflect the health and safety requirements that will come as a result of COVID.
The project team is actively researching how COVID-19 will impact building design, operational considerations and visitor experience and expectations. They are exploring a wide range of design responses including: technology advancements to support distancing, auto-open doors, modifications to food service and handling, sanitization rooms, antibacterial door pulls, doorless restrooms and many other enhancements that will support a safe and healthy visitor experience.
The convention industry is, and historically has been, an important component of recovery following massive global events such as COVID-19.
March 4, 2019
Council approved the financial strategy for all four unfunded long-term projects (BMO Centre expansion, Event Centre, Phase One of Arts Commons, and Foothills Field House)
March 12, 2019
Funding was announced by the Government of Canada.
The BMO Centre expansion broke ground in early spring 2019 on Hall F, the 100,000 sq ft. addition.
May 23, 2019
CMLC announced the project team for the Calgary Stampede’s $500 million BMO Centre expansion scheduled to commence in spring 2021.
June 10, 2020
Calgary Stampede and Development partner, CMLC released preliminary designs for The BMO Centre Expansion scheduled to be completed in 2024.
Project ground breaking.
Structural steel completion.
Arts Commons Transformation Project
The Calgary Centre for Performing Arts (now Arts Commons) opened in 1985 with four Resident Companies: Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra, Alberta Theatre Projects and Theatre Calgary. Since opening two more Resident Companies were added: One Yellow Rabbit and Downstage Performance Society.
Over the past 35 years, Calgary’s population has doubled and diversified significantly, bringing an increased need for access to a diverse range of gathering spaces.
The expansion will support the organization’s operational sustainability into the future by broadening revenue streams, addressing the changing needs of tenants and meeting growing demand. The modernization of the existing building will address critical lifecycle and safety issues.
In two phases, Arts Commons Transformation will both expand capacity in a new building and modernize the existing facility, bringing it up to today’s standards.
Phase one will see the expansion of Arts Commons, adding a new 1,000 seat performance venue and support areas.
Phase two is the modernization of the existing 560,000 square foot Arts Commons building which will address lifecycle challenges. It will also elevate the public’s experience through upgraded amenities and technology throughout the facility.
Calgary’s population has doubled since Arts Commons was built and has diversified significantly, bringing an increased need to access a diverse range of gathering spaces. Some capacity has been added over the years, but the capacity deficit still exists. The increased capacity will come from the development of phase one.
With much of the current building’s infrastructure and technology at end of life, there is critical work that must be completed in order to maintain the existing space for all users, including Resident Companies. Pursuing the modernization of Arts Commons will help remedy those lifecycle maintenance requirements. During the design process, Arts Commons will continue to actively pursue the remaining funding of the second phase.
Arts Commons Transformation is not simply about replacing aging venues, it is about increasing capacity and enhancing the experience for the hundreds of thousands of people who enjoy these facilities.
In March 2019, Council approved the funding strategy for the four major unfunded projects (Event Centre, Arts Commons Transformation, Foothills Field House and BMO Centre Expansion). In September 2019, Calgary City Council approved $25 million of Municipal Sustainability Initiative (MSI) funding to be used toward the design process.
Funding for the first phase of ACT comes from three sources:
- $80 million from the City of Calgary’s Greater Downtown Plan
- $25 million from the City’s Municipal Sustainability Initiative
- $165 million from CMLC’s Community Revitalization Levy.
In December 2022, CMLC allocated an additional $30 million of Community Revitalization Levy (CRL) finds toward the Arts Commons Transformation project. The additional budget was allocated as a proactive measure to address the impacts of inflationary pressures and market escalation due to adverse market conditions. The additional CRL was approved by City of Calgary Council through CMLC’s 2023 Business Plan.
The second phase, the modernization of the existing Arts Commons facility, will follow once funding is secured.
The Municipal Sustainability Initiative (MSI) is the Province of Alberta's initiative to strengthen the municipal sector and provide financial support to municipalities for infrastructure needs.
Municipalities determine which projects and activities to fund based on local priorities within the general criteria set out in the program guidelines. Municipalities may choose to contribute funds for use towards eligible MSI projects to non-profit organizations.
Arts Commons Transformation is a multi-year project that supports the long-term resiliency of the arts sector and supports the sustainability of Arts Commons which plays a critical role in the economic diversity of Calgary and within our local communities. It aligns with Calgary and Alberta’s strategic objectives to build a culturally vibrant and economically resilient community. The project supports The Downtown Strategy, an investment in the economic and cultural heart of Calgary-- a livable, thriving place for people, business, innovation and creativity.
Arts Commons is a key contributor to social, economic, cultural, and intellectual life in Calgary. As Canada’s third largest arts centre, it is home to six resident companies and used by over 200 community groups - an integral part of the arts and greater community.
The Arts Commons Transformation project was identified as one of four major city-building projects. While the impacts of COVID-19 are still evolving, the detailed design process will allow the project team to develop an innovative design concept that integrates considerations for public health and safety that result from the pandemic.
Arts Commons Transformation is a multi-year project that support the long-term resiliency of the arts sector and the sustainability of Arts Commons which plays a critical role in the economic diversity of Calgary and within our local communities.
During construction, of both phases, an estimated $386 million will be added to Calgary’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). In addition, 3,155 Jobs will be created, generating $249 million in labour income. Upon completion of both phases, Arts Commons, collectively with the resident companies will annually generate $53 million to Calgary’s GDP, support 683 Jobs that will generate $34 million in labour income (Economic Contribution Analysis, Deloitte 2019). See Social & Economic Impact for more information.
In a historically resource-based economy, shifting to new economic drivers is paramount to the wellbeing of the economy and the prosperity of every Calgarian. Arts Commons Transformation will also contribute millions to Canada’s GDP and provide taxes to all three orders of government, helping pay for government programs and services, such as schools, health care, and cultural activities.
Arts Commons Transformation will also have a positive social impact. The arts bring people together, increase understanding, empathy, and resilience, inspire creativity, and activate imagination, ultimately leading to new possibilities. Calgary’s youth will benefit academically, socially, and creatively, by having more ways to participate in the arts. Through Arts Commons Transformation, Arts Common vision of a creative and compassionate society inspired through the arts can be a reality.
The Arts Commons Transformation (ACT) project a tri-party development agreement between Calgary Municipal Land Corporation (CMLC), Arts Commons and The City of Calgary.
CMLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of The City of Calgary and steward of the Rivers District Master Plan, is serving as Development Manager for the Arts Commons Transformation project on behalf of the project partners, Arts Commons and The City of Calgary.
Following permitting and approvals, construction of the Arts Commons expansion is anticipated to begin in late 2024 or early 2025.
|Sept. 19, 2011||Council approved CPS2011-48 The Calgary Centre for Performing Arts - Seed Funding, where an MSI contribution of $25 million towards the renovation of the Calgary Centre for Performing Arts was approved in principle, of which $2.5 million was approved for release towards feasibility planning and design. In that report, Council also approved exploring the use of lots adjacent to Olympic Plaza for this purpose.|
|Feb. 13, 2017||Council approved CPS2017-0094 Investing in Partnerships Policy. This policy provides a guideline of 35% share investment in partner capital requests.|
|Dec. 18, 2018||The province extended the Calgary Rivers District Community Revitalization Levy (CRL) to allow for the expansion of the BMO Centre and millions in infrastructure upgrades to East Victoria Park.|
|Feb. 4, 2019||Council adopted Verbal Report C2019-0162 establishing the Arts Commons Assessment Committee and appointed Councillors Farrell, Woolley, and Keating to the Committee, and directed Administration to return with Terms of Reference for the Committee.|
|Feb. 25, 2019||Council approved C2019-0293 Arts Commons Advisory Committee Terms of Reference, with the first scheduled meeting of the Committee on March 12, 2019.|
|Mar. 4, 2019||Council approved the financial strategy for all four unfunded long-term projects (BMO Centre expansion, Event Centre, Phase One of Arts Commons, and Foothills Field House)|
|Mar. 12, 2019||The Arts Commons Advisory Committee (ACAC) is finalized. The mandate of the Committee is to complete a fulsome review and assessment of the renovation and expansion of the Arts Commons facility, as adopted by Council (CPS2011-48) and report back to Council.|
|Aug. 30, 2019||
At the direction of The City of Calgary, the Calgary Municipal Land Corporation (CMLC) completed a review of the functional program and determined the total project cost of Phase One of ACT to be $240 million. The City of Calgary is seeking support from both the provincial and federal orders of government.
The Honourable Kent Hehr announced the Government of Canada’s support of the Arts Commons Transformation (ACT) project. Federal government has approved $80 million in funding for this project from the Community, Culture and Recreation program, contingent on the City and Province contributing the remaining dollars needed to complete the project.
|Sept. 30, 2019||City Council votes 12 to 2 in favour of the motion to endorse ACT and approve the appropriation of $22.5M in Cultural Municipal Sustainability Initiative funding ($2.5M was previously approved) for ACT, with authorization to invest $10M to achieve the detailed design work necessary for Phase One and Two.|
|Oct. 9, 2020||Calgary Municipal Land Corporation (CMLC), Arts Commons and The City of Calgary announced the completion of a tri-party development agreement. The agreement initiated the design process and positioned CMLC as development manager responsible for stewarding the design process on behalf of the partners.|
|December 2020||Procurement process for the ACT expansion begins.|
|April 2021||Stakeholder and Public Engagement Strategy gets underway, including roundtable discussions, stakeholder interviews, and a public survey.|
|July 2021||CMLC releases results of ACT public engagement. See Media Release here.|
|February 2022||Calgary Municipal Land Corporation (CMLC), Arts Commons and The City of Calgary announce the prime design team heading up architectural design for the expansion. See the Media Release here.|
|September 2022||Calgary Municipal Land Corporation (CMLC), Arts Commons and The City of Calgary announce EllisDon as Construction Manager who will advise on the constructability and delivery of the project while it is being designed, streamlining the transition from design to development when the time comes to break ground. See the Media Release here.|
A multisport fieldhouse has been identified as a high priority for The City and Calgarians, based on the 10-Year Strategic Plan for Sport Facility Development (2008), citizen feedback and through its high priority ranking on the Community Services Infrastructure Investment Plan list.
The facility will also address an event-ready infrastructure gap as identified by Tourism Calgary. The facility will provide spaces capable of hosting provincial, national and international athletics, rectangular field, and gymnasium court competitions.
Presently, Calgary remains the only major Canadian city without a proper indoor facility for athletics and other field sports.
The proposed location for the multisport fieldhouse would be on the grounds of Foothills Athletic Park, which is located at 2424 University Dr. N.W. Foothills Athletic Park is directly west of Crowchild Tr. and south of 24th Ave. N.W.
The cost of the multisport fieldhouse is estimated at $285.8 million over a five-year period, including inflation.
The timeline to complete the project is estimated at five years from the time funding becomes available.
|July 19, 2010||
City Council approved Foothills and Glenmore Athletic Park Concept Plan CPS2010-47 and directed Administration, subject to available funding, to proceed in the planning process for Foothills and Glenmore Athletic Parks.
|Apr. 22, 2013||City Council approved the report: Foothills Fieldhouse – Progress Update CPS2013-0351, proposing potential funding options that support the development of a fieldhouse and approved in principle, the revised location for the Foothills Fieldhouse.|
|Jan. 28, 2019||City Council received the report: Consideration of Unfunded Long-Term Projects C2019-0135. The Foothills Multisport Fieldhouse was identified as one of the four major unfunded projects for Council consideration and Council formed the Foothills Athletic Park Redevelopment Advisory Committee.|
|Feb. 25, 2019||City Council approved the report: Foothills Athletic Park Redevelopment Assessment Committee (FAPRAC) terms of reference C2019-0274 with the first scheduled meeting of the Committee on March 19.|
|Apr. 29, 2019||City Council approved the establishment of a Major Capital Projects Reserve C2019-0525 to provide a funding source for four long-term capital projects: BMO Centre expansion, event centre, one phase of Arts Commons, and a multisport fieldhouse.|