Skip to contentSkip to navigation

Opening Western Canada’s largest convention centre: Calgary’s expanded BMO Centre at Stampede Park

|July 04, 2024
Opening Western Canada’s largest convention centre: Calgary’s expanded BMO Centre at Stampede Park

An architectural landmark—and a new precedent for world-class convention venues.

On June 5, 2024, Calgary’s BMO Centre at Stampede Park celebrated the grand opening of its 565,000 sq. ft. expansion; officially becoming Western Canada’s largest convention centre following decades of planning and four years of construction. Now a Tier 1 convention facility, the multifunctional, state-of-the-art building serves as an architectural landmark for locals while also putting Calgary on the map as a destination with the ability to host the world’s largest meetings and conventions. It also sets a new standard for future convention venues across the globe.

Delivery of the BMO Centre’s $500-million expansion was led by Calgary Municipal Land Corporation (CMLC), which was created by the City of Calgary back in 2007 to kick-start Calgary’s urban renewal by revitalizing the Rivers District—504 acres on downtown’s east end, including East Village and Calgary’s emerging Culture + Entertainment District where the BMO Centre is located. Through mindful master-planning, creative placemaking and bold city-building ventures, CMLC is transforming Calgary into one of the world's most livable and lovable cities.

NATIONAL’s involvement

In March 2024, CMLC and their partners at the Calgary Stampede engaged NATIONAL to support end-to-end media relations and on-site media logistics for the expanded BMO Centre’s grand opening event. The primary objective was to generate significant media coverage in local, national and international markets to attract a global audience for meetings and conventions. The secondary objective was to have the coverage recognize the project and industry partners who brought the project to life.


NATIONAL acted as a true extension of the CMLC team to develop a strategic media relations plan and engaging media materials that reflected best practice approaches sourced from across the various sectors we serve. This included recommending the media kit be hosted on CMLC’s website to enable data and insights collection around top-performing assets that can be leveraged to inform future strategies. A visual infographic one pager was also developed to creatively display key details about the expansion in a way that captured media’s attention and made it easy for them to pull information for their articles.

The team also identified and executed three unique photo opportunities to surprise media personnel and event attendees alike. This included the first-in-Canada indoor drone ribbon cutting, for which NATIONAL's team of experts managed all logistics. A complex, on-site, speed-dating-style 1:1 media interview format was also executed the morning of the event where seven spokespeople representing different organizations successfully conducted back-to-back interviews with 11 outlets in the span of an hour and a half.

Canada’s first indoor drone ribbon cutting, facilitated by NATIONAL in partnership with Calgary Photo Studio. Custom ribbon designed & sourced by NATIONAL.

NATIONAL’s sister agencies Padilla and Hanover—based in the US and the UK, respectively – were also engaged to support with garnering international media coverage for the public artwork unveiled in the courtyard of the BMO Centre a few weeks prior to the grand opening event.

Spirit of Water, by renowned UK artist Gerry Judah, stands as a 70-foot-tall, landmark addition to Calgary’s growing public art collection.


The BMO Centre at Stampede Park grand opening event and corresponding media strategy proved incredibly successful, garnering a total of 130 pieces of coverage in online, print and broadcast outlets from across the globe. This coverage brought in an estimated reach of more than 296 million and is valued at close to $3 million in ad equivalency.

Beyond the clear quantitative impact of this program, NATIONAL is so grateful to have supported this monumental, city-changing project in a place many of our team members are proud to call home.

Header image: Calgary’s expanded BMO Centre at Stampede Park, designed by Stantec, Populous & S2, draws on inspiration from the Bow & Elbow Rivers, the Rocky Mountains and the pioneering spirit of the Calgary Stampede.