Spurring Revitalization in Calgary’s Downtown

To strengthen Calgary’s economy, the province is extending 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.

Premier Notley announces the extension of the Calgary Rivers District Community Revitalization Levy (CRL).

The Alberta government investment in the BMO Centre will create 2,250 jobs and contribute $223 million annually to Alberta’s economy. The expansion will double the size of the BMO Centre, making it the second largest convention centre in Canada and a tier-one trade show facility, similar to venues in Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal.

“East Victoria Park, which includes Stampede Park and BMO Centre, has long stood as the city’s cultural epicentre. With this announcement, we are going to kick-start urban renewal in Calgary’s downtown, create thousands of jobs, and increase tourism, business development and investment in Calgary.”

~Rachel Notley, Premier

“This CRL has been one of the most successful in the world, and the new vibrancy of the East Village is testament to that. Extending it for a further 20 years after 2026 will allow us to craft even better neighbourhoods, particularly south of the tracks in East Victoria Park where we are crafting a great cultural and entertainment district for Calgary.”

~Naheed Nenshi, mayor, City of Calgary

“The provincial and municipal governments have made a significant commitment towards the future economic diversity of the city. The BMO Centre will be a major catalyst that drives development in Calgary, and in particular the Rivers District, with the desire to begin construction early in 2019. Thank you to Premier Notley for understanding the needs of Calgary and southern Alberta, and helping position our city for future growth and opportunity.”

~David Sibbald, president and chairman of the board, Calgary Stampede

In addition to the more than 1.2 million visitors Stampede Park welcomes annually during the 10-day Calgary Stampede, the BMO Centre is a hub of activity year-round, hosting more than 1,200 events, from conferences to celebrations and corporate events.

In addition to the expansion of the BMO Centre on Stampede Park, the Calgary Rivers District CRL extension will allow for $140 million in infrastructure upgrades in Victoria Park, and future transformation of Arts Commons, which includes the Jack Singer Concert Hall, Max Bell Theatre, Martha Cohen Theatre, Big Secret Theatre and the Engineered Air Theatre.

Ultimately, the CRL extension will transform Calgary’s Victoria Park into a vibrant, high-density, mixed-use community that draws on the beauty of its natural surroundings, the strength of its cultural heritage and the vitality of its entertainment roots.

Quick facts

  • The Community Revitalization Levy program is a planning and financial tool under the Municipal Government Act that helps municipalities revitalize areas where redevelopment would not otherwise occur.
  • A CRL allows a municipality to use municipal and education property tax revenues from increased property values in a specific area to help finance infrastructure required to spur new development.
  • This levy will allow for funding of critical infrastructure in the area, including provincial contributions intended for the expansion of the BMO Centre on Stampede Park, the future transformation of Arts Commons, and infrastructure upgrades in the Rivers District.
  • The BMO Centre is currently an 80,770-square-metre (265,000-square-foot) facility. The expansion of the BMO Centre is made possible through a legislative amendment to allow the normal CRL term of 20 years to be modified.
  • Over the 40-year period of the CRL, private developers will invest an estimated $8 billion to $11 billion in new developments in the area. To date, approximately $2.8 billion in planned investment has already been realized in East Village. These investments are bringing residents, businesses and visitors into the area.
  • Calgary city council will hold a public hearing to discuss a revised Rivers District CRL Bylaw in 2019. Once approved, the bylaw must be sent to the province for approval in accordance with provincial legislation.