Event Centre FAQ 

Deal Details:

What is different between this project and the last version that failed?

This Project is more than an event centre. It is significant phase to realize the goal of creating a vibrant culture and entertainment district that will include the event centre, indoor and outdoor public gathering places and a community rink for public use. The plan also includes a major investment in transportation and infrastructure improvements to serve the district and the people visiting the area.

What is the community benefit of this project?

The community benefits associated with this program include a community rink, outdoor and indoor gathering spaces, and district-wide transportation, street and public realm improvements. The outcome improves the user experience throughout the Culture + Entertainment District.

How will indigenous communities be engaged in the design and development of the Event Centre?

There are many opportunities fulfilling the call to action as referenced by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.  Once the Event Centre progresses into the next stages of design and development all parties are committed to working together with indigenous communities.

What types of events and programs will take place at the new Event Centre?

In addition to sporting events, such as professional and amateur hockey and lacrosse, and art events, such as concerts and shows, there will now be new opportunities to host “A-class” concerts and events from around the world that are unable to be accommodated in the aging Saddledome. The outdoor and indoor public plazas also offer new venues to host events, artists and shows. A modern event centre ultimately becomes a more attractive destination for more events that can be experienced by more people – those who live here now and those visiting in the future.

Is this a better deal than the last one?

This agreement is a different agreement than the last one.  This is a comprehensive program that goes beyond an Event Centre facility. It secures funding for the district wide improvements needed to promote development, improve transportation and provide community gathering spaces as part of the Rivers District Master Plan.

This agreement is an all-inclusive approach to the Event Centre and area. It includes all elements needed to function and animate a Culture and Entertainment District.

How will the Event Centre benefit Calgarians, regardless of age or background?

The outcome of this project provides opportunities for all Calgarians and visitors to our city to gather and experience events and entertainment in the downtown. Whether festivals, concerts, community gatherings, cheering on sporting events, or enjoying the surrounding amenities, the improvements outside the event centre will provide equitable opportunities for people who visit the area and enjoy Calgary’s Rivers District and Culture + Entertainment District.

How does cost sharing for the Event Centre alone between The City and CSEC compare between this deal and the last one?

The current deal has CSEC contributing 40% and The City contributing 60% of the facility cost.

Will property taxes increase as a result of this new deal?

None of the current sources of funding identified for the Event Centre Project and district-wide infrastructure improvements will result in an increase in municipal taxes or new debt to The City.

What is the strategy for funding the Event Centre and how much cash is left from the previously approved deal?

The Event Centre project is a part of the Financial Strategy for the Major Capital Projects that was approved by Council in 2019, and at the time identified $275 million of cash funding for the Event Centre. This initial allocation was determined based on the guiding principles to the financial strategy of:

  • Maximize uncommitted cash reserves available for project funding and financing
  • Minimize of financing costs
  • Prioritize the use of restricted funding sources where possible
  • Maximize partner funding contributions
  • Maximize the number of projects that can be completed
  • Minimize the overall credit rating impact
  • Refine project scope to reduce project costs where possible
  • Sequencing the projects to reduce overall costs
  • Maximize value from our asset portfolio

Subsequently, Council appropriated this amount and additional funding to the Project between 2019-2021, totaling $312.9 million. To date, $17.9 million has been spent. The remaining cash that was previously approved is approximately $295 million.

These guiding principles remain in place to guide future financial decisions for the Event Centre.

Where will the additional funds come from to fund The City’s new contribution to the project?

The remaining funding required is $242.3 million. Cash resources will be transferred to the Major Capital Projects Reserve from Fiscal Stability Reserve and Budget Savings Account Merged Reserve.

If cost overruns occur – how will they be funded?

Both CSEC and The City will share cost overruns. Additional funds for The City’s share of potential cost overruns are proposed to be set aside from revenues from future land sales and future anticipated investment income from the Major Capital Projects Reserve.

Is this the right time to do this project with current construction cost escalation?

No one has perfect foresight to predict inflationary pressures in the future.  What we do know is that the more time it takes to break ground for construction, the more the project will cost.

How many jobs will be created by this deal in terms of construction, etc.?

Once we have progressed towards the design and future development of the Event Centre along with the district-wide improvements, we will have a much better idea of the number of jobs that will be created during construction.

For reference, Ernst & Young prepared an Economic Impact Assessment on the full build out of the Culture + Entertainment District. The report released in January 2019, states up to 4,750 full-time jobs could be created during the construction phase of the district, with an additional 1,536 permanent jobs created once the new facilities are open.

Can you explain the $1: $1.28 ratio referenced in the cover report?

The City is able to leverage our investment. For every $1.00 invested by The City, the Province and CSEC together will invest $1.28.  The City’s contribution of $537.3 million is being matched by the addition of other party contribution of a total of $686.0 million, $330.0 million from The Government of Alberta and $356.0 million from Calgary Sports and Entertainment Corporation.  The ratio of contributions is $537.3:686.0, or 1:1.28.

How much cash is CSEC contributing? 

CSEC is making a total contribution of approximately $750 million over the term of the arrangements. This represents a cash payment of $40 million and the remaining $708 million is being paid through escalating annual payments of $17 million per year.

The present value of these future annual payments is $316 million using The City’s cost of borrowing as a discount rate.

Design, Sustainability and Climate

What climate initiatives will be included in this project, including solar panels?

Those types of details will be worked out in the definitive agreement process that will be underway through spring and summer 2023.

When will the design details be finalized?

Important details for the Event Centre building and program such as sustainability, accessibility, flood mitigation, public realm, architectural features will be addressed in the next stages of work during agreement negotiations and design phases.

Public engagement

Was there public engagement?


Formal public engagement for the Rivers District Master Plan (Master Plan) began in February 2017 and continued through to July 2018. The Master Plan was completed in December 2018, which concluded with a new event centre location in The Culture + Entertainment District. Public Engagement continued specific to a new event centre, between January and March 2020, during the Council-directed work on the previous event centre agreements. Three main themes emerged from this work:

  • Pride: Many see the Event Centre as an opportunity to revitalize east Victoria Park and the surrounding neighbourhoods, catalyze growth and give Calgary a world-class facility they can be proud of.
  • Variety: By and large, people want the space to offer a variety of exciting opportunities that will consistently attract locals and tourists year-round.
  • Connection: The Event Centre should provide opportunities for Calgarians to connect with one another, with friends and family, business associates and their community.

All parties involved in the Culture and Entertainment District and contemplated deal structure acknowledge that public engagement has previously occurred with respect to an event centre, and this work will be applied as the Project proceeds