In April 2023, Alberta’s government signed a memorandum of understanding with the City of Calgary and Calgary Exhibition and Stampede Ltd. to invest in infrastructure to support the new event centre while revitalizing Calgary’s Rivers District, the Stampede grounds and downtown. The provincial funding has now been approved by cabinet and Treasury Board.

“Calgary is a city of big dreams, big projects and big expectations. Our investment in the Rivers District is one that helps build Calgary and continues the momentum of revitalization in the downtown core. It’s one more shot of energy for Calgary’s culture, entertainment and business scenes, and the city and province will reap the economic benefits for decades to come.”

Danielle Smith, Premier

The funding will support land acquisition, site utilities and transportation infrastructure for the Calgary arena and entertainment district project. The investment will also cover 50 per cent of the construction costs of a new 1,000-seat community arena that will serve youth and amateur hockey. Once complete, the Rivers District is expected to create 1,500 permanent jobs and welcome an estimated 8,000 new residents and three million annual visitors to the Culture and Entertainment District.

“Alberta is proud to be a key funding partner for this project to help ensure Calgary has the infrastructure it needs to support a vibrant events district, enhance the downtown core and promote economic development, now and in the future. This contribution is an investment in the long-term economic sustainability of Calgary’s downtown.” 

Devin Dreeshen, Minister of Transportation and Economic Corridors

“This community rink will add to Calgary’s already vibrant downtown. It will provide a hub for athletes and their families to gather, share in a love for sport and make lifelong connections. And the increase in visitors to the area will help spur the local economy.”

Ric McIver, Minister of Municipal Affairs

“The Calgary Rivers District and Event Centre project will provide a tremendous boost to the local economy and create thousands of planning, design and construction-related jobs. Infrastructure will support our partner ministries in any we can to ensure the project is completed in an efficient and timely manner, and that Calgarians get the top-notch arena and entertainment district they’ve been waiting for.”

Pete Guthrie, Minister of Infrastructure

“Our province has a strong history of hosting major national and international events. I see great synergy and potential to grow Calgary’s reputation as a global destination for festivals and sporting events through our government’s continued investment.”

Joseph Schow, Minister of Tourism and Sport

The province’s investment in the project includes new transportation infrastructure and improvements to existing transportation infrastructure, indoor and outdoor gathering spaces, a community rink and demolition of the existing Saddledome. Once complete, the Rivers District project will add an estimated four million square feet of mixed-use development (homes, retail, hotels) in Calgary’s Culture and Entertainment District. 

Agreements among all parties, including the City of Calgary, Calgary Sports and Entertainment Corporation and Calgary Stampede, have been signed and executed, paving the way for work to begin immediately.

“The completion of this project will bring benefits for all Calgarians, and we’re one step closer to its realization. We are fortunate to have partners, including the Government of Alberta, who realize the enormous potential that this district has for Calgary as a year-round hub of sports, arts and entertainment. It will attract commercial investment to our downtown core and contribute to our city’s vibrancy and economic growth.”

Sonya Sharp, Ward 1 councillor, City of Calgary, and chair, Event Centre Committee

“At this critical moment when we are seeing explosive population growth and increasing private sector interest in our city, the confirmation that our Culture and Entertainment District is proceeding to design and construction phases will generate strong investor confidence. This project will create better public gathering spaces, improved transportation networks, a downtown community rink and an arena to drive events that spur hosting and tourism opportunities, along with creation of jobs in the construction, retail and entertainment sectors.”

Jyoti Gondek, mayor, City of Calgary

Quick facts

  • The total project cost is estimated at $1.22 billion:
    • The City of Calgary will contribute $537.3 million (44 per cent).
    • The remaining $686 million (56 per cent) of the project costs will be covered by the Alberta government ($330 million, 27 per cent) and the Calgary Sports and Entertainment Corp. ($356 million, 29 per cent).