You don’t have to look far to find a convention centre being built or getting a modern-day makeover. From new builds to expansions and renovations, Atlantic Canada’s meetings and conventions scene is driving tourism and boosting local economies.
Nova Centre / Halifax
Although it won’t be completed until next year, the colossal Nova Centre in the heart of downtown Halifax is already reshaping the city’s skyline. The structure, covering two city blocks, will host financial and convention centres, a luxury hotel, condominiums, retail outlets and public space. It comprises three towers perched upon a new, $164.2 million publicly-funded convention centre with 289,000 square feet of meeting space.
Last year, Argyle Developments Ltd. purchased a section of Grafton Street from the city for $1.9 million. Joseph Ramia, president of Argyle Developments Ltd., says this street development (a public plaza between the two buildings) will be the “big feature” of the project. “There’s nothing like it in Atlantic Canada,” he says.
St. John’s Convention Centre
The new St. John’s Convention Centre will be double the capacity of the old one, with 10 meeting rooms, two ballrooms, upgraded technology, new landscaping, and a direct link to the Delta St. John’s Hotel. Operations manager Michelle Eagles says the building is modern and contemporary with the architecture and local artwork reflecting Newfoundland culture. “Art is huge for this new building,” she says. The new centre will not be LEED certified, but will be much more environmentally friendly than the old centre, built in 2001. The upgrade was prompted by a need for more space, allowing the centre to attract larger groups.
The expanded St. John’s Convention Centre has a number of bookings already: four big ones in May of 2016 and a few more for that Fall. Eagles says they hope to get more local bookings for events like weddings and banquets.
Prince Edward Island Convention Centre
Located on the scenic Charlottetown waterfront, the P.E.I. Convention Centre adjoins the Delta Prince Edward for a combined meeting space of 56,000 square feet. The newly-expanded centre features a curved roof design that compliments its backyard: the harbour. “It’s a bold, modern design that fits very seamlessly into the whole waterfront landscape,” says Betty-Ann Morrison of the P.E.I. Convention Centre. With a large deck extending from divisible meeting rooms and floor-to-ceiling windows in the ballroom, the centre offers impressive waterfront views. Each of the 23 meeting rooms is named after a father of Confederation. Morrison says there was a need for more space so they could have a place for larger groups to meet, eat and exhibit under one roof. The centre has seen a boost in bookings since it opened, especially for weddings.
Moncton Entertainment Centre
The City of Moncton has bought the land, torn down the Highfield Square shopping centre and is now waiting on New Brunswick’s provincial government to bring in the bucks for a new $107-million sports and entertainment centre with convention and multi-use space. The federal government has agreed to fund the project indirectly, giving money to other infrastructure projects in Moncton that would free up $23.5 million of the city’s funds to spend on the centre. The site is 11 acres and the centre itself would cover five acres, the remaining six being private developments. Click here for more information on this topic