The road to a new event centre in Calgary has been a rocky one, but sports and music fans are one step closer to getting a new and improved live entertainment hub.

Today the city, along with the Province of Alberta, Calgary Sports and Entertainment Corporation, and the Calgary Stampede, announced that the project’s final agreement has been signed and has set the design and construction phase into motion.

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Photo via City of Calgary

“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,” said Alberta Premier Danielle Smith.

“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.”

In addition to the new arena itself, the $1.22 billion project will also include new community amenities like downtown’s only community rink, new plazas and public gathering places that are said to change the way Calgarians live and play downtown.

“At this critical moment when we are seeing explosive population growth and increasing private sector interest in our city, the confirmation that the event centre project is proceeding to design and construction phases will generate strong investor confidence in our Culture + Entertainment District,” said Mayor Jyoti Gondek.

“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 the creation of jobs in the construction, retail and entertainment sectors.”

As for how they’re going to pay for it all? According to Minister of Transportation and Economic Corridors Devin Dreeshen, $330 million will be paid by the Alberta government and The Calgary Sports and Entertainment Corp. will contribute $356 million, while the city will cover $537.3 million.

Sadly, this does mean that the Saddledome’s days are numbered, so get in there while you can. They hope to have shovels in the ground as early as next year.

Are you excited about the new event centre, Calgary? Let us know and hang out tight. Big things are coming.