50 Years of Building Connections

Building on our History

In our fifty years of hosting, we have been a part of Calgary as it has grown from a city of 433,000 just finding itself as an oil and gas centre to an internationally renowned hub of sport, transportation and finance supporting 1.5 million residents. From the city hosting of the XV Olympic Winter Games to the many illustrious guests through our doors and into our meeting rooms – including local community guests of all ages to visiting Presidents and Prime Ministers, royalty, pop culture icons, and world-changing entrepreneurs; we are proud to have supported the evolution of Calgary and look forward to helping build a stronger future together.

Our location in the heart of Downtown Calary makes us an inseparable part of the fabric of the city's energy, diversity and community.

Important Moments in our History

Did you know?

We have Gargoyles!

Located on the second floor of our South Building, the CTCC houses a collection of 20 gargoyles. Created by the Royal Daulton Company out of the UK, a total of 600 adorned the old Calgary Herald Building from 1913-1972. We currently have the largest public display of the original gargoyles; others were sold at auction, destroyed, been misplaced, or given to other institutions across the Province.   

We once had a Garden.

The renowned Garden Terrace became a prominent fixture for the Centre and was frequented by the community from 1974-1996. Constructed as part of the original South Building, the terrace featured 681 plants, representing 50 varieties of trees and shrubs brought in from all over the world, including; Japan, South America, India, the South Pacific and Africa.

The Little Mermaid.

“The Little Mermaid” statue located within the +15 corridor of the South Building” was donated to the Calgary Convention Centre by the Danish Canadian Club in 1975. It is a 1/2 scale replica of the original in Copenhagen Harbour and was provided to the Calgary Danish Club by the Carlsburg Brewing Company to celebrate their entrance into the Canadian market.

We have a time capsule.

As part of a city-wide contest in 1975, a bust of Colonel James Walker was created to celebrate Calgary’s “Citizen of the Century” for outstanding volunteer service. Walker was chosen from 5,000 entries as the person “who, through dedicated volunteer service, has made the most outstanding contribution to Calgary over the past 100 years.” The time capsule is hidden in the base of the sculpture, which is said to include a 100-year birthday card signed by all Calgarians who recommended Colonel Walker as the Citizen of the Century. The bust can now be found on the 2nd floor of the Convention Centre, within the +15 corridor, just meters from where it once sat. 

Celebrities we have Hosted.

From Bob Hope to Mikhail Gorbachev, we have hosted many celebrities over the years. In fact, Arnold Schwarzenegger, George W. Bush, Tony Blair and Colin Powell all chose Calgary and the Calgary TELUS Convention Centre as their first stop in their post-politics speaking tours. 

Other celebrities have included; Paul Anka, Margaret Atwood, Sir Richard Branson, Bill and Hillary Clinton, Lou Ferrigno, Chris Hadfield, The Dalai Lama, Deepak Chopra, Dr. Phil McGraw, Anne Murray, Prince Charles, David Suzuki and Hilary Swank.

In 1964, Calgary continued urban renewal plans for a 31 block area of downtown Calgary spurred by federal assistance programs. After changes in scope and funding, priority switched to four primary blocks (known as Scheme 1B) and eventually the one block of the original Convention Complex. When construction began in 1972, it was Calgary’s first modern urban renewal project. 

We were a Calgary first.

Our History comes to Life!

For the past 50 years, the Calgary TELUS Convention Centre has continue to support the Calgary economy by attracting conventions and meetings that bring economic benefit to the city and advance its reputation and influence. 

In the early 1960s, Calgary set its sights on the development of a one-of-a-kind conference facility that could propel the city forward. To learn more about our history and the role we have played in the Calgary community, stop by the main floor of the South Building, starting on February 13th, and explore our wall of historic facts and stories that have helped define our facility over the past half century. 

The evolution of our logo

Questions about our History

The Calgary TELUS Convention Centre, or the Calgary Convention Centre as it was known from 1974-1997, was the first purpose-built convention centre in Canada. As a pioneer in the Canadian convention industry, we have helped define the market and set the stage for the opening of other convention centres across the country.

Calgary architectural firm Dale and Associates designed the Convention Centre Complex, including the now Calgary Marriott Downtown Hotel and the original Glenbow Museum. Dale and Associates were also involved in the design of the Husky Tower (now Calgary Tower).

No. Our hotel partner, as part of the original Calgary Convention Complex, has been known as The Four Seasons Hotel, Skyline Hotel, Skyline Plaza Hotel, the Radisson Plaza Hotel and finally operating as the Calgary Downtown Marriott Hotel since 1997.

In 1975, we hosted the sale of of over 100 head of Canadian Charolais. The cattle had to be brought down to Macleod Hall via elevators in groups of two or three

The original complex built in 1974, cost $32.1 million, of which $8.8 million was for the convention centre portion, split as follows. $3.1 million Canadian Government, $1.9 million Alberta Government, $1.3 million City of Calgary and $2.5 million from other civic and community partners. In 2020, the North building was constructed for a cost of approximately $70 million.

The Convention Centre Complex was Calgary’s first modern renewal project and resulted in the relocation of numerous businesses including; A music shop, furniture store, hardware store, branch of the provincial treasury, massage parlor, Persian rug store, leather boutique, wiggery, a front for a numbers game, oriental dress shop, art boutique, bootlegging establishment, three hotels, a pawn shop, a jewellery store, several coffee shops, dental laboratories, a Bible store, a western store, a ballet school, a barber shop, and a movie theatre

The CTCC is conveniently located in downtown Calgary. It is directly attached to a hotel, museums, and an art centre as well as the bustling Stephen Avenue, which is lined with shopping, dining, and entertainment options. Other activities close by include the Calgary Zoo, The Palace Theatre, TD Square, Prince’s Island Park, and the famous Calgary Tower. Learn more.

The Neilson Block, located to the west of our main entrance, was built in 1093 as a 3-story building and later expanded 2 floors in 1910 by the Neilson Furniture Company. At the time, they were Calgary’s first furniture builder and Western Canada’s largest independent furniture distributor. They occupied the building from 1903 until 1967.

Both in terms of number of events (1,238) and number of delegates (375,000), 2008 was our busiest year.

The Calgary TELUS Convention Centre has shown its commitment to sustainability for over 25 years by striving to create an environmentally friendly event space. We are proud to be the first convention centre in North America to achieve Gold Certification from the International Association of Congress Centres (AIPC), and the first building in Alberta to earn Go Green certification from BOMA (Building Owners and Manager’s Association) Canada in 2005 In 2012, we added 42 solar panels to our North Building roof, reducing our energy consumption by 14,000KwH/year. Through an internal environmental committee, we continually strive to find ways to reduce our impact through building improvements and operational efficiencies. Today, our award-winning sustainability program focuses on five key areas: resource consumption, waste reduction and recycling, building materials, interior environment, and tenant awareness. Read more. 

Back in 1974, we comprised of only the South Building as was the 25th largest convention centre in North America. At that time, we featured a 20,000sf banquet hall, a 24,000sf exhibition hall, 10 carpeted meeting rooms, and the 12,000sf garden terrace. Today, our two buildings  feature 122,000sf of meeting and event space.

We do not host an online photo gallery of past events, but you can check our photos of our venue on Types of Events We Host and also browse our Media Gallery. A few of our historic event photos are located in the media gallery above.

Originally we were the Calgary Convention Centre, however with a sponsorship agreement in December 1996, we were renamed the Calgary TELUS Convention Centre.

We hope to do public activations throughout the year. We are still in the planning stages, so please keep an eye on our social media platforms for further updates.