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Calgary Municipal Land Corporation

Public Art Competition
Request for Qualifications

Created and owned by the City of Calgary, the Calgary Municipal Land Corporation is the master developer behind the dramatic transformation of East Village – a 49-acre brownfield site on the edge of Calgary’s downtown core within the Rivers District. Since 2007, CMLC has been helping achieve the City’s objectives for urban densification and community renewal, infrastructure investment and place making. Far beyond simply enabling the new residential offerings and retail spaces, CMLC has created the kinds of places that attract a diverse range of people, architecture, art and public spaces that have elevated the urban experience in Calgary.

Since the CMLC took shape 13 years ago, CMLC has successfully partnered, developed, attracted investment, project-managed, planned and enabled the revitalization of East Village including notable and award-winning project like Calgary’s Central Library, RiverWalk and National Music Centre. Today, CMLC is bringing its team of experienced placemakers to the southern portion of the Rivers District in the creation of Calgary’s Culture & Entertainment District.

To guide the planning, development and creation of the C&E District, CMLC partnered with Calgary Stampede in the creation of the Rivers District Master Plan (RDMP), a 20-year vision document that defines the area as a hub of the arts, sports and business. Already home to the colour and community spirit of the Calgary Stampede for over 100 years, it will offer an expanded BMO Centre, a new Event Centre, proximity to arts and culture institutions and new hotels, restaurants and retail.

The Calgary Stampede is a world-class, year-round gathering place in the heart of Calgary. As a not-for-profit community organization that preserves and celebrates western heritage, culture and community spirit, they are driven by the core values of western hospitality, integrity, pride of place and commitment to the community.


In May 2019, CMLC and the Calgary Stampede announced the $500 million expansion of the BMO Convention Centre located in Stampede Park at the southern end of the Rivers District. The project team and budget were similarly described.


CMLC seeks an artist or artists’ team to create an artwork or artworks for the new BMO Convention Centre in Calgary, Alberta. CMLC encourages all locally, nationally and internationally qualified artists and artists’ teams to apply. This is an unencumbered call open to all qualified artists. The public art design will beautify, activate and enliven the BMO Convention Centre. The successful artist/artists’ team will work with CMLC, CS and the design firm Stantec/Populous/S2 Architecture (SPS) to determine the best location(s) for public art at the convention centre complex.


Budget:  $2.50 million

$2.25 million - Exterior

$250,000.00 - Interior


Closing date RFQ: March 30, 2021, 17:00 MST.


The BMO Centre expansion project will transform the existing facility into a modern and international-ready venue.  The BMO Centre has been Calgary’s premier venue for consumer and trade shows, special events, meetings, and conferences since its opening in 1982.  With this expansion, the BMO Centre will be the largest conference facility in western Canada (and the country’s second largest after Toronto’s) and will launch Calgary as a bona fide competitor in the international meetings and conventions industry. The raw numbers are impressive—over 1 million square feet of total floor space, including 350,000 square feet of contiguous exhibit space, and more than double its current rentable area.


In its architecture and materiality, the three-story BMO Centre expansion makes abstract reference to Stampede culture and Calgary’s regional topography. Rugged cowboy culture inspired the charcoal brick plinth of the main floor, a strong base that opens to the street. The second floor, with its meeting rooms and two-story atrium offers both internal transparency among activities within, but also externally with views to downtown, to the adjacent Event Centre, to the vibrant 17th Avenue, and to the mountains; this was done so that attendees always have a sense of where they are. The third floor – housing the grand and junior ballrooms - is clad in a copper-colored composite metal panel that shimmers with the patina of a western belt buckle.


The swooping canopy of the roofline that flies over the plaza and lands on the pavilion echoes the movement at the Stampede rodeo, or of the amusement rides in the midway. The sculptural form of the building draws poetic inspiration from several contexts: a sinuous snow drift on the western prairie; the eroding banks of the adjacent Elbow River; or even the rolling foothills that lead to the Rockies. The interpretation is up to the visitor and unique to their own experience to the building and the City.

CMLC, CS and Public Art

Since CMLC first began its work in the Rivers District, the role of public art has been a foundational component of both the East Village Master Plan and Rivers District Master Plan. CMLC values the role of public art in creating neighbourhoods and has collaborated with celebrated local and international artists in both temporary and permanent installations. In 2018, Calgary’s Central Library welcomed the work of Christian Moeller alongside other installations in the community by national and international artists including British artist Julian Opie’s animated sculpture Promenade, and Ron Moppett’s monumental mosaic mural THESAMEWAYBETTER/READER amongst others.


The Stampede’s passion for public art dates back to 1912, when Ed Borein and Charlie Russell showcased their artwork at the Calgary Stampede. By the 1980s the Western Art Show had become a regular feature of the 10-day Stampede. Today, the Stampede’s annual Western Art Show is one of Canada’s most significant art shows.


To date, CS has proudly unveiled several significant pieces of art:  including Do Re Me Fa Sol La Si Do, Joe Fafard’s story-telling horses that the CS also gifted to Calgary’s  sister-city, Québec City in honour of its 400th anniversary and the  lively By the Banks of the Bow, said to be one of the largest pieces of western art in North America.


The BMO Centre expansion presents a unique opportunity to integrate public art that adds to the dynamic architectural vision of the building, to the cultural identity of Stampede Park, the Culture & Entertainment District and to the growing treasury of public art in the City.

BMO Convention Center Design Team: Stantec + Populous + S2 Architecture

Calgary Municipal Land Corporation and Calgary Stampede have engaged Stantec, Populous, and S2 Architecture to serve as the primary design consultants for the BMO Centre expansion project in Calgary, Alberta. Stantec is the Calgary-based prime consultant and Architect of Record (AOR), Populous is the architectural design lead, and S2 Architecture is leading the construction administration team. This team was chosen for their complementary expertise—Stantec’s global involvement in transformational community projects, Populous’ innovative practices in international convention center design, and S2’s local experience on projects at Stampede Park.


The Populous architectural design team, based in Kansas City and San Francisco, have designed several convention centers around the world that include public art as a necessary element of the convention-goer’s experience, including the ICC Sydney Convention Centre in Australia, the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Centre in San Antonio Texas, and the Oklahoma City Convention Centre in Oklahoma.  Like the BMO Centre, these projects recognize that the infusion of artistic elements – crafted by both regional and international artists – helps connect people to the building, the site, and the City in a meaningful and lasting way.

Public Art Consultant: Art to Public

The Art to Public team is an art consultancy located in Calgary, Alberta that specializes in providing comprehensive services in the area of public art. Art to Public manages public art projects and commissions for a diverse group of clients including municipalities, government agencies, corporations and private collectors and has successfully realized numerous public art projects ranging from intimate private commissions to complex major multi-million dollar projects. 


Project Budget

The total project budget is $2.5 million. The budget is inclusive of all artist and artists’ team fees, and any associated expenses for design, fabrication, shipping, insurance, site preparation, and installation cost.

Required Submission Materials

  • A statement about your interest in public art and how it should engage or respond to its environment and the viewer.
  • Annotated image list – twelve (12) images with: date, title, media and dimensions of past work including current work.  If the images reflect public work include the location of the project and the commissioning agency. Multi-media items (videos or sound clips that describe your work may be included as part of the annotated image list but not exclusively so. Links to web-based portfolios are encouraged.
  • A selected biography (CV) including current contact information.
  • If working as part of a team, brief resumes of each team member and a description of past experiences working together.
  • Two (2) to three (3) reviews or news articles about past projects (optional).
  • Two (2) professional letters of reference.

Selection Criteria

  • Creativity.
  • Originality expressed in past work.
  • Have a strong understand of scale.
  • Practical understanding of public art, implementation process and the ability to see the project to completion.
  • Proven track record: public art, museum and gallery work.
  • National and international profile though reviews of exhibitions literature and other peer assessments.
  • Interested in addressing the challenges of the site, the building and a willingness to work with the design team Populous/S2 Architecture and Stantec in the early stages of the project.
  • Ability to produce a high-quality work of art(s) within the project budget.
  • Highly professional.

Closing date RFQ: March 30, 2021, 17:00 MST.


Selection Process

A Selection Committee will evaluate each response and prepare a long list for consideration by a Jury. The adjudication and selection of the potential candidates for the Request for Proposal (RFP) process will be formalized through a Professional Recommendation to the Steering committee of the new BMO Convention Center authored by the Selection Committee and Art to Public. Candidates will be notified if they are to move to the RFP process. Those moving to the finalist process will receive an honorarium of $12,000.00 to $15,000.00 for the development of and the support of the final Design Concept. All applicants will be notified regardless.

Schedule (Subject to Change)

  • Deadline for the RFQ: March 30, 2021
  • RFQ Evaluation: April 5-23, 2021
  • Notification of Potential Candidates: April/May 2021
  • RFP Request: June 10, 2021
  • Deadline for RFP: August 10, 2021
  • Adjudication: August/September 2021
  • Finalist Selected: September 2021

Additional Information

All submissions will be treated as confidential between CMLC and each respondent. CMLC will not disclose their contents to other participants or to the general public. CMLC reserves the right to discuss submissions with its consultants and related parties.

Participation in the RFQ or RFP process does not imply a contract with CMLC.

CMLC reserves the right to withdraw the RFQ, initiate an alternative Selection process, or re-issue the RFQ at any time.

CMLC has no responsibility for costs incurred by artist or artists’ team for responses to this RFQ.

All submissions become the property of CMLC.

Format and Address

All documents in your submission must be PDF only and contained in a folder titled with name of Artist or Artists’ Team.

You may include up to twelve (12) annotated images with corresponding information in the PDF.

Documents may contain support material i.e. links to videos and websites.

Please keep submissions to 50 MB.

One submission per Artist or Artists’ Team only; multiple submissions will not be considered.


CMLC Public Art Request for Qualifications


BMO Centre Expansion RFQ submission: closed

All Files must be contained in a folder titled with Artist or Artist Team.

Please keep folder size to a maximum of 50MB.

One submission per Artist / Artist Team only.

Closing date  March 30, 2021, 17:00  MST.


Proposals will be accepted until March 30, 2021 at 17:00 MST. Reponses that do not fully meet the criteria above will not be considered at the sole discretion of the CMLC. Late submissions will not be accepted. Submissions will not be returned.

It is the respondent’s responsibility to request clarification of any item that is unclear or uncertain within the context of the RFQ package by contacting:

Art to Public/CMLC Public Art Manager:  External link opens in new tab or



CMLC reserves the right to use images of the successful artwork procured at the conclusion of the RFP process for not-for-process and educational purposes.  

CMLC in partnership with the Calgary Stampede and the City of Calgary.


BMO RFQ 2021.pdf 235.3KB