A major part of the facelift of Evraz Place in Regina is now complete.
The new International Trade Centre officially opened Monday and will house the Canadian Western Agribition for the first time on Nov. 20.
The 150,000 square-feet centre, the size of nearly three football fields, replaces a number of old buildings and barns on the property that were in bad shape.
“We had some leakage in the roof and things and gradually we saw the barns being closed as their usefulness and safety – I guess in some aspects – just wore out,” Agribition president Bruce Holmquist said.
Agribition put $1 million towards the new facility, which Holmquist noted is helping to attract more international and national exhibitors to the event.
Holmquist said he shares a sense of nostalgia around the old buildings that housed Agribition for so many decades.
“That’s good, that’s part of the past, that’s brought us to where we are today.” he said.
“Now we have to have things that are modernized as far the technology, the things we can do. Some big screens are going to be in the arena, we broadcast things live, I mean it’s streamed on the internet, things like that have to happen.”
The new state-of-the-art facility joins all buildings at Evraz Place with the exception of Mosaic Stadium, making the 100-acre property the largest interconnected event complex of its kind in Canada.
Holmquist pointed out that agribusiness people who live in the southern U.S. or even south and central America don’t really see Regina as a good destination in November because they don’t like the cold. He said the ability to have everything under one roof is a big benefit.
Mark Allan, Regina Exhibition Association Limited president and CEO, has had a vision for the International Trade Centre for well over a decade and is pleased to see years of planning come to fruition.
“Redevelopment of the property’s west side was a key part of our long-term vision for a renewed and modernized Evraz Place, along with other major improvements over the last decade,” Allan said in a news release.
The new facility cost $37 million, with money coming in part from the provincial and federal governments, along with the City of Regina.
“Supporting the development of the International Trade Centre was an easy decision for city council,” said Mayor Michael Fougere in a news release.
“This new facility will meet the needs of our major agricultural shows, and as a multi-purpose venue. It will provide new opportunities all year round.”