Seating for 2,000 people is being prepared at Spruce Meadows for Thursday's funeral of Ron Southern, who founded the internationally renowned equestrian facility.

Southern died last week at the age of 85.

The Calgary businessman also founded ATCO Group, which has grown into a $19-billion business employing 8,000 people involved in building modular structures and delivering natural gas and electricity.

Southern was a recipient of numerous prestigious distinctions, including induction as a Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 1995, Companion of the Order of Canada and the Alberta Order of Excellence.

Among those planning to attend his funeral is Gov. Gen. David Johnston.

Spruce Meadows says the service will be open to the public, with seating for 2,000 people plus an overflow area.

The ceremony is expected to last for two hours.