Nova Scotia

Halifax Convention Centre to open next month

One of the biggest pieces of the massive one-million-square-foot Nova Centre in downtown Halifax will open its doors next month.

'I know the downtown business community and the Nova Scotia tourism industry are tremendously excited'

The Halifax Convention Centre will officially open next month. (Paul Palmeter/CBC)

One of the biggest pieces of the massive one-million-square-foot Nova Centre in downtown Halifax will open its doors next month.

The Halifax Convention Centre will host its official opening ceremony on Dec. 15.

"We are absolutely thrilled and I know the downtown business community and the Nova Scotia tourism industry are also tremendously excited," said Carrie Cussons, president and CEO of the Halifax Convention Centre.

A month later, the centre will host its first event, the Canadian Junior Weightlifting Championships, one of 90 events planned for 2018.

About 75,000 delegates are expected through the doors next year, said Cussons, who estimates they will bring in more than $50 million in new money to the province.

"Forty-four of those events are national and international events; that's 27,000 visitors that will be coming into the city that wouldn't have come here before," she said.

Delays, delays

The $500-million Nova Centre is designed to house the convention centre, a luxury hotel, and business and retail space. The complex was originally supposed to open in January 2016, but the date has been pushed back several times. Some parts of the Nova Centre, including the hotel, remain under construction.

The construction has also caused headaches for some local businesses, which launched and then abandoned a lawsuit over lost revenue.

The city of Halifax and the province of Nova Scotia will each pay $59 million for the convention centre space, while Ottawa will make a lump sum payment of $51 million when it opens.

Many of the national and international events cited by Cussons will be coming to Halifax for the first time because the old World Trade and Convention Centre wasn't big enough.

"I'm very proud of what this facility represents," said Joe Ramia, president of Argyle Developments, builder of the Nova Centre. "I look forward to showcasing the space to our community."   

The public will be able to tour the new Halifax Convention Centre Jan. 12 to 14.

now