New Venues in Calgary Celebrate History, Science & Sports

Canada Sports Hall of Fame
Canada Sports Hall of Fame

For attendees interested in tech, transportation, history and sports, Calgary recently unveiled three high-impact venues designed with group events as a priority.

The new Gasoline Alley Museum is located in Heritage Park near beautiful Glenmore Lake, designed like a frontier town with saloons, horse carriage builders, a General Store, etc. The museum showcases 180 historical interactive exhibits amid a collection of one-of-a-kind vintage vehicles and oil/gas-related artifacts, explained by period-costumed employees.

“Begin the night’s adventures aboard an authentic steam engine train that picks you up from an antique train station at the park’s entrance,” says Cynthia J. Douwes, CMP/CMM, event services manager for Meetings + Conventions Calgary. The 10-minute ride around Heritage Park passes by a replica of an 1860s Hudson Bay Company fur trading fort before depositing groups off at Gasoline Alley’s doorstep.

“As you enter, it’s a mercantile block with an old-style candy shop, an emporium, a 1930s service station, a retro drive-in movie and much more,” says Douwes.

The 2-story museum hosts 1,000 for receptions. Dine among vintage cars on the lower level, or host an event in the mezzanine-level 1930s style Founders’ Lounge with rosewood panel walls, leather furnishings, a fireplace and grand piano. Seating capacity is 344 max.

TELUS Spark is Canada’s first purpose-built science center. Four exhibit galleries, more than 100 exhibits, a presentation theater, outdoor park and Calgary’s only HD Digital Dome IMAX theater spurs imaginative cocktail receptions and inspired teambuilding. Where else could a team of 60 pax design, build and present their own oil pipeline guided by an expert facilitator?

“TELUS is really easy to work with,” explains Douwes. “They’ll alter the building to reflect your corporate colors.” Seated dinner capacity is 700 max.

Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame honors 520 inducted sport legends and the 60 various sports they represent. The museum just opened the 40,000-sf Grand Hall, the newest of 12 galleries. Using amazing interactive exhibits, group members can block a shot like a hockey goalie and drive a Formula One sports car over 200 mph.

The Grand Hall and conference space features a high ceiling and large drop-down video screen surrounded by smaller screens for customized group presentations. Reception capacity is 225.

“This place is the coolest, even if you’re not into sports,” enthuses Douwes. “In one area, a virtual bridge makes it seem as if you’re in a swimming pool competing against other swimmers.”

The revered ice sports section includes jerseys of star hockey players and Olympic figure skating costumes. Douwes says the Hall of Fame is also used as an Olympic and Team Canada training facility. A twisting luge and bobsled track runs throughout the building.

“There’s nowhere else you can be sitting in your meeting and then see luge racers flying by in the concourse,” says Douwes.