The Halifax Convention Centre is hosting a welcome weekend from Jan. 12-14, giving members of the public a chance to tour the new facility.
Carrie Cussons, president and CEO of the Halifax Convention Centre, said she was thrilled to allow the community to experience the facility firsthand before official events began.
“We wanted to make sure that the community… had that opportunity [to tour], because we know they will be playing a large role in welcoming guests and delegates when they begin to arrive into our city,” Cussons said.
According to Cussons, the convention centre already has over 90 events booked, which will bring in approximately 80,000 delegates to the city. She predicts the number of visitors will have a large impact on Halifax’s economic growth.
“They shop at our shops, eat in our restaurants… stay at our hotels and if we do it right, actually get out into all of Nova Scotia and explore what a great place it is to be,” Cussons said.
Muriel Hale lives in Halifax and attended Saturday’s tour of the facility with her husband Bill.
“I mean, it really is phenomenal,” Hale said. “Being able to have the vantage points to look out over the city was amazing. We think it’s going to be a super addition to the city.”
The convention centre has four floors and features 120,000 square feet of flexible event space, according to a press release. The building also includes dedicated meeting spaces.
The centre is located on 1650 Argyle St., and floor-to-ceiling windows on its ballroom level offers guests a view of the surrounding area.
Cussons said designing the centre to look out over the city sets the venue apart from other conference spaces.
“A lot of convention centres were built so that when you’re in [them], you don’t actually know quite where you might be,” Cussons said. “This centre, we kind of turned that upside down. There’s so many views of the downtown core, and of our amazing entertainment district on Argyle…you really know you’re in Halifax.”
Saturday’s event attracted many families to the facility, as the convention centre provided a free screening of Finding Dory, along with popcorn and face painting.
“I came here just with my kids to see the movie, but maybe after the movie we can take a look around to see what they have in here,” said Suzan Marre, a local mother who brought her family to the event. “I think it’s very accessible to all of the people, so it’s very enjoyable.”
The welcome weekend continues on Sunday, as the centre offers visitors a chance to relax and listen to live music provided by East Coast Music Association artists including Don Ross, Kim Harris and Reeny Smith.
The Halifax Convention Centre officially opened on Dec. 15. Cussons said her team used the holiday season to move over equipment and familiarize staff with the new space, in order to prepare for upcoming events.
It will host its first client event on Jan. 20, welcoming the Canadian Junior Weightlifting Nationals.