The long-awaited new building at Regina’s Evraz Place officially opened today.
Finishing touches are still being done and parking lot paving has been hampered by the early snowfall, but the International Trade Centre will be ready to house cattle, horses and international guests for Canadian Western Agribition beginning Nov. 20.
The 150,000 sq. foot space replaces old barns and buildings and connects all the remaining buildings on the 100-acre exhibition grounds except Mosaic Stadium.
The federal and provincial governments each contributed $11 million to the project, while the Regina Hotel Association provided $3 million and Agribition provided $1 million.
Agribition president Bruce Holmquist said exhibitors have been waiting for this for a long time. They dealt with leaking roofs and inadequate electrical service for years.
“They were pretty bad,” Holmquist said of the old facilities. “Gradually we saw the barns being closed as their usefulness and safety, I guess in some aspects, just wore out.”
He said the show’s financial contribution is an example of industry putting its money where its mouth is.
Agribition expects to welcome more than 1,000 international guests this year, at least partly as a result of the new facility. The International Business Centre will be located upstairs in the ITC, and guests are able to view the purebred shows from above.
Cattle entries are up by more than 200 head this year.