Cattle get first look at International Trade Centre

The multimillion-dollar facility will allow visitors to take in all the shows and exhibits under one roof

Cattle began moving in for Canadian Western Agribition this week, and while those housed in the new International Trade Centre might not appreciate their surroundings, their owners sure will.

The ITC officially opened Nov. 6, and Agribition is the first major event for the 150,000 sq. foot facility. Its opening means all the buildings at Evraz Place, except the football stadium, are now connected under one roof.

Several breeds of cattle as well as horses will be located in the ITC. All purebred cattle shows will be held in a new show ring in the middle of the space.

Agribition president Bruce Holmquist said cattle entries are up by 200 head this year, so all available space will be fully used.

He said exhibitors have been waiting a long time for improved, modern facilities.

“I can hardly wait to see the look on your exhibitors’ faces,” Evraz Place chief executive officer Mark Allan said to Holmquist during the official opening.

As a tenant, Agribition contributed $1 million to the capital cost of the ITC. The federal and provincial governments each contributed $11 million to the project, while the Regina Hotel Association provided $3 million.

“For all of us at Canadian Western Agribition, this is a lot more than concrete and glass,” Holmquist said.

“This is an example of what success, determination and partnerships can do. Many of us here today knew the original founders, and I can safely say … they’d be in awe.”

In the first years of the show, beginning in 1971, livestock were housed outside in tents. Smaller, older barns and buildings deteriorated over the years and 14 were demolished to make way for the ITC.

Holmquist said government support accounted for 50 percent of the show’s budget in the early years, but that has dropped to less than one percent, thanks to the hard work of volunteers and sponsors.

“We had to get something new and improved, and really the reason that Canadian Western Agribition put $1 million into this is it’s industry money,” he said.

“It was industry funding that leveraged and helped to get this process completed.”

The show expects to welcome what might be its largest international contingent ever this year at more than 1,200 guests.

Parking is free with paid admission, but visitors are able to take free bus service to the grounds and pay just $6 admission, which is less than half price.

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