For 120 years, the Lethbridge & District Exhibition has provided programming and facilities focused on agricultural, social, entertainment, cultural and economic needs of Lethbridge and Southern Alberta. Over this time the population of the area has increased dramatically and facilities and programming have been added at Exhibition Park to keep pace.
Exhibition Park exists within its means, to provide the people of Lethbridge & District with an agricultural and community gathering place at which to participate in events, conduct business, learn and be entertained.
At present, Exhibition Park has a significant impact, both socially and economically, on the city of Lethbridge and its surrounding areas. It serves a growing market area of 280,000, including the 89,074 residents of the Lethbridge. There was a total of 1574 rental days in 2012. More than 452 companies rented the facilities last year. Overall attendance at these events amounted to more than 850,000 visitors. A 2005 study of the economic and community benefits of Exhibition Park showed the activities conducted at Exhibition Park contributed to economic stimulation of almost $82 million annually.
Pursuing a mandate focused on economic development, community development and entertainment, and agriculture, Exhibition Park has consistently involved other community and regional organizations and stakeholders in building its direction.
With the exception of the newer Main Pavilion, the facilities range in age from 25 to 87 years and average 51 years old.
- Heritage Hall built in 1926 (9,000 sq ft – 87 yrs)
- South Pavilion 1961 (31,700 sq ft – 52 yrs)
- North Pavilion 1971 (34,500 sq ft – 42 yrs)
- West Pavilion 1988 (17,000 sq ft – 25 yrs)
- Main Pavilion 2000 (28,910 sq ft – 13 yrs)
The facilities are used for many purposes, including community events (Whoop Up Days, Children’s Festival), trade shows (Home & Garden, Outdoor Adventure Show), consumer shows (RV & Auto Shows), large gatherings (Rotary Lobsterfest, Family Fest), and agricultural sales and events (eg. Ag Expo, 4H programming).
This development plan represents 3 years of comprehensive work by a Joint Committee made of members of City Council, Lethbridge & District Exhibition Board of Directors, Chamber of Commerce, County of Lethbridge and members from stakeholder organizations.
The Joint Committee worked through a number of steps to ensure that this plan was comprehensive, methodical and responsive to community and market demands. They completed a financial review of Exhibition Park Operations, Facility Condition Audit of all buildings, Market & Needs assessment, Choosing By Advantages workshop in addition to a multiple accounts evaluation framework study conducted by MNP to arrive at the current site as the preferred site for development.
The Financial Review revealed the law of diminishing returns, inability to grow shows and inability to generate incremental revenue due to functional and conditional constraints. The Facility Condition Audit, performed by MPE Engineering, indicated that facilities of EP are reaching the end of their life cycle, aging rapidly and require replacement. The Choosing By Advantages process identified 2 options (rebuild on current site and green site) as having ‘equivalent’ benefit & cost profiles. Finally the Multiple Accounts Evaluation Framework, when all accounts, and the risks associated with the project as a whole were considered, it determined there was not enough compelling incremental economic impact and benefit to support the relocation to a greenfield site and concluded that the current site remains the preferred site for the renewed EP facilities.
“Gas King has been a proud corporate sponsor of Exhibition Park for over 10 years and knows firsthand the benefits of Exhibition Park programming.” – Brent Morris, President
— Exhibition Park (@ExParkLeth) February 9, 2017
— Exhibition Park (@ExParkLeth) February 2, 2017
— Exhibition Park (@ExParkLeth) November 24, 2016