Bell Centre in Montreal, Quebec | Magil Construction

Bell Centre

Location Montreal, Quebec
Contract Method Construction Management
Sector Commercial
Client Bell Center
Completion Date Completed - Mar 1996
Size 168,000 square feet
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Bell Centre

The Bell Centre is a world-renowned sports and entertainment complex in Montreal, Quebec. It opened on March 16, 1996, after nearly three years of construction. This multifunctional facility is best known as the home of the legendary Montréal Canadiens Hockey Club.

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Largest Arena in North America

Located in downtown Montreal, with a capacity of 21,273 seats, the Bell Centre is the largest hockey arena in North America (with the building covering an area of 3.87 acres) and one of the most technologically advanced and versatile entertainment venues in the world.

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Highly Versatile and Easily Accessible

The Centre includes three major restaurants, 134 private boxes, media areas, 30 concessions, 12 preparation kitchens, 2 main kitchens, dedicated areas for the Montreal Canadiens Hockey Club, two underground parking levels, as well as a wealth of facilities serving the production of world-class shows. Its capacity and the many possible configurations allow it to host a wide range of sports and entertainment events. It is also conveniently linked to the Montréal metro (subway) and commuter rail networks.

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What Makes it so Special | The Forum’s Legacy

Besides the 24 Stanley Cup Championship banners hanging from its rafters, the Bell Centre is recognized as a true landmark namely for its location and design. Since the early ’90s, the Montréal Canadiens knew they had to leave the famous Forum which had been the Club’s home since 1926. Along the years, improvements brought the Forum’s seating capacity from 9,000 to 16,000, but that was no longer enough.

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Bringing the Client’s Vision to Life

As our client Mr. Ronald Corey—then President of the Canadiens—put it, the Bell Centre’s success depended on two key factors. The first is its ideal location, despite an already crowded downtown core. Mr. Corey’s bold idea was to modify the city block housing the historic Windsor station, by integrating a new train station within the Bell Centre project. This freed up a prime downtown block and met three goals (“hat trick”): a central location, access to the subway, and access to the commuter train.

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Building a Downtown Landmark

The architectural design of the Centre, including the development of an outdoor plaza combining heritage and novelty, is the work of a joint venture between Lemay and Lapointe Magne. The Centre’s complex and challenging construction in a dense urban environment was entrusted to Magil Construction.

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Enhancing the Experience of Every Single User

The Centre’s second key success factor, as defined by the client, is the simplifying and enhancing of the user experience, in particular by ensuring that each spectator can easily see and hear all the action. As the project’s builder, Magil Construction contributed and helped rally all stakeholders towards realizing this overriding objective. During the design phase of the project, pioneering and innovative 3D software was used, in particular to refine the design and ensure that each seat had an unobstructed view of the ice


The Final Verdict

As the Canadiens prepared for a practice in the recently completed arena, our client, Mr. Corey, went up to the top row … and was delighted to clearly see the players and hear their skates as they hit the ice.