The facilities at Exhibition Park are at or near capacity, nearing the end of their life cycle, and the size and function are not sufficient to meet the growing needs and expectations of the communities it services. Additionally, The City of Lethbridge is unable to attract large trade shows and modern programming/entertainment due to lack of adequately sized facilities – this equates to millions of dollars of lost economic impact. This need was first identified by the City in 1999.
With the exception of the newer Main Pavilion, the facilities range in age from 30 to 92 years and average 56 years old. The facilities are used for many purposes, including community events (Whoop Up Days, Children’s Festival), trade shows (Home & Garden, Big Christmas), consumer shows (RV & Auto Shows), large gatherings (Rotary Lobster Fest, Family Fest, Remembrance Day), and agricultural sales, events and educational programming (e.g. Ag Expo, 4H programming, Aggie Days, Farmers’ Markets). They are also rented by over 450 organizations for their events and activities. With today’s aging infrastructure the development of new programs is limited and the impact on the customers’ experience is negative.
In 2013 the project gained widespread support which included 33 Letters of Support from local and regional businesses and organizations, The Chamber of Commerce, University of Lethbridge, Lethbridge College, and other municipal governments. City of Lethbridge committed $25 million in 2018, should funding be found from other orders of government or private sources.