Calgary Herald

Oliver & Bonacini event venue to open in Hudson’s Bay building

- AMANDA STEPHENSON astephenso­­ph

The Toronto-based company opening a 50,000-square foot event venue this week in downtown Calgary says it has not been put off by economic conditions or the record-high office vacancy rate in the city’s core.

Restaurant group Oliver & Bonacini is set to unveil Hudson, a 700-person capacity event space on the sixth floor of the historic Hudson’s Bay building on Stephen Avenue, on Wednesday. The venue will offer space for business events such as meetings and presentati­ons as well as celebrator­y occasions like weddings, Christmas parties and Stampede parties.

Its opening marks the completion of O&B’s first foray into Western Canada and is the final phase of a three-part project that saw the company open a restaurant (The Guild) and cocktail lounge (Sub Rosa) in the Bay building last year.

O&B first partnered with the Hudson’s Bay Company in 2011, creating a restaurant, in-house bakery and event space at the retailer’s Toronto Queen Street store in spring 2012.

Calgary was chosen as the first location for expansion outside of Toronto in part because of the historic charm of the landmark Hudson’s Bay store, said Patrick Soul, district manager for Oliver & Bonacini.

“Sure, relative to the unemployme­nt rate and vacancies in downtown Calgary, there are some concerns there. But this isn’t a 12- to 24-month thing for us,” he said. “We’re ... looking forward to the recovery.”

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