A couple scribbles with golden pens, smiles, a handshake, a document sealed with a kiss for good luck.
With that, Calgary Mayor Dave Bronconnier finished the city’s $500,000 bid for the National Portrait Gallery, which may find its permanent home on the northwest corner of Olympic Plaza after three months of bureaucratic deliberation in Ottawa.
“It is our view as a city that this bid is the strongest bid we’ve put forth for any event,” Bronconnier said, adding the international recognition of the Olympic Plaza, combined with the city’s partnership with Plenary Group Canada, who will oversee the project, and community and business support should ensure Calgary as a serious contender among the nine cities vying for the gallery.
“This bid is rock solid, it comes with support that I don’t believe could be matched anywhere else,” the mayor said.
While Bronconnier wouldn’t tip his hat as to the eventual total cost of the project, expected to take up to three years to complete, but the province has already committed $40 million, the city’s donating the land, the rest will come from private funding, and the word iconic was tossed around like a handbag in a catfight.
“It’s a significant building and a significant sum of money,” said Bronconnier before spilling out more than half a dozen iconic national and international sites like the Saddledome and the Canadian Parliament Buildings that the Gallery will stand among.