The Bow (skyscraper)

Coordinates: 51°02′52″N 114°03′44″W / 51.04778°N 114.06222°W / 51.04778; -114.06222
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The Bow
General information
Location500 Centre Street SE, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Coordinates51°02′52″N 114°03′44″W / 51.04778°N 114.06222°W / 51.04778; -114.06222
Construction startedJune 13, 2007
Topped-outNovember 2010
Cost$1.4 billion CAD
OwnerOak Street Real Estate Capital[2]
Roof236 m (774 ft)
Technical details
Floor count58 floors
53 office floors
2 retail floors
4 mechanical floors
3 sky gardens
Floor area2,150,425 sq ft (199,781.0 m2)[1]
Design and construction
Architect(s)Foster + Partners, Zeidler Partnership Architects
DeveloperMatthews Southwest
Structural engineerHalcrow Yolles
Main contractorLedcor Group of Companies

The Bow is a 158,000-square-metre (1,700,000 sq ft) skyscraper in downtown Calgary, Alberta, Canada. The 236 metre (774 ft) building is currently the second tallest office tower in Calgary, since construction of Cenovus' Brookfield Place; and the third tallest in Canada outside Toronto.[3] The Bow is also considered the start of redevelopment in Calgary's Downtown East Village.[4] It was completed in 2012 and was ranked among the top 10 architectural projects in the world of that year according to Azure magazine.[5] It was built for oil and gas company Encana, and was the headquarters of its successors Ovintiv and Cenovus.


Location of The Bow before construction; the York Hotel was to be incorporated in the building complex.

Early plans[edit]

EnCana Corporation (now Ovintiv), North America's second largest natural gas producer, announced plans for the high-rise in 2006. Early designs suggested that the project would consist of a complex of towers (perhaps two or more) over two blocks. The tallest of these towers could be 60 stories tall, which would make it taller than the current tallest tower in Western Canada, the Suncor Energy Centre (also in Calgary). The initial proposal was for a tower of 300 m (980 ft), making it the tallest building in Canada.[6] Early sources suggested a two tower complex spanning the entire surface of two blocks, with a second tower of 40 to 50 stories connected at sixth stories level over 6 Avenue.[7] Official statements declared that the tower will be 58 stories, or 247 metres (810 ft) tall.

The management company in charge of the project was Texas-based Matthews Southwest, with architectural services furnished by UK-based Foster + Partners and Zeidler Partnership Architects of Calgary.[8]

Announcement of The Bow[edit]

Sky high clubs at Floors 55 and 56

The project filed for development permit application is called The Bow, for its crescent shape and the view of the Bow River.[8] On October 12, 2006, Foster + Partners revealed the first designs for the new tower.[9] The final tower stands 11 meters short of the original plan after concerns were raised regarding the shadow cast upon Bow River pathways.

Encana sold The Bow office project assets to H&R Real Estate Investment Trust in 2007 for $70 million,[10] while signing a 25-year tenant lease agreement that was to start after the project's completion. Encana expected to occupy the entire tower.[11]

In late June 2007, the company announced that the Portrait Gallery of Canada would not be moving from Ottawa into the Bow.[12]


Groundbreaking took place on June 13, 2007, with work starting on both sides of 6 Avenue South between Centre Street and 1st Street East.[13] Sixth Avenue was excavated, after closure of the block (August 21, 2007)[14] and the six level underground parkade was constructed on a two block area, on both north and south side of 6th Avenue.

A neighbouring historic building – The York Hotel, built 1929–1930 in the Edwardian Commercial Architectural style – was demolished to make room for the new building. Because of the historical significance of the York Hotel, it was important to save as much as reasonable to incorporate into the new structure. Between 70 and 80 percent of the bricks were saved and used to reconstruct two of the hotel’s exterior walls. The brown brick originally supplied by Clayburn Brick in Abbotsford and the cast-in-concrete friezes have been removed, numbered and graphed to show the original location the brick and friezes were installed on the new building in their original locations. The remainder of the building was demolished ahead of schedule by Calgary-based demolition and environmental contractor Hazco.

The concrete foundation was continuously poured over 36 hours on May 11 and 12, 2008, being the largest of its kind in Canada, and third largest in the world after the Howard Hughes Center in Los Angeles and the Sama Tower (Al Durrah Tower) in Dubai.[15] Some 14,000 cubic metres (18,000 cu yd) of concrete filled the 3,000-square-metre (30,000 sq ft) foundation.

Erection of the above-ground steel superstructure began in October 2008 with the installation of the first of two Favelle Favco heavy-lift tower cranes.

Construction was briefly halted in December 2008 due to a $400 million shortage of financing needed to finish the job.[16] The project continued to move forward, despite the unresolved financing issues.[17] In April 2009, a secondary tower in the project, the 200,000-square-foot (19,000 m2) building planned for a block south of the main tower, was put on hold for at least two years. The main tower, however, was set to continue, having secured the remaining $475 million required for completion of the structure.[18]

On July 8, 2010, the Bow surpassed Suncor Energy Centre as Calgary's highest building.[19] The 215 metres (705 ft) tall Suncor Energy Centre was the highest building in Calgary since 1984. The addition of a steel girder, part of floors 55 to 57, raised the Bow tower to 218 metres (715 ft). In November 2010 the Bow would be topped off at 234 metres.[20]

Opening and use[edit]

The Bow officially opened in June 2013 and became the headquarters of Encana Corporation and Cenovus Energy,[21] which had been spun-off from Encana in 2009.[22] Cenovus was announced as anchor tenant in the proposed Brookfield Place in August 2013,[23] and completed the move to Brookfield Place in 2019.[24] Also in 2019, Encana announced it would be renamed to Ovintiv and would move its corporate headquarters to Denver, Colorado.[25]

Public art[edit]

Wonderland Sculpture located at the entrance of the building

Encana officially confirmed on June 16, 2008, that Jaume Plensa, an artist most famous for the Crown Fountain in Chicago, had been chosen to complete two major public art installations for the project.[26] The first work, entitled Wonderland, was unveiled in January 2013, on the south plaza.[27][28] The second work, entitled Alberta's Dream is located on the north side and depicts a bronze casting of the artist embracing a living tree.[29]

There is not a public observation deck.[citation needed] Floors 54 and 55 are home to the private meeting, lounges, conference center and sky high clubs.[citation needed]

Building details[edit]

  • Height: 237 metres (778 ft)[30]
  • 58 stories
    • 2 retail floors - 200,000 square feet (19,000 m2)
    • 3 floors - sky gardens, spaced approximately every 18 floors (sky lobbies), served by express elevators
    • 53 office floors - 1,700,000 square feet (160,000 m2)
    • 4 mechanical floors
    • In total over 84,000 square metres (900,000 sq ft) of glass
  • Footprint: 190,000 square feet (18,000 m2)
  • Parking: 1,400 parking stalls (6 level parkade, spanning two blocks on both sides of 6th Avenue)
  • +15 skywalk connections to neighbouring buildings (First Tower, Suncor Energy Centre)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "The Bow". Skyscraper Center. Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat. Retrieved September 10, 2017.
  2. ^ "BREAKING: Calgary's Bow tower sold for $1.2 billion". Western Investor. Archived (PDF) from the original on May 16, 2011. Retrieved September 8, 2021.
  3. ^ "The Bow rises as Calgary's tallest building". CBC News. July 8, 2013. Retrieved September 12, 2015.
  4. ^ "Calgary's future skyline unveiled". Calgary Herald. October 13, 2006. Archived from the original on September 23, 2015. Retrieved September 12, 2015.
  5. ^ Osborne, Catherine (December 20, 2012). "2012 in Review: Top 10 Projects". Azure. Retrieved September 12, 2015.
  6. ^ Al-Kodmany, Kheir (June 25, 2018). The Vertical City: A Sustainable Development Model. WIT Press. p. 367. ISBN 9781784662578.
  7. ^ Beatty, Bob (November 23, 2005). "Project could loom over Calgary skyline". Businessedge. Retrieved September 12, 2015.
  8. ^ a b "Encana Unveils the Bow - Calgary's Newest Tower" (Press release). dexigner. October 12, 2006.
  9. ^ "Projects: The Bow, Calgary 2005-2013". Foster + Partners. Retrieved September 12, 2015.
  10. ^ "H&R REIT buying property for EnCana's new Calgary HQ". CBC News. February 9, 2007.
  11. ^ Turner, Chris (May 25, 2007). "It takes a tower". ROB Magazine. The Globe and Mail. Archived from the original on October 25, 2020. Retrieved October 26, 2020.
  12. ^ "EnCana Tower Construction Underway". Calgary Herald. June 13, 2007. Archived from the original on November 10, 2012. Retrieved September 12, 2015.
  13. ^ "Dreaded downtown closure begins". Calgary Herald. August 21, 2007. Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved September 12, 2015.
  14. ^ "Concrete pour smashes record". Calgary Herald. May 11, 2008. Archived from the original on August 30, 2009. Retrieved May 13, 2008.
  15. ^ "A sticky ending for the tar sands". The Economist. January 15, 2009. Retrieved September 11, 2015.
  16. ^ Baker, Linda (January 2009). "A Boom in Office Towers in Calgary". The New York Times. Retrieved September 11, 2015.
  17. ^ Vanderklippe, Nathan (April 1, 2009). "Plans for Calgary's Bow tower to go ahead". The Globe and Mail. Toronto. Retrieved September 12, 2015.
  18. ^ "The Bow rises as Calgary's tallest building". CBC News. Calgary. August 8, 2010. Retrieved September 12, 2015.
  19. ^ "The Top of Calgary". Calgary Herald. November 27, 2010. p. C5.
  20. ^ "The Bow tower officially opens in Calgary". CBC News. June 4, 2013. Retrieved October 26, 2020.
  21. ^ "EnCana wraps up spinoff of its oil business". Reuters. November 30, 2009. Retrieved October 26, 2020.
  22. ^ Stuart, Cody (August 6, 2013). "Brookfield Place Announces Anchor Tenant". Calgary Real Estate News. CREB. Retrieved October 26, 2020.
  23. ^ Cenovus Energy Inc. (February 11, 2020). "2019 Annual Information Form". SEC. Retrieved October 25, 2020.
  24. ^ Dawson, Tyler (October 31, 2019). "As Encana becomes Ovintiv, the rebrand begs a question: What the hell is an Ovintiv?". National Post. Retrieved October 26, 2020.
  25. ^ "Calgary's Wonderland sculpture joins global collection of Jaume Plensa heads". Calgary Sun. January 29, 2013. Retrieved September 12, 2015.
  26. ^ "Unique sculpture turning heads downtown". CTV Calgary. February 1, 2013.
  27. ^ "Bow Building head statue installation complete". CBC News. January 27, 2013. Retrieved September 12, 2015.
  28. ^ Jarvie, Michele (May 2, 2013). "Alberta's Dream bronze sculpture of a man hugging a live tree by Barcelona artist Juame Plensa outside The Bow tower". Calgary Herald. Retrieved September 12, 2015.
  29. ^ "The Bow, Calgary". Emporis. Archived from the original on September 29, 2007. Retrieved September 12, 2015.
  30. ^ "Specifications". The Bow Building. Retrieved September 12, 2015.

External links[edit]

Preceded by Tallest building in Calgary
236 m
Succeeded by