BMO Mainstage Virtual Tour

BMO Mainstage set design by: Kevin McAllister

Initial discussions on the possibility of replacing and increasing the size of the Mainstage tent began in the fall of 2007. The Festival Site and Facilities Committee first met in March 2009 to determine necessary specifications for the tent and site upgrades.

The new tent was custom designed with a look reminiscent of sails, to give it a West Coast feel. Additionally, a comprehensive drainage system has been installed in the park around the new tent structure to aid drainage while the tent is in place, and will also keep the park in good condition in the winter. The water runoff will now drain into a landscaped Rain Garden which will overflow into City storm drains in extreme weather.

In spite of these changes and the much larger tent, the overall footprint of the Festival site in Vanier Park remains principally the same.

Fascinating Facts

  • The old tent had a length span of 90 feet. The new tent spans 135 feet and 8 inches from end to end.
  • The tent is secured by eighty-four 12’ screws buried underground.
  • The crane required to raise the new tent is 4 times the size of the crane used to raise the old tent.
  • The new Mainstage Theatre tent is supported by 6 steel arched trusses. Each truss weighs 15,000 lbs or more than double the weight of the entire old tent.
  • Each truss in the new Mainstage can support 4,000 lbs of lighting, sound and flown set pieces. In contrast, the current Studio Stage Theatre tent can support 1,000 lbs of technical equipment in total.
  • The steel structure is separate from the fabric, which means that the tent can be erected in any weather situation. The old tent erection was often delayed when wind speeds were high.
  • The new theatre seats were shipped from Australia, the house risers came from England, the tent steel was manufactured in Portland, Oregon and the tent fabric was sewn in New Zealand.

View the theatre seating maps.