It’s time to play the music at Studio Bell and, believe us, it’ll be music to your ears.
The stories and memorabilia of Canadian music history can finally be enjoyed in a physical location. The beautiful Studio Bell building, opening on July 1, 2016, is home to the National Music Centre, the first concept of its kind in Canada, with attractions and activities for visitors and amenities and resources for musicians. It’s a one-of-a-kind facility that tells stories related to Canadian music, musicians, and industry pioneers past, present, and future — you’ll find everything from centuries-old instruments to the story of Drake’s rise to fame.
“Canada has amazing music stories,” Mary Kapusta, NMC’s senior manager of marketing and communications, says. “Many of the most iconic Canadians in the world are musicians. That’s something to be celebrated.”
“The entire building is themed as a music festival,” Jesse Moffat, NMC’s director of collections, says. “Each one of our 22 galleries — we call them “stages” — are thematic. It’s an open concept and you’ll be drawn to certain sights and sounds. We want to encourage people to go through it at their own pace and go to the stages that interest them but also discover something you might not have planned on seeing — just like at a music festival.”
NMC by the Numbers
3 Halls of Fame: Canadian Music Hall of Fame, Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame, and the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame
3 historic recording studios from London used by 70s and 80s rock and pop artists: Rolling Stones Mobile Recording Studio, Trident Console, and Olympic Studios Console
9 interlocking towers make up Studio Bell, designed by Brad Cloepfil from Allied Works Architecture in Portland, inspired by musical instrument design and Western Canadian landscapes of hoodoos and mountains
22 “stages” (or exhibition areas) to explore
300 seats in the mahogany wood-decorated performance theatre
450 years of music and music technology are represented
450+ artifacts currently on display
2,000+ artifacts in the entire collection, to be rotated through the displays
220,000 individual terra cotta tiles — manufactured in Germany and glazed in Holland by a family-owned company with a custom colour — were each hand-hung on the interior and exterior walls of the building.
- The iconic Ray-Ban sunglasses worn by Corey Hart in his music video for “Sunglasses at Night.”
- The hockey-themed drum kit used by Rush’s Neil Peart to perform “The Hockey Theme.”
- The Cheese Head worn by Deadmau5/Joel Zimmerman on the cover of Rolling Stone in 2012.
- Avril Lavigne’s outfit and guitar from the music video for “Girlfriend.”
- One of Michael Buble’s signature suits
- Take a selfie with life-size versions of Kiesza, Fred Penner, Joel Plaskett, and 11 other notable artists
- Music carries throughout the building thanks to its design and can be heard in most rooms, but it does not overpower.
- Listen to distinct music from regions across Canada in an immersive audio-visual experience called Sound Effects.
- Do you sound like a rock star? Find out in the sound booth where you can record your voice singing along to some memorable Canadian tracks.
- From 1905 to 2004 the bar at King Edward Hotel was a local watering hole known for hosting live blues music concerts and its informal jam sessions. Now the National Music Centre is re-opening the beloved “King Eddy” and restoring its live music venue status. The first concert series takes place during the Calgary Stampede July 7 – 18 and departs from the blues tradition for ten nights of country music including headliners Carolyn Mark (July 11), Leeroy Stagger (July 15), and Tim Hus (July 16). During the day DJs will spin country music on vinyl, and some special guests will show up for daily impromptu jam sessions.
Hours: Open 10 am – 5 pm daily in July 2016; open 10 am – 5 pm Wednesday through Sunday year-round.
Admission: $18 per adult; $14 per student or senior; $11 per child (ages 3-12); children 2 and under are free; individual and family annual memberships are also available.
Location: 850 – 4 St SE, 403-543-5115
Transit: City Hall C-Train stations; Buses 1, 305, 411, 412
Parking: Paid and free street parking in East Village