Studio Bell, Home of Canada’s National Music Centre

Construction on the iconic 60,000 square foot Studio Bell edifice in Calgary’s trendy East Village was completed in 2016 and opened on Canada Day, July 1st of that year.  At a cost of $191M it replaced the old Cantos Music Museum that originally housed only keyboard instruments.  Studio Bell now features over 2,000 interactive and display musical instruments, artefacts, sound equipment and famous Canadian musician regalia. 

A view of Studio Bell from the colourful 4th St SE underpass

Home to Canada’s National Music Centre, Studio Bell features Canadian Music Hall of Fame and Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame collections. 

Band name after famous band name line the walls of the upper floors of the NMC

Guided tours are worthwhile for first-time visitor.  The guides do an excellent job of providing background information and a brief history of the museum while highlighting unique items on display that you might otherwise overlook.   Don’t expect to visit this destination and tick it off your to-do list within a few hours.  You will need more time than that!

Some of the key features of the venue include (Courtesy of Studio Bell):

  • 300-seat performance hall
  • Multiple reception areas
  • Broadcast facilities and CKUA Radio
  • Media centre and classrooms
  • Rosso Coffee Roasters and NMC Shop
  • National Music Centre collection and exhibitions including numerous exhibition stages about music in Canada and the power of music
  • The Canadian Music Hall of Fame, the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame Collection, and the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame
  • Artefact conservation and restoration workshops
  • The King Eddy, a historic live music venue
  • Acoustic and electronic Soundlabs

The iconic building, loosely replicating the shape of a guitar, traverses 4th Street SE where it incorporates the historic King Edward Hotel (The King Eddy).  The interior façade of the structure appears to be armour-plated, with its sweeping multi-storey walls lined with more than 220,000 floating glazed terracotta tiles imported from Europe and carefully mounted to facilitate the acoustics of the cavernous interior of the building.  This, alone, is a sight to behold and appreciate.

Entering through the front doors of the NMC you can already experience the unique tiled walls of the centre
Ceramic wall tiles, wooden flooring and metal balustrades create eye-catching and mind-bending shapes throughout the Centre’s cleverly laid out interior
A vertigo-inducing view of the lobby entrance as seen from the upper floors along the curvaceous walls, atriums and staircases of the arty edifice

Login to the Studio Bell website frequently for updates on their ever-changing displays, features, live concerts and special events.

Two of I AM CALGARY‘s popular self-guided detours for visitors who have limited time to explore Calgary start at or include this exceptional global attraction. Read more about how you can include Studio Bell into your visit to Calgary if you only have two hours or else half a day to spend in the city. You may also pass by here on one of our favourite cycle routes departing from the East Village.

Getting there

Studio Bell is easily accessed by public transit (bus and C-train), private vehicle, taxi, bicycle or on foot.

Locate Studio Bell on Google Maps here.

  • For public transit access, you can plan your visit using the City of Calgary transit website;
  • If you are arriving in your own vehicle, city parking lots are available near the Centre on 9th Avenue SE (CPA Lot 62) or at 8th Avenue SE (CPA Lot 55). Street parking on 8th Avenue NE and throughout the East Village is also available. All parking requires payment. Consult local signage or calgaryparking.com for more details;
  • If you are arriving by bicycle, the Centre can be accessed from downtown along the city bicycle pathway system. Consult the City of Calgary’s bicycle pathway maps here. Bike racks are available on the sidewalk beside Studio Bell.

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