Ground broke Friday morning at the site for a new, year-round attraction at the Stampede grounds.
The SAM Centre is named after Robert Samuel Taylor, the late father of philanthropist Don Taylor, who donated $15 million to the Calgary Stampede Foundation in 2013 to create a western interpretive centre.
Taylor said he's pleased to see the project get off the ground after years of delays.
"I'm so happy to be here today to witness years of planning coming to life," said Taylor.
"SAM Centre will show visitors the character, the grit and perseverance of people that make up southern Alberta."
The new centre will have 30,000 square feet of space on one level featuring a permanent gallery, a changing exhibits gallery, an immersive digital experience, indoor and outdoor public gathering spaces, and artifact and archival collection spaces.
The centre will be built on the Stampede's youth campus in the northeastern area of the grounds, which also features the TransAlta Performing Arts Studios, the Calgary Arts Academy, the BMO amphitheatre and Doherty Hall.
The Alberta government is providing $5 million for the project and the federal government is committing $4.5 million.
Other donations came from the estate of Arthur (Bud) Hall, the Norris Family Foundation, RGO Office Products and the Hunter Family Foundation.
It's expected to open to the public sometime in late 2023.