Nearly four years after a majority of Calgary voters said no to going ahead with the 2026 Winter Olympics, the provincial government says it is aware of another effort to bring the games to Alberta and that he did not exclude this possibility.
“The question has certainly been raised. Is that a possibility? We’re certainly open to that,” Alberta Culture Minister Ron Orr said.
Orr made the comments Tuesday morning to WinSport while announcing the province will provide $17.5 million for upgrades to the facility’s Frank King Day Lodge.
The lodge has not undergone major renovations since its construction in 1987 and was used as a media center during the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary.
“There is a small group of individuals who have developed proposals for a future opportunity and we will certainly review them as and when it becomes appropriate to talk specifics,” Orr said. “Yes it’s possible.”
The minister would not say which group was leading the talks on a possible bid or for what year they planned to bid.
Alberta Culture Minister Ron Orr confirmed to WinSport on Oct. 4 that a group is exploring a potential bid to bring the Olympics back to Alberta.
In November 2018, 56.4% of Calgarians voted to stop exploring a bid for the 2026 Olympics.
WinSport President and CEO Barry Heck has confirmed that his group is not currently involved in any discussions over a possible future offer.
“Does this open the door to a potential future offer? Yeah, maybe,” Heck said. “Every time we upgrade and build a new facility that can be used for a world-class event, like an Olympic bid or a World Cup or an X-Games, it improves our city’s ability to attract those events.”
Orr said the province had been involved in the initial process of exploring a bid, but would not elaborate further.
“The city of Calgary has almost every amenity it would need for games at this point,” Orr said. “And, of course, that kind of redevelopment would obviously add to that.”
THE CITY IS NOT AWARE OF ANY OFFER
Meanwhile, the city of Calgary says it also knows nothing about a possible Olympic bid.
“At this time, I am not aware of any official request regarding this,” the Ward 7 Coun said. Terry Wong, but added that they are still working to promote Calgary.
“We have to recognize that Calgary is a destination and anything we can bring to Calgary, both in terms of tourists and investment, new infrastructure, we should never refuse.”
The Calgary Chamber of Commerce hasn’t heard either, but says it will always support an Olympic bid.
“This is something important for the city. We need a renewal of our sports infrastructure,” said president and CEO Deborah Yedlin.
Yedlin says the 1988 Winter Olympics “introduced thousands of people to winter sports.”
“When you travel and talk to people and say you’re from Calgary, still to this day the comment is, ‘You’re so lucky. You have such a good infrastructure. We would have liked to have the same. “”
According to the Canadian Olympic Committee (COC), the only Canadian bid currently under discussion is a future bid in British Columbia.
In an email to CTV News, the COC says it supports an “Indigenous-led process” for a 2030 event somewhere in that province.
“We invite you to learn more about this important work that puts reconciliation at the heart of the project and serves as a model of respect, inclusivity and community by visiting www.gamesengagement.ca.
“We are not aware of any other offers being made, in Alberta or elsewhere in Canada.”