The Canadian province of Alberta is entertaining proposals to bring the Olympic Winter Games back to Calgary in the near future, a government official revealed Tuesday.
During a ceremony marking a CAD $17.5 million (USD $13 million) provincial investment in Canada Olympic Park – a legacy of the Calgary 1988 Winter Games – Alberta’s Minister of Culture Ron Orr revealed that a potential project to host the Games has emerged.
“There is a small group of individuals who have put together some proposals for a future opportunity and we will certainly be looking at those as they come and as it becomes appropriate to talk about details,” Orr said.
“The City of Calgary has almost all of the amenities it would need for a Games at this stage and, of course, this kind of redevelopment would obviously add to that,” Orr added, according to Calgary Herald.
Orr did not elaborate on the nature of the plans being put forward.
Calgary mounted a contentious campaign to host the 2026 edition of the Games that divided City Council and polarized public opinion in 2018. The bid was later quashed by 56.4 percent of voters in a hard fought city-wide plebiscite.
Now, four years later a Vancouver centered project led by four hosting First Nations and targeting 2030 has been put forward by the Canadian Olympic Committee (COC). British Columbia hopes to reprise the 2010 Games by building on its legacy. But Vancouver may have to face a public vote of its own should one Mayoral candidate, who has promised to let taxpayers have their say on the issue, win an October 15 municipal election.
Under International Olympic Committee (IOC) rules a national Olympic Committee must choose a single interested bidder to enter an ongoing dialogue process for any future Games. The COC selected Vancouver last year and has since been involved in discussions that could see the bid chosen for targeted dialogue for the 2030 Games – Olympic-speak for shortlist – by the IOC as early as December or as late as next Spring. The final election will take place next Fall.
Vancouver’s rivals include Sapporo in Japan and Salt Lake City in the United States. Bids not successful for 2030 could end up back in the mix for 2034. Calgary’s opportunity would be for the 2034 Games at the earliest but backers would have to wait for Vancouver to be withdrawn from dialogue before that becomes possible.
Certainly any plans emerging for a Calgary bid are at the very early stages and perhaps only an opportunistic tease to justify the Canada Olympic Park investment. Reportedly Calgary Mayor Jyoti Gondek, who was city councilor when the 2026 bid was in debate, was not aware of any new plans.
Neither was the COC, the only entity in Canada with the authority to officially launch a bid.
“We have heard the reports of comments made yesterday [about a Calgary bid], but we are not aware of any other proposed bid, in Alberta or elsewhere in Canada,” a COC spokesperson told GamesBids.com.
“The COC is currently focused on supporting an Indigenous-led process to assess the feasibility of Canada hosting a 2030 Olympic and Paralympic Games in British Columbia, working under the leadership of the Lil’wat, Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh Nations.”
The next Winter Olympics will be held in Northern Italy by Milan-Cortina 2026.
A senior producer and award-winning journalist covering Olympic bid business as founder of GamesBids.com as well as providing freelance support for print and Web publications around the world. Robert Livingstone is a member of the Olympic Journalists Association and the International Society of Olympic Historians.