The 1988 Winter Olympics were a massive part of Calgary’s history. The bid came together during the economic doldrums of the National Energy Program and helped turn the city’s ineffable rage into a sense of “Hey, look at what this city is capable of doing!”
(The Flames really loved the ’88 Olympics because they got a free building out of it.)
Well, strap in, folks: the first step towards a second Olympics in Calgary happened Monday night at City Council, as they voted to authorize the Calgary Sports Tourism Authority to form a bid exploration committee for the 2026 Winter Olympics.
So far, the CSTA has done a preliminary review of the potential costs (including infrastructure) of hosting the 2026 games and commissioned a third-party economic impact study, and all their preliminary work concluded that the bid is feasible.
What does Council’s vote actually do? From their media release:
Calgary City Council authorized up to $5 million from the City’s fiscal
sustainability reserve to conduct a feasibility study on hosting the
games. The study, called a Bid Exploration, will result in a Master
Hosting Plan, which will focus on maximizing the use of existing
facilities. The plan will also provide a detailed analysis of the
capital and operating costs for hosting the games and the level of
investment required from the three orders of government.
The formation of the bid exploration committee allows the committee to talk with the Canadian Olympic Committee and International Olympic Committee and basically act as if Calgary is submitting a bid. They’ll have to present the first draft of the Master Hosting Plan to City Council at the end of the year and eventually develop it towards (hopefully) being the national to submit a notice of intent to the IOC in September 2017.
Will an Olympic bid necessarily result in a new building for the Flames? Not necessarily, but it’s honestly hard to imagine the Master Hosting Plan for an Olympics in 2026 recommending relying on a 43-year-old Scotiabank Saddledome for anything extensive.