Province of Alberta, feds commit to funding Calgary’s 2026 Olympic bid process: report
Editor’s note/update: The City of Calgary has since apologized for posting incorrect Olympic bid information on Friday, which was referenced in the below story. A statement released Saturday said: “While the city has received very positive indications from both the governments of Canada and Alberta, no formal or final funding confirmation has been received.” Read the updated story here.
The federal and provincial governments have confirmed financial support in Calgary’s process to determine if a bid should be submitted to host the 2026 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, according to information released by the city on Friday.
A report going to a Calgary city council meeting Wednesday says the two senior levels of government will each contribute $10 million to a Bid Corporation (BidCo). That corporation will include representation from the Canadian Olympic Committee, the governments of Canada and Alberta, as well as the city of Calgary, Town of Canmore and the Canadian Paralympic Committee. The BidCo board of directors will also include representatives from Indigenous communities.
The Bid Corporation will work on establishing a budget to host the 2026 Games and prepare a bid to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) if the city decides to move forward.
Earlier Friday, Mayor Naheed Nenshi had told reporters he was confident provincial funding would come through, despite word the Alberta government said no to financial help with Edmonton’s bid to be one of the host cities for FIFA’s 2026 World Cup.
Edmonton, Montreal and Toronto are the three Canadian cities who would host Games as part of a united bid that includes the United States, Canada and Mexico.
For weeks, Calgarians and members of council have been waiting for a commitment from the Alberta government on its participation for the BidCo.
Nenshi said it’s important to remember the difference between the Calgary and Edmonton projects.
“Our conversations on the Olympics are considerably more advanced than the FIFA conversations were with the province,” he said. “In terms of getting them the information they’re now looking for on FIFA–they already have it on the Olympics.”
Council will also be asked to add another $2.5 million on Wednesday to make the city contribution to the project $9.5 million.
Councillor Jeromy Farkas said he will use that meeting to call for a binding plebiscite, with a simple yes or no vote question, asking Calgarians if they want to host the 2026 Olympics.
“There’s been a lot of debate–if we ask Calgarians what would the question be–but frankly I think that’s insulting to Calgarians’ intelligence. The question is pretty simple: Do you want this or not?” he said.
He admitted council requires a lot more financial information.
“That’s the biggest concern, is that we don’t know how much it will cost,” but Farkas still wants the question put to Calgarians without those numbers.
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