The question of Calgary’s potential bid for the 2026 Winter Olympics will be answered in the coming hours. A vote to reaffirm council’s support prior to proceeding with further work on a potential Olympic bid will be voted on during a Calgary city council meeting that begins on Monday.
But it is definitely not clear where city council is leaning.
On Friday, former Olympic athletes urged Calgary to keep the bid alive. And Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi has gone on the record suggesting it would be a mistake to vote against continuing exploration of a bid.
In Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson’s office: crickets.
“We haven’t heard anything new,” Iveson said. “I know that this file is very alive at the province and we’re interested to hear from both the province and from Calgary but really, the ball’s in their court.”
Iveson hasn’t been made privy to the specifics of a bid, but he agrees with the presumption that three NHL-sized arenas would be needed, which would potentially include Rogers Place, in addition to two in Calgary: the Saddledome and a proposed new one.
“What we had heard at one point was, maybe Edmonton could do the curling,” Iveson said.
Being a satellite venue for one sport doesn’t come across as impressive, and the Edmonton mayor said details are still lacking.
“We thought that if we’re going to get involved in the Olympic movement in a big way in 2026, I’d think we’d want to have a conversation about a variety of sports that would take advantage — that we have investments, potentially, in some of the other facilities around the city and region that could play host, that actually accumulate to a legacy as opposed to a bit of a one off.”
“It remains to be seen whether that’s what a formal proposal would constitute,” Iveson said. “We have nothing formal to respond to.”
Speculation heading into the Calgary council meeting is, there could be a changing of minds. At committee, two of the previous “yes” votes indicated they are going to change their vote. Those watching say that makes it eight, and a majority against going forward. If that’s true, then the Olympic process doesn’t look promising.
The word from Calgary is there’s been no update or questions asked about where they are with having other cities involved in the bid process. Whistler is said to be another potential venue.
The Alberta and Canadian governments have committed to financially supporting a bid corporation and the province wants Calgary to hold a plebiscite to gauge interest. A bid is estimated to cost about $30 million.
With files from Aurelio Perri/770 CHQR Global News Radio and The Canadian Press.