The official launch of Calgary’s outdoor festival season begins this weekend.
The one-day Lilac Festival along 4th Street takes place on Sunday. It’s expected to draw nearly 100,000 people throughout the day.
Authorities said with that kind of crowd in such a public place, the new realities around potential risks cannot be ignored.
Tom Sampson, the head of the Calgary Emergency Management Agency (CEMA), said although the threat level for this country hasn’t changed, their obligations have. Their team is looking at putting heavy machinery at strategic points to block traffic.
“We are really trying to not have just a cement barrier. They look so hard, they make it look almost like a militarized zone,” Sampson said.
Other major high-profile events, such as the Calgary Stampede, are working on their own security strategies too.
Jim Laurendeau, the Stampede’s vice president of park planning and development, said upgrades are coming.
“We are on constant contact with agencies across the country, as well as our own surveillance technology. We are constantly upgrading and making improvements and will have another set of improvements yet to come this year so we are able to monitor activity on Stampede Park to a large degree,” Laurendeau said.
Officials with CEMA say people will also notice a marked visible increase in police presence at public events.