With less than two weeks to go before Calgarians cast their ballot for or against a 2026 Winter Olympics bid, both sides of the debate are kicking things into high gear.
“The campaign begins, the fight for the future of this city begins,” Jason Ribeiro with Yes Calgary 2026, said. “And that is going to require a relentless amount of energy.”
The race follows a tumultuous debate in city council on Wednesday that saw council nearly quash the bid. But after a narrow vote in favour of continuing the bid, the plebiscite is on. Neither side is wasting any time getting their message out to the public.
Calgary 2026 Bid Corporation CEO Mary Moran spent Thursday morning taking questions after Wednesday’s fiery question and answer session with city council.
Moran answered questions from students and the public at a symposium at Mount Royal University, touting the benefits of the city hosting the Olympics.
“If people want to do it based on economics, they have to know that this is a good deal for Calgary,” Moran said.
Yes Calgary 2026 is also ramping things up, getting set for nearly two weeks of campaigning in support of the bid.
The organization is selling buttons, pins and shirts for a small donation, as well as handing out signs. It’s also planning a lineup of events in the coming days including campaigning at Calgary Flames home games.
Yes Calgary 2026 is also hosting an event giving the public the opportunity to skate with Olympians. On Nov. 5, the organization is holding an even with Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir as well as legends from Calgary’s 1988 Olympic games like Eddie the Eagle.
“I think we’re going to be active as much as we can,” Ribeiro said. “This is a really proud moment that I think we can demonstrate to the community what a positive vision is for Calgary.”
Meanwhile, No Calgary Olympics is also trying to make a final pitch ahead of the vote.
With no real budget, the organization is relying on downloadable No Calgary 2026 signs on the group’s website. It’s also spreading the word at public events across the city.
“There’s more information to consider than what’s just in a bid book,” No Calgary Olympics communications adviser Erin Waite said. “There’s lots of Calgarians who have reasons to say no, and we just want them to know that those are valid reasons and they need to think through this before saying yes.”
The Yes side says it’s concerned following the close vote at city council, calling it a wake-up call that the bid isn’t a sure thing, while the No side is cautioning the public that there’s more to the bid than meets the eye.
Calgarians head to the polls on Nov. 13, with advanced polls open on Nov. 6.