No Calgary Olympics cheered as plebiscite ballots were counted in Calgary on Tuesday. With 56.4 per cent of the vote and 171,750 ballots against the Calgary 2026 Olympic bid in unofficial results from the city, residents voted to halt the process.
On the yes side, 132,832 ballots were cast out of 304,774 in total, taking 43.6 per cent of the vote.
Mayor Naheed Nenshi was disappointed by the results.
“Ultimately, the people have spoken,” he said after 10:15 p.m. “The people have spoken in big numbers and the people have spoken clearly. And this is very clear direction for where we go from here.”
Watch below: Global Calgary’s plebiscite results special (10 p.m. MT on Nov. 13)
‘No’ side response
No Calgary Olympics said the group is optimistic about the city’s future.
“We are pleased that Calgarians recognize that hosting the Olympics is one path but not the only path towards building on all of our community’s strengths,” it said.
Coun. Sean Chu said he wants to hold BidCo accountable by asking what the company will do with the money remaining in its budget.
“People have had enough of all the broken promises,” he said.
The Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF) welcomed the unofficial results of the plebiscite.
“This is a huge win for everyday Calgarians and for taxpayers across the country,” said Franco Terrazzano, CTF’s Alberta director. “Our volunteers and supporters worked very hard to put a stop to this waste of money. It’s good to see that all their hard work has paid off.”
WATCH: No Calgary Olympics celebrated Tuesday night after the majority of Calgarians voted against hosting the 2026 Olympics. The group’s spokesperson, Erin Waite, spoke with Global’s Blake Lough about the result.
BidCo CEO Mary Moran said she was disappointed by the plebiscite outcome.
“This was a big dream for Calgary and I still believe to this day that we could’ve done a better job than ’88 and 2010, and once again showed the world what a great community, city and country we are — that’s unfortunate,” she said. “But we’ve got to move forward. We need to do that in a more united fashion and certainly put more effort into thinking about our future.”
Yes Calgary 2026’s Jason Ribeiro said the group captured momentum in the run-up to the vote — they just ran out of runway.
“It is not the results we wanted,” he said. “But, at the same time, I remain more committed and more heartened than ever by the efforts and the positivity in this room.”
The Canadian Olympic Committee issued a news release saying it respects the results but is disappointed with the outcome.
“The opportunity to welcome the world to Canada, where people can experience the uniting power of the Games and within our nation’s culture of peace and inclusion, would have offered countless benefits to all,” the statement read. “This would have been a unique opportunity for Canadians to be leaders in fulfilling the promise of a renewed vision for the Games.”
Kirsty Duncan, the federal minister of sport, thanked all who voted.
“Democracy relies on people like you,” she said. “Calgary is a world-class city, and I look forward to continuing to work with our partners at the city and province.”
The city said official results will be available on Friday by 3 p.m.
The question was: “Are you for or are you against Calgary hosting the 2026 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games?”
LISTEN: Calgary councillors Jeff Davison and Evan Woolley joins Gord Gillies and Sue Deyell on The Morning News the day after the plebiscite
At the turn of November, the Olympics were estimated to cost $5.11 billion — $2.875 billion of that coming from all three levels of government, contingent on a successful bid.
While the result of the plebiscite is considered non-binding, the provincial government has put a strict caveat on its potential financial contribution: there’s no money without a yes vote.
No matter the result of the plebiscite, Calgary City Council will still have to vote on how it will move forward — whether it continues to pursue a bid or chooses to put an end to the years-long process.
Calgary; Stockholm, Sweden; and a joint bid from Milan and Cortina d’Amprezzo, Italy, were named by the International Olympic Committee as candidate cities to bid for the Games. The IOC will select its winning city in June.
WATCH: Global News’ coverage of the Calgary Olympic bid plebiscite vote.
Overall, 304,774 votes were cast in the plebiscite.
As of 9 a.m., the city reported a voter turnout of 13,263.
By 1 p.m., the city said the number of people who had voted jumped to 76,204.
At 5 p.m., voter turnout was at 153,163, the city said.
LISTEN: Calgary Today host Joe McFarland speaks with the 630 CHED Afternoon News
– With files from Heide Pearson