Calgary's Olympic Bid

We heard yesterday that City Council doesn’t have all the information they need to make a decision on whether Calgary should pursue an Olympic bid.  There are some critical questions that need to be answered, and it looks like it will ultimately fall to the next Council to make the final decision.

While I’ve been knocking on doors, many people have asked for my opinion on an Olympic bid.  I’ll withhold a final position on the issue until the city has more information in-hand, but currently, I am not in favour of an Olympic bid.  Here’s why:

  • It’s a nice-to-have, not a need-to-have.  We’ve got some tough decisions to make about priorities, and I simply don’t think the Olympics are one of them. However,  the proposed $4.6 billion price tag would force it to be.  In my opinion, finding a new normal for our economy, bringing back decent, permanent jobs and investing in the infrastructure Calgarians rely on every day is more important.

  • We don’t really know what it’s going to cost.  We don’t have the complete picture concerning the International Olympic Committee, provincial or federal contributions, nor can we completely predict what the costs, particularly related to security, could be.

  • This isn’t 1988.  I grew up in Calgary in the 80’s, and remember the ‘88 Olympics fondly.  I know many Calgarians who were proud to volunteer, but I believe reminiscing for an event we hosted a full 40 years prior to 2026 clouds our judgement.  The Olympics are different now, and so is our city.

  • I have met more people at the doors against a bid, than for one.  I’ve heard concerns about increases to property taxes, ballooning costs, excessive spending and neighbours who are in crisis.  Just because we could host the Olympics, doesn’t mean we should.

  • Lost opportunity cost.  What are we missing when our attentions are turned on planning and delivering a 3-week event?

What do you think of the prospect of an Olympic bid? Will it benefit our city today and in the future? I’d love to hear from you! Drop us a note at, and let’s see what’s possible.