29,000 turn out for 1st day of advance vote for Calgary 2026 Olympic bid plebiscite

WinSport held a rally Tuesday morning to encourage Calgarians to vote in the Olympic bid plebiscite.

WinSport and Sport Institute staff voted en masse to encourage Calgarians to have their say

Voters lined up in the cold on Monday at the Scandinavian Centre in northwest Calgary for a chance to cast an early ballot in the Olympic bid plebiscite. (Colleen Underwood/CBC)

Elections Calgary said 28,923 people voted on the first day of advance polls for the Olympic bid plebiscite.

Of those, 21,185 voted in person at polling stations and 7,738 voted through mail-in ballots.

WinSport held a rally Tuesday morning to encourage Calgarians to turn out.

Staff from WinSport, which owns and operates Canada Olympic Park, and the Canadian Sport Institute Calgary teamed up to spur city residents to participate by voting en masse Tuesday at the Bowness advance polling station.

Anna Stathakis, who works as a team leader at WinSport, says she's on the "yes" side.

"It's a big opportunity," she said, noting the benefits for the city are immediate and lasting.

"We want to inspire human potential. What better way to do that than to have an opportunity for kids to actually see firsthand these amazing events with the Olympics. It's a great opportunity for the city to get some facilities uplifted."

Stathakis says the 2026 Olympics would be something to look forward to and something to celebrate.

Advance polling stations opened at 11 a.m. at locations across Calgary.

The lineup to vote at the polling station at the Scandinavian Centre in northwest Calgary stretched out the door.

Kathryn Kaldestad said she couldn't wait to have her say.

"I'm excited to say yes," she said.

"It's good for the city, it's good for the people, it's great for our economy. We need something to look forward to. It's a great idea. And I'm fully supportive."

But Marg Rabe, who was voting no, says doesn't believe bid officials have a good enough plan for cost overruns.

"I just can't see it. It's just gotten too massive. They need to cut out three-quarters of the events, and even then, don't even have it. We don't need it. World Cups are just as important," she said

The city says it's deploying additional resources to voting stations to try to get people through the process as quickly as possible.

Advance polls are open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Nov. 6 and Nov. 7. Polls are open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Nov. 13. Residents can vote in any ward during advance polls, but on Nov. 13 you're required to vote within your designated ward.

Jackson Sinclair, a sport co-ordinator at WinSport, says it's about taking the legacy of the 1988 Games and building upon it.

"The Olympics, for me, it brings the community together, and it's an opportunity for not only us but the future generations to get involved in sport," he said.  

"So I'm going to vote yes because I've been to the Olympics, in Korea, as a fan, and I've never had an experience like that before. So, to bring that to my own home is going to be an amazing opportunity."

LIVE EVENT: CBC Calgary Olympic Games Plebiscite Town Hall

If you live in Calgary, find out what you need to know before you cast your vote in the Nov. 13 plebiscite by tuning in to the CBC Calgary Olympic Games Plebiscite Town Hall.

Featuring a knowledgeable panel and hosted by the Calgary Eyeopener's David Gray, we will hear from both sides and take questions from the audience. Panellists include:

  • Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi.
  • Calgary 2026 CEO Mary Moran.
  • Coun. Evan Woolley, chair of city council's Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games assessment committee.
  • Economist with the University of Calgary's School of Public Policy, Trevor Tombe.
  • No Calgary Olympics organizer Jeanne Milne.
  • David Finch, associate professor at Mount Royal University's Bissett School of Business.

It'll take place at Calgary's new Central Library (800 3rd St. S.E.) on Wednesday, Nov. 7, starting at 6 p.m. All of the reserved tickets have been claimed, although there will be rush seating available at 6:15 p.m. as capacity allows.

Didn't get a ticket? Never fear, you can tune in by:

  • Joining our Facebook Live at, where you can ask questions and post comments.
  • Watching the Facebook Live in a story on our CBC Calgary website.
  • Listening in on CBC Radio One (99.1 FM or 1010 AM in Calgary), at or your CBC Radio App from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. MT.