Calgary Zoo panda exhibit gets $10M from Alberta government
Panda family on loan from China coming to Calgary in 2018 from Toronto Zoo
The Alberta government is kicking in $10 million to help bring a family of four pandas to Calgary, in a move designed to boost tourism to the city.
Two adult pandas and their twin cubs — on loan from China and currently residing at the Toronto Zoo — are coming to Calgary in 2018.
The project is expected to cost $16.3 million, with the province, city, the zoo and its supporters all footing the bill.
The new exhibits are projected to boost tourism in Calgary by $16 million to $18 million in 2018, according to the provincial government, increasing the zoo's annual economic impact to more than $95 million.
"We are very excited and honoured that China's most beloved and iconic animals will call the Calgary Zoo their home away from home," Culture and Tourism Minister Ricardo Miranda said in a release.
"This $10-million investment will make panda-mania possible!" he added.
- MORE ANIMAL NEWS | Video: The real Peter Moosebridge lives in Alberta and watches CBC
- MORE ANIMAL NEWS | Meet Jake, Jinx and Jolt after RCMP announce Name the Puppy winners
An estimated 200 new jobs are expected to be added during the construction phase, along with an estimated 40 new zoo-related jobs, he said.
The last time pandas came to the Calgary Zoo was in 1988, and the eight-month exhibit was credited with boosting visitation by 70 per cent over the previous year.
The baby pandas Jia Panpan and Jia Yueyue were born in October 2015 to proud parents Er Shun and Da Mao.
Culture min Ricardo Miranda announces $10m for panda exhibit at Calgary Zoo. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/ableg?src=hash">#ableg</a> <a href="https://t.co/AhEqy9GQyR">pic.twitter.com/AhEqy9GQyR</a>—@CBCScott
At Calgary Zoo for provl funding announcement on giant panda exhibit. Former elephant exhibit will be reno'ed. <a href="https://t.co/QRiCWLaDAY">pic.twitter.com/QRiCWLaDAY</a>—@CBCScott
With files from the CBC's Scott Dippel