Canmore supports possible Calgary Olympic bid

So far, all Calgary has done is approve a study looking at the feasibility of bidding on the 2026 Winter Olympics, but some in Canmore are already on board for a bid.

Mountain town hosted Nordic events in 1988 and continues to see international competitions

Canmore Mayor John Borrowman said the town would be "very happy" to co-host the 2026 Winter Olympics with Calgary. (Kate Adach/CBC)

So far, all Calgary has done is approve a study looking at the feasibility of bidding on the 2026 Winter Olympics, but some in Canmore are already on board for a bid. 

Canmore Mayor John Borrowman said when he first heard the rumours he contacted the Calgary Sports and Tourism Association — the organization behind the study — as well as Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi's office, to say Canmore "would be very happy to work with them as a co-host." 

Canmore would likely be the site of Nordic events, including cross-country skiing and biathlon.

'It was exciting times'

"For us to host another Olympics would do so much for the sport, for younger skiers, for the development of the sport, for the broadening of the community that the sport represents nation-wide, and of course it shines a spotlight on Canmore and Alberta," said Norbert Meier, president of the Alberta World Cup Society.

His organization runs international cross-country ski races at the Canmore Nordic Centre, a site built for the 1988 Winter Olympics. 

"It was exciting times," he said of those games. "It's an opportunity that comes around, I'd thought once-in-a-lifetime, but now it seems maybe two times."

Long way to go

The possibility of a second run is still a long way off, with Calgary city council approving a 14-month $5 million study into the costs and benefits of a bid on June 20.

If that study recommends moving forward, organizers would then need approval from the Canadian Olympic Committee before placing a formal bid with the International Olympic Committee. 

A host city would be selected in July, 2019.


Borrowman said he's excited about the possibility and believes the costs to enhance infrastructure in the town would be worth it. 

"There's a lot that will be needed, but it's part of what we're planning already. The town is growing, we're experiencing more and more congestion, particularly in the high visitor months, but our population has grown exponentially since '88," he said. 

"None of it would be unattainable. And in a way, it would help us to focus on that specific need 10 years out, which would help to keep the work going."

Borrowman said the town's priority is easing its housing crisis and he'd advocate for some relief as part of Olympic development in the mountain town. 

Meanwhile, Meier said the Nordic Centre doesn't require a lot of work for the Olympics, even though it's already in its late 20s.

"We had four races at the very highest level, we're ready right now," he said. "We are capable of hosting an international-level race, today."

With files from Kate Adach


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