Yes Calgary Olympic group takes campaign to schools while city preps for public engagement

Yes Calgary 2026 is blitzing universities in the lead up to this fall's referendum as city announces long-delayed public engagement will get underway next week.

City council will vote next week on whether to continue the bid work

Joshua Riker-Fox was part of the Yes Calgary 2026 booth at SAIT on Wednesday. He competed in the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics and said he benefited from seeing the '88 Games in Calgary as a kid. (CBC)

The backers of Calgary's Olympic bid are taking their pitch directly to post-secondary students this week.

Yes Calgary 2026 is blitzing universities in the lead up to this fall's referendum. On Wednesday, the group set up a booth at SAIT to hand out buttons and information.

They plan to move on to the University of Calgary on Thursday, then Mount Royal University next week.

Jason Ribeiro, the co-founder of Yes Calgary 2026, said it's important students feel involved in a meaningful way.

"That is a personal responsibility that I feel," he said. "A number of students within the SAIT community, the U of C community and the MRU community have come up and stepped up and said, 'this matters to us too' and asked 'how can we help, and how can we volunteer.'"

Joshua Riker-Fox teaches at SAIT, but also competed in the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics, where he placed 24th in modern pentathlon. He was at the booth today to tell students how he benefited from seeing the 1988 Olympics in Calgary.

"I was very fortunate as a young child to feel the energy and enthusiasm and then have access to the facilities from that point on that allowed me to compete at a high level. So I'm a big believer in the games and what it can bring to a city," he said. 

City engagement starts next week

The vote on whether or not the city will actually continue with the Olympic bid work will happen at city council next week. Today, however, the city announced the public engagement process on a potential Olympic bid will finally get underway next week after being delayed several times.

A Vancouver-based company will run the 10-week process, which will provide information to Calgarians and take their feedback. 

Coun. Evan Woolley, who chairs council's Olympics assessment committee, said details will be unveiled next week.

"Our city secretariat, with our engagement sub-committee, will be rolling out that city portion of the engagement, which is just very vanilla fact-based information.

"And then the [bid corporation] will have their own communications planning and engagement that will be happening," he said.

The engagement contract is worth half a million dollars.

If city council votes to proceed, a plebiscite will be held on Nov. 13 to see where Calgarians stand on the issue. 

The formal draft must be submitted to the International Olympic Committee in January.