Edmonton

Crashed Ice event brings in millions to downtown Edmonton

For two days during the Red Bull Crashed Ice Finals, downtown Edmonton became the kind of city many would like it to be - vibrant, full of people and a bustling hub of activity.

City feels economic warmth from event that attracted 70,000 fans

More than 70,000 fans came out to watch the Red Bull Crashed Ice Finals in Edmonton on the weekend. (CBC)

For two days during the Red Bull Crashed Ice Finals, downtown Edmonton became the kind of city many would like it to be - vibrant, full of people, a bustling hub of activity.

“It had a phenomenal impact on my business, it was super positive, everyone was in a great mood,” said Tricia Bell, owner of Cavern, a wine and cheese bar in downtown Edmonton.

“They just kept coming and coming, it was wonderful.”

The international downhill skating event attracted about 70,000 people, packing patios and streets nea the Shaw Conference Centre. In all, the event created $6 million to $10 million in economic spin-offs for hotels, restaurants and shopping, according to Edmonton Tourism.

Not a bad return on investment for the City of Edmonton, which put up $400,000 of the $1-million total contributed by organizations and the Alberta government.

“I think 70,000 people coming downtown and having a chance to rediscover their city is phenomenal,” said Mayor Don Iveson.

Many hotels in the city were sold out on the weekend, with those closest to the action providing exclusive vantage points from which to watch the competition.

“People were dancing, people were cheering, people were really enjoying the event ... it boosted a lot of revenue for all of us, plus it gave a lot of business opportunities, so it’s a win-win situation for everyone,” said Rene Trinidad, assistant general manager of Courtyard by Marriott in downtown Edmonton.

“We were part of history, Edmonton is now on the map in terms of this sporting activity.”

Live broadcasts of the races, including one in Churchill Square, also drew large crowds on Saturday night. The event was also streamed online.

“I’m really glad we had the chance to host it, I hope we have the chance to do it again,” said Iveson.

The Red Bull Crashed Ice event has been held since 2001 and is hosted by different cities around the world.

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