Calgary voters have sent politicians a clear message: They do not want any part of the city's promised bids on…
Calgary voters have sent politicians a clear message: They do not want any part of the city’s promised bids on the winter holidays in 2026.
The vote is not binding but should be left in Calgary City Council without a doubt. Leading up to this debate, the bidders had hoped for a yes vote somewhere in the mid 50’s, nearly 60 percent supported if things went well.
They did not come close. The results were crucial: 132 832 for Calgary host (43.6 percent) and 171 750 against (56.4 percent). The official result will be made available at 3 MT on Friday, with the result of riding posted Thursday at noon.
After asking voters for guidance, Calgary’s council is likely to stop the city’s bidding process at a meeting on Monday.
When Calgary originally announced plans to run the winter holidays in 2026, everything seemed so perfect. Calgary would regain the Olympic spirit and excitement that enveloped and strengthened the city when it hosted the 1
988 Winter Games.
But for many, this command never felt like 1988. Regardless of the magic feeling 30 years ago, it never took a voter. And now, Calgary’s unwanted Olympic bid has finally lured to an unsafe end.
So what happened?
Those behind Calgary 2026 did a lot of things right. They engaged and mobilized a cross section of supporting votes. They attempted to showcase the games as an opportunity to revive and renovate the physical heritage of 1988. The organizers also pointed to a successful bid as a necessary economic life for a city whose economy has been crushed by falling oil prices.
But when this process evolved, an opposition grew more mobilized and vocal as the decision day approached. With much less money at its disposal than the Professional Bidding Committee, it appears that a web of critics have effectively delivered their message that this was an incorrect event at the wrong time of Calgary.
And from an external perspective, beyond the boosterism of those associated with the Olympic movement, never seemed to be an overwhelming amount of true excitement among the daily calgaries.
Maybe it could have been overcome. Most concerns surrounding this offer focused on who would pay for the games. But voters liked or could not understand the numbers they received. Even on the floor of the Calgary City Council, which led to this poll, there was confusion about exactly how much each state level would yield.
The voters were promised this information before being asked to decide if they wanted an OS.  “What’s the number we can bring to the citizens of Calgary?” Coun. Jeremy Farkas asked.
Due to the results, 11-hour financing agreements of the city of Alberta and Ottawa, weeks before this vote, gave Calgarians some clarity or confidence.
This bid also became unthinkable victim of the unpleasant luggage that weighs down the Olympic movement. The cynical story is known now. Cities spend billions more than originally proposed to host a two-week party that leaves little long-term positive economic impact.
Robert Livingstone runs the GamesBids.com website and has followed this process carefully. He says people are becoming increasingly wary of Olympic accidents in the past.
“There is such a break and people perceive that the Olympic culture is corrupt, often true corruption in some cases. They have seen this great building and the overrun.”
Livingstone points out that the International Olympic Committee has taken action to mitigate this view among Calgary voters.
The IOC has rarely co-operated or visited with potential host cities. But with fewer cities going out to host the Olympic Games, the IOC has taken action to actively sell the games. Its representatives visited Calgary several times in recent months, participated in the city hall and conducted interviews with the media.
Livingstone also says that the IOC part of Agenda 2020 has taken steps to make the games easier to bid and cheaper to host. In previous games, the IOC has usually insisted on new buildings, often with little long-term practical use for host cities. But Calgary’s bid focused on the IOC-supported idea of mostly renovating old facilities instead of building new ones.
The small bid model can work to counteract the Olympic Budget Report, “Livingstone said. However, it may have made a potential bid less attractive to Calgary voters.
“I think Agenda 2020 is a total link in Calgary,” says Livingstone. “Agenda 2020 was not meaningful because they want the places in Calgary. They would not stop talking about the NHL arena and how they would get there and the rail link to the airport. But due to Agenda 2020, it remained [and] not included . “
So what about the Winter Olympics 2026 – the games no one likes?
When this process began, there were eight hopeful cities. Only two remain: Stockholm, and a joint Italian bid. And both of these commandments face significant internal political barriers.
Livingstone thinks there may be another host who lurks in the background.
“I really think the IOC hopes that Stockholm and Italy will only go and then they can work with Salt Lake City.”
The American city, like Calgary, also has an Olympic heritage that has hosted the 2002 games. Livingstone says that the difference in Utah is a real enthusiasm to do it again.
“As they say, they can get it done tomorrow [with] 89 percent public support. They have already signed the Utah governor. They did a preliminary study and literally they could host the games next year.”  Too many in Calgary, it seems like just fine.
Calgary, along with the rest of the country, will undoubtedly enjoy the winter holidays in 2026, where they finally end up.
We continue to celebrate medals and Canadian achievements, content to let someone else fo the bill.