Calgary Is Facing Pivotal Decisions That Will Shape Our City for Generations to Come

Calgary is facing pivotal decisions that will shape our city for generations to come

As City Council engages in discussions about several pivotal topics that could shape the future of Calgary, four of Calgary’s leading community-building agencies are in strong support of the development of Calgary’s core through critical community infrastructure including an arena/event centre, enhanced trade and convention space, sustainable funding for arts and culture, and further exploration of a bid for the 2026 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games. 

Recently, each of the four organizations has undertaken significant stakeholder engagement on a variety of topics. One of the common themes through Calgary Economic Development’s Economic Strategy Building on our Energy, Tourism Calgary’s Destination Strategy Ultimate Hosts. Ultimate Host City, CADA’s Art Strategy Living a Creative Life and Sport Calgary’s grassroots sport development efforts, is the critical need to develop Calgary’s core, of which a new arena and event centre is a central component. 

Community leaders have told each organization that they envision Calgary as a city of boundless energy.  A magnet for businesses, culture, sport, investment talent and visitors. A place that offers inspirational spaces in creating a vibrant and prosperous community. A place where arts and culture, and sports and recreation are accessible for all those who choose to participate.

Recently Calgary Economic Development, Calgary Municipal Lands Corporation and The City of Calgary engaged 200 community leaders, inclusive of the agencies represented in this statement, through the Downtown Economic Summit to discuss priorities to help create jobs and fill office space in the centre city. Participants identified and prioritized many of the infrastructure projects they viewed as opportunities to return to a city of boundless energy - a city that is known around the world as great place to making a living and a great place to make a life.

Calgary Arts Development, Calgary Economic Development, Sport Calgary and Tourism Calgary all support the "Plan B" arena proposal and the complementary development of the City Centre and Downtown, based on the following themes derived with the community’s ongoing input:

Building community

Above all, Calgary needs to be a great city for Calgarians. In order to be a great city where people want to live, recreate, invest in business and innovate - and be a city people want to visit - a strong, vibrant, progressive and compelling community with a vision for the future is vital. While infrastructure in itself doesn’t build community, activation of infrastructure certainly does. The comprehensive report expected in July from the Calgary Bid Exploration Committee may outline further opportunities for activation of our city through Olympic and Paralympic Games, should the recommendation be to move forward. 

Regardless of an Olympic bid, Calgarians are well known for our support of the Calgary Flames and of the arts, particularly through CADA’s 10 cornerstone arts companies. Failing to foster growth and opportunity through connected, vibrant venues that serve as gathering spaces for activation through sport, music, culture, performance and business will weaken our identity and the opportunity to bring Calgarians together.

Enhancing Calgary’s brand

Calgary’s brand is founded in the energy of our city, and our citizens. We’ve been sharing that energy through our businesses, leadership in innovation, events, culture and music and how we support our love of sport. We are the ultimate hosts and we aspire to be the ultimate host city for business, visitors, performers, athletes, and Calgarians. Being the ultimate hosts requires adequate and adaptable hosting infrastructure, including venues that meet the modern and future needs of entertainment, sport and community.

Investing in the core

A great city needs a safe, vibrant, connected and active core, where people gather naturally because of a constant hum of activity. Additional development of Calgary’s core is well underway in the East Village.  There is great promise with the anticipated investment in Phase I of the Greenline. These investments now need to be augmented starting with the arena and event centre. By continuing to invest in the proposed infrastructure in the City Centre and Downtown, Calgary will enhance the cultural, residential, tourism, business and recreation opportunities that will welcome visitors, major scale events, and attract and retain talent and businesses during this challenging time and for many years to come.

For more information, please contact:

Calgary Arts Development, Helen Moore-Parkhouse | Director, Communications & Engagement 403-264-5330 x 102

Calgary Economic Development, Stephen Ewart | Manager, Communications & Content 403-221-7893

Sport Calgary, David Benson | Director, Marketing & Communications 403-984-0971

Tourism Calgary, Cassandra McAuley | Director, Stakeholder Engagement & Destination Development 403-835-0711