Advocacy Positions

Kensington Calgary
Kensington Calgary

Advocacy Positions

As the primary advocate for Calgary’s tourism industry, Tourism Calgary evaluates opportunities that relate to the visitor economy through the lens of what’s needed to make Calgary the ultimate host city. Guided by Calgary’s Destination Strategy, Tourism Calgary may advocate for initiatives, infrastructure, processes, events, festivals and experiences that:

  • Elevate Calgary’s reputation as the ultimate host city;
  • Enhance Calgary’s hosting infrastructure;
  • Lead to the attraction or development of events throughout the year;
  • Attract or enhance premier cultural experiences;
  • Support Calgary’s existing anchor experiences; and/or
  • Enhance the emotional connection to Calgary’s brand.

To achieve success as defined by its stakeholder community and ensure that Calgary continues to evolve as a great place to live – and to visit – Tourism Calgary has taken the following advocacy positions:

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Current Positions

Rivers District Master Plan

Designed to be flexible enough to imagine and integrate modernized amenities like a new event centre, the expanded BMO Centre and the delivery of a Stampede Trail retail destination, the plan and community will accommodate and support a variety of cultural and entertainment amenities. Not only will this revitalization project support a vibrant, walkable, central hub for gatherings, festivals and performances, it will play a vital role in fostering Calgary’s culture scene.

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Cultural development of Chinatown

Chinatown has served as an iconic experience and integral part of Calgary’s downtown core for over 100 years. The district’s existing Area Redevelopment Plan is over 30 years old and no longer aligns with the Municipal Development Plan or other significant city policies and objectives.

Chinatown is not only an iconic neighbourhood, it is a social and historically-significant hub that helps shape Calgary’s cultural fabric and make our city a vibrant, exciting and active place to live, work and visit. To grow Chinatown’s importance and contributions to the community and economy, the district must continue to be energized.

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Chinatown Street Festival

Chinatown Street Festival

Chinatown Street Festival

Chinatown Street Festival

Past Positions and Results

BMO Convention and Trade Centre Expansion

When complete in 2024, the expanded BMO Centre at Stampede Park will become the largest convention facility in Western Canada and the second largest in Canada, offering Calgary the important advantage of being able to accommodate meetings and conventions of all sizes, between this expansion and the existing capacity of the Calgary TELUS Convention Centre. 

Tourism Calgary has been an advocate for the expanded BMO Centre for many years. In Calgary's Destination Strategy: Ultimate Hosts. Ultimate Host City, the need for the expanded hosting facilities was identified as a primary objective for increasing the tourism impact, and of contributing to quality of life for Calgarians through job creation, sustainability and economic diversification. 

Results: Funded through $166.6-million in contributions from the Government of Alberta and the City of Calgary, in addition to $3.9 million from the Calgary Stampede, the BMO Convention and Trade Centre will boast over 1 million square feet of total floor space, including 350,000 square feet of contiguous exhibit space, and more than double its current capacity — but more important, the new facility will espouse, inside and out, today’s best practices in premier conference facility design. The addition of the BMO Centre expansion to the Culture & Entertainment District is critical to developing Calgary as a destination for visitors and meeting planners, and a great place to live for Calgarians. Post-construction, the BMO Centre will add another $22-million to Alberta's economy and support 1,750 full-year jobs - 90 per cent of which will stay in Calgary.

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Event Centre

Tourism Calgary has undertaken extensive stakeholder engagement on Calgary’s development needs as part of Calgary’s stakeholder-led and endorsed Destination Strategy. The overwhelming sentiment of stakeholders is that an event centre is critical for the revitalization of Calgary’s Culture and Entertainment District. The benefits of new sport and entertainment hosting infrastructure – designed to meet current and future needs – is clearly reflected in our local, national and international brand, our economy, the core of our city and our quality of life aspirations of being a vibrant and active city. With this important development comes public, social and economic benefits for Calgarians through investment, vibrancy, increased tourism and visitor spending.

Results: On July 30, 3019, Calgary City Council made the historic, city-building decision to develop a new event centre in the heart of the Rivers District. Located at the envisioned, 'critical corner' of Calgary's Culture and Entertainment District, the event centre is considered a catalyst community-building project that will accelerate redevelopment in the Rivers District. Construction is estimated to commence in 2021 and to be completed within 30 months.

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New Event Centre - Calgary's Culture & Entertainment District

New Event Centre in Calgary's Culture & Entertainment District.

Rivers District - Stampede Trail

Rivers District: Stampede Trail

Creative Calgary

A strong arts and culture scene is vital to a city’s energy and draw – for visitors and Calgarians alike. Calgary-focused brand research commissioned by Tourism Calgary makes it clear that our city is perceived by Calgarians and visitors to lack vibrancy; an important antidote to that perception is a sustainable, active and adequately resourced arts and culture centre.

Calgary’s arts grants per capita are less than Edmonton, Montreal, Toronto, Winnipeg and Vancouver. This translates to fewer arts sector jobs for Calgarians. Over 50,000 Calgarians are employed in creative industries, and Calgary’s post-secondary schools produce over 4,000 graduates annually with creative-industry degrees or diplomas.

Increased, and sustainable investment in Calgary’s arts and culture sector will help to keep our graduates in Calgary. It will contribute to the quality of life of Calgarians and to our city’s unique DNA. It will help to advance our diverse cultural offerings, and contribute to true vibrancy in the Core. It will also help move us toward our vision of becoming the ultimate host city, will boost Calgary’s economy, and contribute meaningfully to our city’s brand and reputation as an active and accessible cultural destination.

Results: In late November of 2018, City Council approved a transformational increase to Calgary Arts Development’s budget, which will help build a more sustainable, resilient arts sector and contribute to a more vibrant, connected and prosperous city for all Calgarians.

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Potential 2026 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games bid

The potential of bidding for and hosting the 2026 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games presented an important opportunity to grow global awareness of Calgary as a city and a tourism destination, enhance hosting infrastructure and further develop the core of the city. Recognizing the importance of this opportunity, Tourism Calgary partners and stakeholders gave the organization a clear mandate to support and provide information about Calgary’s potential bid for the 2026 Olympic & Paralympic Winter Games.

Results: Following a three-month campaign funded by the Calgary Hotel Association, Tourism Calgary determined that 85 per cent of Calgarians believe tourism is an important contributor to Calgary’s economy and quality of life.

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