Experience Calgary’s Olympic Legacy

Skiing at WinSport Calgary
Skiing at WinSport Calgary
1988 Winter Olympic Games

Experience Calgary’s Olympic Legacy

Discover how Calgary’s Olympic legacy lives on with world-class experiences.

Calgary proudly hosted the 1988 Winter Olympic Games and continues to celebrate its Olympic legacy to this day. Just ask a local! With 57 nations participating, and 1,423 athletes competing in 46 different events, the Games made a lasting impact on the city you can still experience today. It’s the games where British ski jumper Eddie the Eagle soared into living rooms around the world through the television screen, where the men’s Jamaican bobsled team became legends, and where beloved mascots Howdy and Hidy welcomed the world to Calgary for 16 days in February of 1988.

It’s easy to see how Calgary’s Olympic legacy continues to live on today, training the next generation of Canadian Olympians and enriching the lives of locals and visitors with world-class experiences at iconic venues built for the games. You can experience Calgary’s Olympic legacy in so many ways, from outdoor skating at Olympic Plaza and the Fastest Ice in the World of the Olympic Oval to WinSport’s world-class ski runs and the Olympic Flame of the Calgary Tower, discover how Calgary’s Olympic legacy lives on.

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Olympic Plaza in Calgary (Photo credit: Travel Alberta/Roth & Ramberg).

Olympic Plaza in Calgary (Photo credit: Travel Alberta/Roth & Ramberg).

Olympic Plaza

Medal presentation ceremonies are an iconic part of every Olympic Games. Olympic Plaza was built in 1988 in the heart of downtown as a special place to hand out the coveted gold, silver, and bronze medals to athletes from around the world. The Olympic legacy lives on today as Olympic Plaza plays host to events and festivals throughout the year. A popular place to eat lunch in the summer, the only refrigerated outdoor ice surface in the city is a must-visit place to ice skate in the winter.

Location: 228 8 Ave SE


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Olympic Oval in Calgary.

Olympic Oval in Calgary.

Olympic Oval

The 1988 Winter Olympic Games brought a long awaited indoor ice skating track to the University of Calgary, with the Olympic Oval acting as the host to speed skating events throughout the Games. Constructed between 1985 and 1987, just in time for the Games, the Oval gained a reputation as “The Fastest Ice in the World” with female athletes participating in a 5000-metre race for the first time. It continues to be a world-class speed skating facility, along with a hub for research in the University of Calgary kinesiology department, and a training ground for the next generation of speed skating heroes. Visitors and locals can participate in more than 50 recreational public skating sessions each month on the 400-metre oval ice.

Location: 288 Collegiate Blvd NW


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Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary.

Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary.

Scotiabank Saddledome

The bid for the 1988 Winter Olympic Games and the arrival of the NHL’s Calgary Flames made the construction of the Scotiabank Saddledome an important project for Calgary in the 1980s. Opening its doors for the first time during the Olympics, the Saddledome hosted both figure skating and ice hockey with a capacity of over 20,000 fans taking in the action. Calgary FlamesHitmen, and Roughnecks home games, big time concerts, and the Calgary Stampede concert series make the Saddledome a popular spot for live entertainment to this day.

Location: 555 Saddledome Rise SE


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WinSport in Calgary (Photo credit: Travel Alberta/A.V. Wakefield).

WinSport in Calgary (Photo credit: Travel Alberta/A.V. Wakefield).

WinSport

WinSport might be the most famous contribution to Calgary’s Olympic legacy. Originally known as Canada Olympic Park, WinSport hosted the men’s bobsleigh, luge, and men’s ski jumping events, along with some Nordic combined events and a demonstration of freestyle skiing before it became an official Olympic sport. Two of the most memorable moments of the 1988 Winter Olympic Games took place at WinSport, with British ski jumper Eddie the Eagle winning the hearts of millions and the Jamaican bobsled team inspiring the film “Cool Runnings”. WinSport continues to train Olympians of the future along with welcoming millions of visitors for skiing, snowboarding, tubing, and bobsleigh experiences each winter.

Location: 88 Canada Olympic Rd SW


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The Calgary Tower (Photo credit: Travel Alberta/Roth & Ramberg).

The Calgary Tower (Photo credit: Travel Alberta/Roth & Ramberg).

Calgary Tower

Constructed in 1967, the Calgary Tower came to play an important role in the 1988 Winter Olympic Games, acting as the official Olympic Flame during the duration of the Winter Games. Did you know that a hand-held replica of the Calgary Tower was passed in the Torch Relay across Canada leading up to the Games? The natural gas-fired cauldron stayed lit for 16 days before being extinguished at the closing ceremonies. Visitors from around the world continue to visit the Calgary Tower today, taking in 360° views from 191 metres above the streets of downtown and dining at the rotating restaurant Sky360.

Location: 101 9 Ave SW


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McMahon Stadium in Calgary

McMahon Stadium in Calgary

McMahon Stadium

Home to the Canadian Football League’s Calgary StampedersMcMahon Stadium was chosen as the venue for both the opening and closing ceremonies of the 1988 Winter Olympic Games. 60,000 spectators took in the opening ceremonies on February 13, 1988, that included a flyover by the Royal Canadian Air Force’s Snowbirds, the traditional parade of nations, and performances by Canadian musicians David Foster, Gordon Lightfoot, and Ian Tyson. The Games officially came to an end at McMahon Stadium on February 28, 1988. You can experience the energy of McMahon Stadium at Stampeders’ home games every summer.

Location: 1817 Crowchild Trail NW


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The Canmore Nordic Centre (Photo credit: Travel Alberta/Mike Seehagel).

The Canmore Nordic Centre (Photo credit: Travel Alberta/Mike Seehagel).

Canmore Nordic Centre

Home to all the cross-country ski and biathlon competition at the 1988 Olympic Winter Games, the Canmore Nordic Centre continues to train Olympic hopefuls and welcome recreational skiers to this day. Located in the popular mountain town of Canmore, the Nordic Centre is an important part of Calgary’s Olympic legacy as a gateway to the Canadian Rocky Mountains. Visitors can purchase a trail pass to ski the same trails as the best in the world during the ’88 Games. It’s address still bears the Olympic legacy too.

Location: 1988 Olympic Way, Canmore, AB


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Nakiska Ski Area in Kananaskis Country (Photo credit: Travel Alberta/A.V. Wakefield).

Nakiska Ski Area in Kananaskis Country (Photo credit: Travel Alberta/A.V. Wakefield).

Nakiska Ski Area

Located about one hour from Calgary, Nakiska Ski Area is a beautiful destination in the heart of Kananaskis Country and Calgary’s closest mountain ski and snowboard resort. Host of alpine events for the 1988 Winter Olympic Games, strong wind gusts delayed some events until the conditions were just right for the best in the world to hit the slopes. Nakiska is a family favourite because of the short drive and runs ready for all skill levels along with the challenging Monster Glades section with secret powder stashes for advanced riders.

Location: 2 Mt Allan Dr, Kananaskis, AB

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