The “Olympic Moment” for the opportunities around economic development from hosting the Olympic and Paralympic Games actually extends for a decade or longer.
The 51-day festival that celebrates sport and culture will generate plenty of personal success stories and heart-swelling triumphs over adversary but the enduring impact of the 2026 Winter Games begins years before the Olympic flame is lit and lasts long after it is extinguished.
“The closing ceremonies are the midway point of your economic development plan around the Games,” said David Crawford, Vice President and Assistant Secretary-Treasurer for the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade at forum hosted by Calgary Economic Development. “When you think of what the Games can do, think of what you want Calgary to be in 2036.”
Prior to the Board of Trade, Crawford served in senior roles in the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. He supports a Calgary bid for the Games and added it can be a catalyst for economic development from investment attraction to marketing your city, and its companies, to the world.
Crawford offered advice to the audience on how to engage and educate local companies of all sizes to use Olympic opportunity.
One of the roles Calgary Economic Development plays is in fostering important conversations about our city’s future. We encourage Calgarians to become informed on the Games and vote in the plebiscite on Nov. 13. We see the Games as a way to accelerate the implementation of the new Economic Strategy for Calgary and generate years of opportunity for business.
Calgary 2026 released the Draft Hosting Plan Concept for the Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games to inform Calgarians about opportunities from hosting the Games before the Nov. 13 municipal plebiscite. The result of the vote will guide City Council’s decision whether to will submit a bid to the International Olympic Committee.
The IOC will announce the 2026 host city in 2019.
Crawford isn’t alone in touting Vancouver’s experience and urging Calgary to bid. Gordon Campbell, who was B.C.'s premier when Vancouver and Whistler hosted the 2010 Winter Games, expressed very similar sentiments at a Calgary Chamber lunch this month.
"If you get the opportunity to host an Olympics, that generates all kinds of economic opportunities,” the former premier told the audience. “Literally billions of dollars of investment that won't come here if you don't have the opportunity to host the Olympics. Billions."
Wendy Waters, who is Senior Director, Research Services & Strategy, GWL Realty Advisors in Vancouver posted an article on LinkedIn from her research on the impact of hosting the Olympics on office space demand in Sydney (2000), Salt Lake City (2002) and Atlanta (1996). She also looked at the Vancouver experience around the 2010 Games.