The Economic Strategy for Calgary is our guide to be the city we envision through the fundamentals of prosperity: People, Place, Innovation, and Business Environment. The 2026 Games would inject billions into the economy and propel efforts to promote Calgary and achieve ambitious goals for business growth for more than a decade. Done right, they would revitalize our city in important and lasting ways.
There are a multitude of definitions for innovation, but they undoubtedly align with the Olympic ideals of faster, higher, stronger.
Innovation to make the world a better place – resolving global challenges faster, setting the bar higher for what’s possible and building stronger ecosystems to turn bright ideas into success stories – means applying creative thinking to just about everything. That includes sports.
Innovation is a key element of the new Economic Strategy for Calgary that aims for us to be “the city of choice in Canada for the world’s best entrepreneurs, as we embrace innovation and create solutions to meet the world’s most fundamental needs in food, energy, transportation and health.”
As a city, we have a well-earned reputation as risk takers who embrace disruption and we intend to be Canada’s leading business-to-business (B2B) innovation ecosystem.
Calgary 2026 can provide an opportunity to accelerate the evolution of the economy as innovation will be a critical element in staging the Games, broadcasting the festivities and training the athletes, as it will be to all our industries.
Calgary has a globally respected innovation “ecosystem” – a cluster of companies, institutions, supply chains, financial backers and entrepreneurs – in the energy sector. The ecosystems are growing in our other key sectors, including; agribusiness, transportation and logistics and health/life sciences.
The hosting plan for Calgary 2026 lists a series of “opportunities” that overlap with areas where we are already taking a lead developing technology. A focus by the Games on areas like a carbon management strategy, transportation and logistics, and high-performance sports would be a catalyst to spur already ground-breaking local companies and institutions.
The Faculty of Kinesiology at the University of Calgary has set a standard of excellence, since 1988, that is respected worldwide. Now a global leader in fields such as high-performance sports and sports-related concussions, it’s an example of the legacy of the Games.
“As a direct result of the 1988 Olympics, we are able to develop a world-class environment for research and learning as well as build superb training facilities for coaches and athletes at the varsity, community and Olympic level,” says Penny Werthner, Dean of the Faculty of Kinesiology. “We are researching ways to improve performance to help people live healthier at all ages.”
The Faculty of Kinesiology is the home of the Olympic Oval, successful Dinos varsity teams, Active Living, Outdoor Centre and the Sport Medicine Centre. It is ranked the number one sport science school in North America and number seven globally.
And there will be more opportunities. With digitization of the economy creating unprecedented disruption for business, the Economic Strategy promotes creation of a Calgary Innovation Corridor to accelerate the growth in tech and the application of innovation in all our core industries.
The opportunity to show the world a commitment to lower-carbon energy is one area where Calgary is a global leading through innovation. There are many more.
Hosting the Games will help us to achieve many long-standing goals for Calgary and will spark economic development that will provide an enduring post-Games legacy. The Economic Strategy endorses coming together as a community and also makes the point “we have a shared ownership in decision making and implementation initiatives.”
Everyone is encouraged to vote November 13.