Calgary voters say ‘no’ to Winter Olympics in referendum

Calgary’s bid to host the 2026 Winter Olympics looks to be over after a majority of voters said ‘no’ to the proposal in a non-binding referendum.

Unofficial results showed 56 per cent voted against the bid. Of 767,734 possible voters, 304,774 cast ballots and 171,750 voted against the Games.

Calgary city council will make a decision based on the results next week but in all likelihood the bid is dead.

The news comes as a blow to the International Olympic Committee, which now has just two officially declared candidates: Stockholm and a joint Italian bid between Milan and Cortina D’Ampezzzo. The US Reno-Tahoe Winter Games Coalition pulled out of the race on Monday, citing economic concerns over the United States Olympic Committee process that is expected to focus instead on the 2030 Games.

The Canadian Olympic Committee said in a statement it was disappointed by the results.

“The opportunity to welcome the world to Canada, where people can experience the uniting power of the Games and within our nation’s culture of peace and inclusion, would have offered countless benefits to all,” the statement said. “This would have been a unique opportunity for Canadians to be leaders in fulfilling the promise of a renewed vision for the Games.”

Calgary last hosted the Winter Olympics in 1988.