An Alberta-wide 2030 Commonwealth Games bid is in the exploratory stages after Hamilton’s bid failed to meet a scheduled bid stage gate related to provincial funding support.
The Hamilton 100 group had been working towards hosting the Commonwealth Games, which would mark with 100th anniversary of the athletic event. They’d also looked at a bid for the 2026 games before pulling out.
Victoria, Australia will host that edition of the event.
Hamilton 100 spokesperson Louis Frapporti confirmed to LiveWire Calgary that a stage gate for that group’s bid was missed as “the province failed to provide the requested commitment by the specified deadline.” Frapporti forwarded correspondence to LWC indicating a failure at this point in the process.
“It’s been a difficult 72 hours as this has unfolded,” Frapporti wrote in an email, saying further that he would inform community stakeholders of the news.
“Admittedly I feel that the province’s political leadership has missed a remarkable opportunity for regional regeneration but they clearly have other priorities.”
We have reached out to Ontario’s Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport for comment, but haven’t yet received a response.
The news opens the door for a potential Alberta-based bid. Three years ago, there was a grassroots community bid in the works here in Calgary for the 2026 Commonwealth Games.
LiveWire Calgary was provided a statement by a group of Alberta community builders forming a potential bid. They said they’re working with Commonwealth Sport Canada to explore the possibility of hosting the Games. They’ve also been in discussions with all orders of government and Alberta First Nations. The bid would include venues Alberta-wide, including both of the province’s major cities – plus First Nations communities. The Tsuut’ina Nation has the new 7 Chiefs Sportsplex and Jim Starlight Centre that could be one of the venues included.
“This exploration has included business and institutional organizations, venue operators and various community groups and advocates to assess the value of bringing the Commonwealth Games to communities throughout the province,” the statement read.
“Before the project can move forward internationally, Alberta needs to meet certain conditions set by Commonwealth Sport Canada by the end of this month.”
It wasn’t immediately clear what conditions would need to be met. We have reached out to Commonwealth Sport Canada for further information. We have also asked if a Calgary bid would catapult them to the top of the preferred candidate list. Right now, only India has expressed interest in potentially hosting.
City MP favours a Alberta Commonwealth Games bid
Coun. Jasmine Mian said she was aware of a grassroots bid but couldn’t confirm if anything was coming forward in light of the Hamilton news. Mian, a former Olympian, supported a potential bid.
“I think it’s definitely something we should explore,” she said.
The group behind the bid said they would be holding a media conference March 1 to introduce and provide more details on the proposed project.
Calgary Skyview MP George Chahal told LiveWire Calgary last week that there are ongoing conversations with the Commonwealth Games body that makes Canadian bid decisions.
Chahal said he supports a Calgary bid for the Commonwealth Games.
“I think that would be great for Calgary,” Chahal said.
“If we could host large events like the Commonwealth Games or in the future, maybe even the Olympics sometime in the future, or even just more local and regional events in Western Canada or throughout the country, for folks across the country to come to Calgary.”
Mayor Jyoti Gondek said there was a “very active community group” advocating for the Commonwealth Games to be in Calgary.
“Any time an initiative is community-led and community-supported it ends up being a good result,” she told LiveWire Calgary during the member-exclusive, monthly Mayor and Me podcast.
“I don’t know where the situation stands right now but we are open to listening to what this community group has to say. And we’re always interested in exploring opportunities.”
Ward 9 Coun. Gian-Carlo Carra, who supported Calgary’s failed Olympic bid, was equally supportive of a potential Commonwealth Games bid. He said it opens up the door to potential federal funding for local infrastructure projects.
“Opportunities like this give us additional opportunities to claw that money back to build the things that we need, and as we talk about diversifying our economy and competing on national stage, they’re amazing marketing for us,” Carra said.
Ties to the Multisport Fieldhouse?
Recently, the City moved ahead with a specific focus on the multisport fieldhouse. The city has set aside more than $100 million for the project. Estimates in 2019 pegged the project cost at roughly $300 million.
A Commonwealth Games bid could mean matching money for sporting infrastructure like the fieldhouse. City councillors – and MP Chahal – were quick to downplay the connection.
“I would say that council’s investment of an additional $20 million back in November when this rumour was not even existent is an indication that we believe in this project,” Mayor Gondek said.
“We have for many years been pushing other orders of government to join us to see this piece of infrastructure come to life.”
Coun. Mian, who chaired the recently-ended Foothills Athletic Park Redevelopment Committee (FAPRAC) said she’s focused on delivering the fieldhouse regardless of international events.
She said the fieldhouse ties to international events have been both an asset and liability to the discussion.
“I’m always cautious to sort of say that the fieldhouse should only be delivered if there’s a bid,” Mian said.
“My intention is to move that project forward, no matter whether there’s any kind of bid or not.”
Chahal, who chaired the FAPRAC committee when he served on Calgary city council, said potential federal help for the project wasn’t contingent on a Commonwealth Games bid.
“I think all orders of government, we all have a responsibility to work together and advanced projects that have been determined as top projects for a city from an infrastructure perspective,” he said.
“This is an important project to our city and city council.”