As the City of Calgary continues to weigh the value of a potential bid to host the 2026 Olympic Winter Games, the Town of Canmore is asking its residents to offer input on what role the Bow Valley community should play should Calgary throws its hat in the ring.

If Calgary elects to submit a bid and is awarded the 2026 Games, Canmore could potentially host the biathlon and cross-country skiing events, as it did in 1988, using legacy infrastructure including the Nordic Centre.

The mountainous town, with a permanent population nearing 14,000, has contributed the most Canadian athletes, per capita, of all Canadian municipalities for the 2018 Games. Despite its strong ties to the Olympics, Mayor John Borrowman says he wants to ensure the town is in favour of assisting a future Olympic Games before a commitment is made.

Borrowman will be joining the members of the Calgary bid exploration delegation in PyeongChang for six days of competition following a personal trip to Australia and New Zealand to visit his grandchildren.

“It’s going to be a really grueling time, to be honest, while we’re there,” said Borrowman of his schedule in South Korea. “It’s going to fun and exciting and all that, and the CAO of the town is going to be there at the same time, but we’re going to be getting in behind the scenes.”

Borrowman says a lot has changed since Canmore hosted Olympic events in 1988 and his fact-gathering trip will focus on the planning and operations of the village and competition venues. “We have to try and imagine if we could fit those facilities and operations in the Town of Canmore.”

While the offerings of Canmore to a potential Calgary Olympic bid are straightforward, the Town of Canmore has identified a number of ways the 2026 Olympic Games could potentially help the Town.

“Specifically around things that we really need in Canmore; community-based housing, transit solutions, new sporting facilities,” said Borrowman. “There’s a number of things we have on our long-range priority list that, through hosting the Games, could move forward quite a bit on our priority list and actually help us through funding the infrastructure. When it’s attached to the Olympic Games, there’s provincial and federal money that may be available for some of these priorities.”

The residents of Canmore are divided on the merits of supporting a potential Olympics bid, which comes as no surprise to the town’s mayor. “This is Canmore so I always hear different perspectives. Canmore’s not a community that stands quietly off to the sidelines and doesn’t share opinions.”

“I’ve certainly heard a lot of good, strong support for the idea,” said Borrowman. “But there are people that I’ve talked with who are concerned about what the impact might be to our community in terms of growth and development and changes. People often are concerned by change.”

The financial cost of hosting future Olympic events in Canmore has not been confirmed but Borrowman hopes to have solid numbers in place in the coming months before council makes its final decision.

In the meantime, Borrowman says the Town of Canmore is encouraging all residents to voice their opinions on Canmore's contributions to a potential 2026 bid.

“We’ll be doing quite a bit of engagement with the community and this survey that’s online now and a follow-up survey later and really try to get a good sense of how the community feels particularly once we’re able to start sharing some of the more meaningful details.”

For additional information regarding Canmore's role in a potential bid for the 2026 Olympic Winter Games visit Explore 2026

With files from CTV's Alesia Fieldberg