Calgary 2026 offers glimpse of renovated Olympic venues

Calgary’s Olympic bid corporation offered a glimpse of what numerous sport venues around the city would look like if an Olympic deal goes forward for the 2026 Winter Games.

The Olympic renovations would include around $500 million in refurbishments to an existing 11 facilities, including McMahon Stadium, the Saddledome, the Olympic Oval and the ski hill at WinSport.

Fergal Duff, director of venues, villages and capital infrastructure with BidCo, said the much-needed upgrades to McMahon will improve accessibility for people with liabilities while “extending the life span” of the aging stadium.

Duff said the stadium upgrades — including a new entry plaza, new team zone and concourse patio and renovated washrooms — would cost more than $80 million of the $500-million improvement budget.

“But the public areas have remained pretty much the same,” Duff said. “Circulation areas are quite narrow for a stadium that has a capacity of about 35,000 seats.

“One of the things we’ll be doing is taking out a lot of the structures that are in between the columns in the concourse area. That’ll double the size of the circulation area … it’ll really be a dramatic change in terms of what it’ll look like.”

The stadium was built in 1960. Under the hosting plan, the 29,000-seat venue would be expanded to 40,000 for the duration of the Games.

Rendering of McMahon Stadium, which would be upgraded for opening and closing ceremonies of the 2026 Winter Olympic Games.

Rendering of McMahon Stadium concourse, would be used for opening and closing ceremonies of the 2026 Winter Games.

Only two new sporting venues —a field house and mid-size arena — would be built in the city under Calgary 2026’s hosting plan.

Duff said a new field house would cost an estimated $300 million while a new 5,000-seat multi-use arena would cost another $100 million.

Rendering of proposed multi-sport field house, with seating for 10,000.

Exterior rendering of the field house.

Rendering of proposed mid-sized community arena.

Venues outside the city would also reap the rewards of a successful bid.

Despite being a Calgary-led bid, Whistler is the planed home of ski jumping and nordic combined events, both of which would see investments from BidCo.

He said the “technical aspects” Whistler’s venues (built for the 2010 Vancouver Games) would see ski jump upgrades and “base area development.”

The Canmore Nordic Centre was built for the ’88 Games and would see base area redevelopment, facility relocation and improvements to the Paralympic courses.

Duff said couldn’t go into “specific details” on the individual budgets for each of the proposed construction projects.

More to come…

On Twitter: @RCRumbolt


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