The Calgary city council on Monday unanimously declared Canada’s 2026 Winter Olympics bid dead, after residents roundly rejected its proposal to host the Games in a referendum.
Mayor Naheed Nenshi said ahead of the council vote that he was “disappointed” in the outcome of the referendum — after nearly two years of bid preparations — but accepted the will of the people.
Calgary’s withdrawal now leaves only Milan and Stockholm in the running when the host city is announced in June in Lausanne, Switzerland.
The council’s announcement came after residents of the city at the foot of the Rocky Mountains last week came out 56.4 percent to 43.6 percent against bringing the event back to Calgary, which staged the 1988 Winter Games.
A tally of 304,774 ballots released by the city showed 171,750 voting against staging the Games, with 132,832 in favor.
The referendum result came after frenzied campaigning which saw pro-bid campaigners fail to convince residents that the city should bankroll a Can$390 million ($295 million US) chunk of the bill for hosting the event.
Bid officials had said bringing the Olympics back to Calgary would provide an economic boost to the city while giving it a chance to shine under a global spotlight.
But opponents cast doubt on the projected revenues from the Games, fearing massive cost overruns, higher property taxes and less funding for other municipal projects.