“It Was Mandatory”: Calgary Stampede was canceled for the first time in nearly a century due to a pandemic
The Calgary Stampede won’t go any further this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic, officials said Thursday.
This year’s event was scheduled for July 3-12, but was deemed impractical due to the prohibition of large gatherings and the need for physical distancing.
“This is very, very difficult. Stampede is such an important part of our community and I can hardly imagine what July without Stampede will be,” said Naheed Nenshi, Mayor of Calgary. “But we just can’t go on with this risk this year.”
Tom Sampson, chief of the Calgary Emergency Management Agency, said these types of decisions were mandatory given the state of the pandemic in Alberta.
“I think I denied it. But there was no choice here,” said Sampson. “It was mandatory. It was a decision that had to be made.”
The cancellation is a severe blow to a city and province already hit by the economic impact of the COVID-19 lockdowns combined with the collapse in energy prices.
Over the past five years, the summer event has averaged gross sales of $ 79.2 million and a profit of $ 21.4 million on an expense basis.
The Calgary Stampede draws more than a million visitors to the city each year and pumps $ 540 million annually into the provincial economy, according to the Conference Board of Canada.
The Stampede’s year-round events add approximately $ 110.9 million to Calgary’s GDP.
Watch: City Officials Discuss Cancellation of the 2020 Calgary Stampede:
“The Biggest Magnet”
Nenshi said although the city is currently focused on the physical and mental health of local residents, Calgary’s path to economic recovery will be challenging.
“Oil and gas make a huge contribution to our economy. [But other contributors] Include retail. This includes travel and tourism. You just heard that we are picking up the biggest travel and tourism magnet in town, “Nenshi said.” The Province of Alberta and the Canadian government must look at Calgary differently.
“One-size-fits-all programs don’t work in Calgary.”
CLOCK | COVID-19 forces Calgary Stampede to be canceled:
Local businesses, including restaurants, hotels, retailers, and more, also rely on tourism during the annual event.
“We knew this decision was way beyond us,” said Stampede President Dana Peers. “This is a much bigger decision than our own charitable decision.”
Peers said the organization will continue to schedule fall and winter events at Stampede Park as well as Stampede 2021.
Slogan “hell or flood”
Even after the devastating floods of 2013, the organizers managed to cancel the annual event just weeks after the disaster, when tired Calgarians gathered under the motto “Hell or Flood”.
However, the global health and economic emergency caused by COVID-19 proved insurmountable.
Last month, the Stampede announced that it would temporarily lay off 80 percent of its employees, 890 people, due to the effects of the pandemic.
In addition to their own events, the Stampede hosts around 1,200 external group events each year, including business, tourism, sports, hospitality and community events. However, no events have been held since the province imposed a ban on gatherings of more than 250 people.
The first Calgary Stampede took place in 1912. From 1923 it was an annual event in the city.
Edmonton officials announced Thursday that K-Days, the city’s 10-day exhibition, will not happen this summer.