Announcing Chinook Blast: Calgary’s Midwinter Roundup

A Chinook Blast is coming!

More than 55 partners across Calgary’s arts, non-profit, neighbourhood, tourism, and sport communities, including Calgary Arts Development, Tourism Calgary, the Calgary Municipal Land Corporation, Calgary Downtown Association, and many others are collaborating to bring Chinook Blast: Calgary’s Widwinter Roundup to life.

“Calgary’s arts, culture, and sports scene is vibrant no matter the season,” said Mayor Naheed Nenshi. “Chinook Blast is our way of putting a stamp on the winter weather as a badge of pride. With the partners assembled on this festival, there will be enough energy flowing throughout our city to keep everyone warm. These six weeks are going to be something special whether you’re from here or coming to experience the best of Calgary in the winter.”

The festival will take place over a six-week period from mid-January to the end of February, in what is typically a slower season for Calgary’s tourism industry. Chinook Blast will create a central branding for the artists, performers, entrepreneurs, and non-profits to attract patrons. Tying existing events together with a number of new experiences, Chinook Blast will highlight Calgary’s status as a winter city that doesn’t let a little cold weather get in the way of good time.

“Research shows that 93% of Calgarians engage with the arts in one way or another – and that was pre-COVID,” says Calgary Arts Development President and CEO Patti Pon. “We also know people are really leaning on the arts during the pandemic, whether it’s picking up that dusty old guitar or attending an online concert. Chinook Blast is something we all need – a great opportunity to participate in a festival of arts and sports programming in a safe way in the heart of downtown. We are excited to be involved and even though it's a mid-winter festival, I know Calgarians will bring all their warmth to it and I can’t wait to be part of the celebration!”

Venues across Calgary will be transformed for the festival, with hubs located at a number of different locations. There will be both paid and free events for locals and visitor to experience.

“One of the best things about Calgary is our community spirit. I can’t think of a better way to showcase that spirit than collaborating with 55 partners on a winter festival that will bring excitement, energy, activity and an economic injection to a time of year when we need it most,” says Cindy Ady, CEO Tourism Calgary. “When it’s safe for us to gather again and we launch Chinook Blast, it will be a fantastic opportunity for Calgarians to invite their friends and family to our great city to participate in Calgary’s winter cultural showpieces.”

"Downtown Calgary is thrilled to be a partner of Chinook Blast and to host this exciting new event in the heart of our city." says Jennifer Rempel, General Manager of the Calgary Downtown Association. "Downtown is the perfect backdrop for Calgarians, local business and visitors to gather in celebration of our winter city, but also in the spirit of togetherness when we can safely do so again. It's incredibly important we lay the groundwork and plan ahead right now, to bring to life ambitious activations that Calgary is known for. Chinook Blast will help drive support for our local businesses and keep Calgary's creative spirit thriving into the future."

With Calgary’s high quality of life and vibrant public spaces, it has been called “the best city in which to live” in the entire western hemisphere. Chinook Blast will give visitors and attendees the opportunity to see that Calgary has a lot to offer throughout the year.

“CMLC is a proud partner and supporter of Chinook Blast and the opportunity it presents to build upon the collaborative spirit and energy of Calgary’s arts, culture and sport community, says Kate Thompson, President and CEO, CMLC. “We are committed to working with our partners on this initiative to bring the type of vibrancy and activation to downtown Calgary that is so important at this time.”

The pandemic and its associated impact have made 2020 a difficult year for everyone, and the launch of Chinook Blast gives something for Calgarians to look forward to. Planning is underway for the inaugural Chinook Blast to take place in January 2021. Adjustments and protocols will be made as required to ensure the safety of the attendees, performers, partners, and the public. More details will be released as planning progresses.