Our 4-hour whirlwind tour provided by our local expert Jocelyne Morrison from Time Out for Touring took us into Alberta’s second most visited attraction outside of the Rockies: Canada Olympic Park, visited every year by more than 1.3 million people. This is the flagship site of the XV Olympic Winter Games, which were held in Calgary in 1988. It is located just 15 minutes from downtown on the west side towards the Rocky Mountains.
View of the 3 ski jump towers
What makes Canada Olympic Park unique is that it continues to function as a multi-purpose competition, training and recreation area that is available year round to athletes as well as the general public. During the winter, almost 300,000 skiers and snowboarders visit the park. It also houses the second largest snow academy in the country, making lessons and programs available to people of all ages and abilities.
The Olympic Hall of Fame and Museum
During the summer, Canada Olympic Park turns into mountain biking facilities with more than 25 kilometers of trails, an obstacle course, trials park and facilities for BMX bikers and freeride stunts.
The Olympic Flame
We started off with the Olympic Hall of Fame and Museum which houses a whole variety of Olympic-themed exhibits and paraphernalia. This is the only Canadian museum devoted to the Olympic Games in Canada, and it is the largest in all of North America. Exhibits on two floors chronicle Canada’s participation at the Olympic Winter Games since their inception in 1924.
A particularly fascinating exhibit are the 20 of the 31 Olympic torches, dating back all the way to the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin. The Blood, Sweat and Cheers exhibit pays tribute to Canada’s Olympic Medal winners at the Salt Lake City Winter Games in 2002. The flags displayed in the museum and in the Plaza represent all the nations that competed in the 1988 Olympic Games in Calgary.
Reproduction of the famous Jamaican bobsleigh
Key highlights of the Museum are a reproduction of the bobsleigh used by the Jamaican bobsleigh team in the 1988 Olympics (the film “Cool Runnings” was based on this story), an original hockey jacket from 1956 which inspired the 1988 Olympic attire, and medals for all 12 sports that were held in Calgary in the 1988 Olympics.
Images of the Olympics