Edmonton is a mid-sized city that punches above its weight in hosting major international events – but what matters most is the local impact.
“Edmonton has a rich history of hosting major sporting events that have left some incredible legacies in our community starting with Commonwealth Games in 1978, World Masters Games in 2005 and the FIFA Women’s World cup in 2015,” Cindy Medynski, Director, Edmonton Events told Host City Americas.
“Legacy and in particular social impact are always a major factor in events that we are looking to attract to Edmonton. Economic and reputational values are much easier to measure and more straightforward, but we are looking for event partners that have similar values and that have developed programmes that provide alignment with our community goals.”
Edmonton has the second highest indigenous population in Canada. “We work really hard to involve that community in the planning for major events – it’s something that’s very important to us, not only to Edmonton but to Canada in general.
“These events take place on their land; it’s important for us that community to be at the table from the beginning – and for us to be educated on how to incorporate them. It’s a long learning process but it’s one we need to engage in. Our indigenous groups are so happy to be involved in this as well – there’s a tonne of things they contribute.”
Edmonton also looks for events that build on legacies from past events. This involves building a local pool of volunteers that are a legacy from the 2001 World Athletics Championships, creating local capacity and expertise in event delivery, and targeting major events that create opportunities for youth to participate in sport during the event and long afterwards.
As Edmonton events is a partnership between the City of Edmonton and the tourism organisation Explore Edmonton, it also has the ability to draw on partnerships and relationships at the local level from the city and from our tourism organisation.
“So it’s very important that our event organisers and rights holders are buying local and supporting the community in ways that really show our citizens the impact and value of major events. It has to be a win-win for both sides of the coin.”
Edmonton Events is also helping to codevelop a custom plan for events to become carbon neutral. “This only works if event producers and rightsholders are on board; that’s why it’s important to us to start from the beginning and find partners that really have these values like we do.”