Edmonton launches bid for EXPO 2017

Today the City of Edmonton officially launched its bid to represent Canada in the international competition to host EXPO 2017. The bid is the result of many months of work by the Edmonton Expo 2017 staff, as well as volunteers and others. It was presented today to both the Province of Alberta and Heritage Canada.

You can download the bid in PDF here.

There are three key components to the bid: theme, site and benefits & legacies. Here’s the theme:

Harmony of Energy and Our Future Planet is a theme with breadth and scope sufficient to accommodate future developments that might lie ahead, ensuring a sustainable, high-quality legacy at the conclusion of EXPO 2017. The theme will position Canada as a leader and innovator in new approaches to energy and sustainability, far beyond the traditional energy sources of oil, gas, coal and hydro.

To arrive at this theme, Expo staff surveyed key local officials, talked with BIE, ran focus groups throughout Alberta, and engaged a number of volunteers and other community members. I think that while “energy” is perhaps a little obvious for an Albertan city, it does play to our strengths, and it presents us with an opportunity to establish Edmonton and Alberta as being about more than just oil and gas energy.

The second component is the site. The proposed main site is South Campus, with West Rossdale as the proposed secondary site. The two sites are linked by the River Valley, and would also be linked by LRT and water taxi for Expo. South Campus was selected because of its size and potential for growth. West Rossdale was selected for its historical significance. Here’s a map of the proposed sites:

Here’s a rendering of what the entrance of the main site might look like:

Here’s a rendering of a potential Canada pavilion:

Here’s a rendering of a potential Alberta pavilion:

The bid highlights the redevelopment of the Legislature grounds, as well as the construction of a signature bridge connecting downtown and the south side.

The third key component of the bid is the benefits that hosting EXPO 2017 would provide, as well as the legacies it will leave behind. They are outlined as:

  • Knowledge
  • Putting Edmonton, Alberta, and Canada on the World Map
  • Transforming Community Spirit and Pride
  • Creating an Inclusive and Accessible EXPO
  • Sharing Canadian Culture
  • Appreciating Cultural Diversity
  • Promoting Arts & Culture
  • Positive Economic Impact
  • City Building
  • Growing a Tourism and Trade Destination
  • Leadership in Environmental Stewardship and Sustainability
  • Creating Global Change

Those are quite broad and high level, but as EXPO 2017 is such a large event, it will touch on all of the above areas. Check out the bid document for more detail on each.

Where do we go from here? The timeline looks like this:

  • The bid process:
    • Spring 2010 – Selected by the Government of Canada
    • June 2011 – Submission of the international bid
    • October 2011-January 2012 – Enquiry mission by the BIE
  • And if selected:
    • June 2 or 3, 2017 – Opening day
    • July 1, 2017 – Canada’s 150th anniversary
    • September 2 or 3, 2017 – Closing day
    • Fall 2017-2018 – Legacy plans come into effect

Next week City Council will have to decide whether or not to approve $500,000 to continue EXPO 2017 operations until the national bid decision is made.

A couple of other relevant details:

  • It is my understanding that the site will feature no public parking. Transit is the focus!
  • Estimates call for 5.3 million visits, 1.9 million uniques (nearly half from out of province)
  • That translates to roughly 56,000 visits per day for three months (to put that into perspective, Capital EX recorded roughly 72,000 visits per day).
  • Close to 40,000 person years of employment would be created.
  • The event would boost Canada’s GDP by $2.6 billion, $2.3 billion of which would go directly to Alberta’s economy.

Edmonton EXPO 2017 LaunchEdmonton EXPO 2017 Launch

There’s a lot of information to read through, and until today few people except the Expo staff had seen it all. I’m going to take some time to digest things and I encourage you to do the same. I think the Expo team has done a great job of pulling everything together, but I think they have a lot of work to do in engaging the average citizen. They also have to make the financial case.

In general though, I’m very excited for the possibility of Edmonton hosting EXPO 2017. I think it could be another key part of our journey to becoming a world-class city.

You can see the rest of my photos from today’s launch here. Stay tuned to the website for updates, as well as Twitter and Facebook.

6 thoughts on “Edmonton launches bid for EXPO 2017

  1. Interesting you mentionned water taxis. Vancouver uses them very well, and I think that it would be neat to use them here, as it would draw people to the river, which is easily ignored in Edmonton. They probably wouldn’t be practical/safe year-round, but that would be a really great addition to the city.


  2. you must be kidding. What is this going to cost taxpayers? this sounds like some sort of govt project leading to nowhere. When will people get it? Carl Parisien.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s