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Social & Economic Impact

In addition to the initial municipal funding that launched this transformational project, in April, 2021, the City of Calgary announced an allocation of $80M towards the Arts Commons Transformation (ACT) project, as part of its Greater Downtown Plan.

On Friday, March 22, 2024, Premier Danielle Smith announced an unprecedented contribution from the Provincial Government of $103M over 7 years, for the development of ACT and the Olympic Plaza Transformation (OPT) project.

By aligning with the long-term ​strategic vision for Calgary and Alberta, ACT and OPT will contribute to the cultural fabric of our city and province, to both attract talent and retain lifelong citizens​. ACT will serve the needs of our growing city by creating additional space for informal and formal gatherings, community activations, and an opportunity for Arts Commons resident companies to grow and innovate, while OPT will play a pivotal role in making our downtown a safer and more attractive destination. 

This shovel-ready project also provides the opportunity to lean into today’s unique challenges to invest in a better tomorrow, supporting the creative economy and the growing arts and culture workforce, and contributing to an economically diverse community by jump-starting both short and long-term job creation and economic activity. 

ACT and OPT will have an immediate and positive impact on our economy during construction, including:

  • $424M contributed to Alberta’s GDP ($386M to Calgary's GDP)
  • $30M in Alberta Government revenues ($9.8M for Calgary)
  • 3,454 jobs created in Alberta (3,155 in Calgary)
  • $263M in Alberta labour income ($239M in Calgary)

Once ACT and OPT are complete, the new Arts Commons Campus will continue to have a positive economic impact, including: 

  • $59M contributed annually to Alberta’s GDP
  • $4.7M collected annually by the Alberta Government
  • 743 FTE jobs supported in Alberta
  • $37M in annual Alberta labour income

As a vibrant thread in the social fabric of our city and province, the new Arts Commons campus will be one of the largest contiguous arts-focused spaces in Canada. Together, the expansion and modernization of Arts Commons, alongside Olympic Plaza's redevelopment, will honour Calgary's past and will create a new model for engagement and business sustainability that will be a paragon for other cities around the world.

“Arts Commons is the beating heart of Calgary's downtown.”

~ The Honourable Doug Black, Canadian Senator

“Arts Commons will be a key contributor to the social, economic, cultural, and intellectual life and well-being of Calgarians and visitors alike, and an important building-block for the revitalization of the downtown core suffering.”

~ Former Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi

"Bringing back Alberta’s economic strength and attracting investment will require a complete community. That includes infrastructure as well as quality of life elements, like professional sports teams and of course a strong and vibrant arts and culture scene. These are all important pieces of making people and companies want to move to and stay in Calgary. The Arts Commons Transformation will enhance our ability to succeed while providing much needed capacity for citizens to enjoy performance arts."

~ Ric McIver, Minister of Transportation

"The quality of a community’s cultural infrastructure has a direct impact on quality of life and therefore, on the competitiveness ​of communities in attracting people ​and investment."

~ Canadian Council of Chief Executives

"CMLC is proud to be a partner on this project that is adding to the cultural identity of Calgary. We are confident the team will provide a design solution that improves the resiliency, accessibility and capacity of Arts Commons and that its experiences will be designed to meet the needs of the community for years to come."

~ Kate Thompson, President and CEO, CMLC