Temporary outdoor tents & canopies

Find out more information on temporary tents & canopies for events, the film industry, and other special functions.

Before you apply


Use this guide to help you to determine what permits you need and permit requirements before applying with the City of Calgary. 

Do you need a permit?


Building safety approval (building permit)

Determine which tier category your tents or canopies fall under using the following questionnaire:

Tier - questionnaire Answer
1 Will the tent(s) for your event be installed and in use for longer than 4 days? Yes No
2 Will the area covered by a single tent, or any cluster of tents, be more than 60 square metres (645 square feet) of ground? Yes No
3 During the event, will the tent(s) exceed 60 occupants at a time? Yes No
4 Will a single tent, or any cluster of tents, be placed less than 3 metres (10 feet) from any other tent, cluster of tents, or other structure? Yes No
5 Do the tent installation instructions recommend professional (architect and/or engineer) involvement? For example, when hydraulics and/or rigging is required to setup the tent. Yes No
6 Will there be open flame (eg. wood, gas) cooking appliances used inside any of the tents? Yes No
7 Are any of the tents custom built for your event? Yes No
8 Will there be bleachers or fixed seating inside any of the tents? Yes No
9 Will there be a platform or stage that is more than 1.2 metres (47 inches) above the surrounding ground at any point? Yes No
10 Will any of the tents block public sidewalks, lanes, roads, or property (eg. parks, easements)? Yes No
11 Will you require electrical, heating, water, or sewage service for any of the tents? Yes No

If you answered “no” to all the questions, your event does not need a building permit. You will still need to check if your event needs a development permit.

If you answered “yes” to any of the questions, your event needs a building permit. Refer to the temporary outdoor tents & canopies building advisory for more information about the three tiers to see if you qualify for a quick release building permit. You will still need to check if your event needs a development permit.

When do you need additional permits?

You may require additional permits depending on if it meets the rules of the Land Use Bylaw or if you are doing any additional work including electrical or plumbing.

Planning approval (development permit)

We will review all temporary tent applications to ensure the proposed tent meets the bylaw rules or has appropriate planning approval. Planning approval can be achieved through a development permit, which should be applied prior to making your building permit application. If you’ve already applied for your building permit and your proposed tent does not meet the bylaw rules, then your building permit will remain on hold until your development permit has been approved.

For more information on development permits, read the Land use Bylaw section.

If you are unsure if you need a development permit, contact the planning services centre.

Trade permits

Separate trade permits are required for each trade (ie. electrical, plumbing, gas, and HVAC) and will need to be applied for by the appropriate trade contractor. Read more about hiring a contractor.

Business licence

An existing licence automatically extends to an event taking place on the same property as the licensed business. A new license would be required for activities that require a licence and are located on a different property.

To sell or provide liquor at a private event, you may require a special events licence through Alberta Gaming & Liquor Commission.

If you are operating or organizing a mobile food vending unit at an event, you may require approval through Alberta Health Services. See the special events - organizer package.​​

How much will the permits cost?

Building safety approval - building permit Fee schedule Permit fee
Special event

Building permit fee schedule

Use the building permit fee calculator to estimate your fees

Planning approval - development permit (if applicable) Fee schedule Permit fee Advertising fee Development completion inspection Total
Special event

Planning applications fee schedule

$361 $30 $233 $624

How do you pay for a permit?

Online submissions

For online submissions with large permit costs, there is a deposit process in place that limits the amount paid online. 

Permit fees under $10,000

Permit fees under $10,000 must be paid in full when submitting your application.

Permit fees over $10,000

For building  permit fees over $10,000, only 25% of the base permit fee will be charged as an initial deposit, up to a maximum of $10,000. If 25% of the building permit base fee exceeds $10,000, you will be contacted to make payment for the remaining permit fee balance and any applicable additional fees (i.e. partial permit, lot grades, SCC, etc.)

 For example, if 25% of the permit fee is $25,000, you will pay a $10,000 deposit online and our cash office will contact you the next business day to make the payment for the remaining $15,000 of the deposit.

Please note: the full payment of the remaining permit fees is required before the issuance of the partial or full permit. To pay the remaining total, please choose one of the payment methods listed below and reference your permit number.

Payment method Our process
By credit card

Additional payments can be made via credit card over the phone.

In order to make payment over the phone by credit card please call 403-268-5311.

By cheque Cheques can be made payable to: “The City of Calgary”   Cheques can be mailed in using the mailing address below:   The City of Calgary  Attention: Planning Cashiers - 8108  PO BOX 2100 STN M  Calgary, AB  T2P 2M5 
By Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) If you would like to pay by Electronic Funds Transfer you will select the payment option upon application. No fees will be processed at the time of the application intake. The planning cash office will contact you the next business day and provide you with instructions to complete the EFT payment.

In-person submissions

When submitting your application in person, payment is due upon the time of submission. There are several different methods of payment accepted for this method of submission listed below.

Payment method
By Credit/Debit Card

Payment can be made via credit and debit card at the time of submission of your application. All major credit card types are accepted.

By Cheque Cheques can be made payable to:   “The City of Calgary”   Cheques can be mailed in using the mailing address below:   The City of Calgary  Attention: Planning Cashiers- 8108  PO BOX 2100 STN M  Calgary, AB  T2P 2M5 
Cash Payment by cash is only accepted in-person. Cash payment will not be accepted if sent via mail. 

There are two payment options to choose from when applying for your permit in person:

Option 1: Submit payment for 100% of the permit fees up front.

Option 2: Pay 25% of the permit fees up front. This option is only applicable for applications over $10,000. Please note, the remaining permit fees must be paid prior to the building code review and partial being issued. Applications missing fees are considered incomplete until full fees are paid.

In order to pay the remaining total, please choose one of the above payment methods and reference your permit number

How long will it take to get a permit?

To avoid delays, make sure your application includes all the required documents, plans and information listed on the checklist.

Building safety approval - building permit Our process Timeline
Tier 2 – tents and canopies Application is reviewed to ensure it matches the approved development permit and reviewed for safety codes compliance Approximately 1-2 business days if no DP is required, or DP has been approved. 
Tier 3 – tents and canopies

Application is reviewed to ensure:

  • it meets the bylaw
  • it does not require a development permit or match the approved development permit
  • safety codes compliance. 

Not all Tier 2 or Tier 3 tents will require a development permit.

Typically, between 21 and 49 days. 

*Varies based on complexity and completeness of application.

Development permit

​Permit Type Fee schedule Permit fee ​Advertising fee ​​Total Our process Timeline  Expiry
Special function class 2 Planning applications fee schedule ​$594 ​$30 $624

60 days to decision + 21 days advertisement/appeal period

*timelines are subject to change based on circulation requirements

10-12 weeks 1-3 years to commence depending on the type of development permit and land use district

Will you need professional involvement?

Professional architects or engineers

An architect or professional engineer may be required if the tent installation instructions recommend professional involvement. This includes when hydraulics and/or rigging is required to setup the tent. Refer to the current National Building Code – Alberta Edition, Division C, Section 2.4.2 or a consultant to determine if professional involvement is required. Where professional involvement is required, plans or documents must be stamped by the corresponding professional(s).

What are the rules when designing your project?


Where will your event be held?

Some rules may depend on the land use district (zone) you live in. Use the address search below to find your zone.

Events on city land

Special events that take place on city land are managed differently than those on private property. For more information about events on public land, visit Before booking a park, pathway or greenspace  and planning festivals and events.

Event tents for private residential properties do not require a building permit as per the Safety Codes Act permit regulation. The city reviews residential tents on a complaints basis and responds to any unsafe conditions.​​

Common event permits

Permit type​ Event details Contact ​Additional information
Special event permit

If your event is in:

  • a high-rise office building used for public assembly
  • a building not classified for public assembly where you expect 50+ people
  • an arena or stadium parking lot
  • a sports arena being used for a concert or other event
  • a tent for public assembly
  • a building other than a public-assembly building classified for the purpose being used (concert, staged performance)
  • a public assembly or mall, displaying vehicles
  • a public area where the use temporarily changes (i.e. street fair, block party, park, etc.)
  • an outdoor location that requires fencing
  • a tent or air-supported temporary membrane structure over 300 square feet

Or, if your event includes:

  • fireworks, model rockets, laser displays, special effects or promotional displays
  • candles or open flames
  • special amusement (e.g. haunted house)
  • straw bales
  • indoor cooking

Calgary Fire Department

311​

Special event fire codes

Please see indoor special event requirements for information about:

  • occupant loads
  • floor/area layout
  • fire and life-safety inspection

Building owner responsibilities for fire safety equipment If your application is for fireworks or a special effects display, a copy of the pyrotechnic license and insurance certificate must accompany your submission.

Noise exe​​mption permit​

Required if your event is a major public event or music festival that will likely exceed permitted noise levels.

Private functions are not eligible.

Contact 311 or apply online

Bylaws related to noise

Noise exemption permit

Requires a minimum seven-day lead time.

No associated fee. ​

Road permits

Banners over roadways

Block parties

Bleachers

Mobile community signs

Road permits

Contact 311 or apply online

​​Roadway banners must promote non-profit, charitable causes or a public event.

Requires a minimum four-week lead time.

Block party permits require a minimum three-week lead time. A petition must be signed by all residents.

The Bleacher application deadline is 90 days prior to the event.

Mobile community signs are for promoting community events and meetings.

Fees vary for each permit.

Street use permit If your event is for filming.​

Road permits

Issued at the discretion of the traffic engineer. Fees vary.
Temporary no-parking ban

Contact 311 or apply online

Used in conjunction with a street use permit.

Land Use Bylaw information

When required, the development permit process allows for a comprehensive evaluation of the impact the proposed event may have on nearby properties.

If you are having more than one special event this season at the same address (parcel), please allow time between events to completely dismantle the tent and restore the area to its original condition before the next event begins. Otherwise, a development permit may be required.​

If you are unsure if your scope of work requires a development permit, contact the planning services centre.

Permitted or Discretionary? What’s the difference?

Permitted or Discretionary? What’s the difference?

In the Land Use Bylaw, Uses are defined as either being Permitted or Discretionary in a Land Use District.

 

Permitted means that, if a use meets all the rules of the bylaw, it must be approved.  The uses listed as permitted were intended for this location and have little to no impact on the surrounding community.

 

Permitted with Relaxation means a use that is permitted but requires a relaxation of one of more bylaw rules. Evaluations are done on a case-by-case basis to determine if the relaxation is appropriate and how it impacts the surrounding community.

 

Discretionary use means that the use needs to be reviewed and is evaluated against several factors including applicable policies, appropriateness of the location, the compatibility of the use with others in the surrounding area, access, parking, servicing, and sound planning principles. Each submission is reviewed on its own merit at the time of application as discretionary uses have a higher impact on the surrounding community.

Development permit

If your event does not meet the definition for a Special Function – Class 1, then you will need a development permit for a Special Function – Class 2.

If you are having more than one special event this season at the same address (parcel), please allow time between events to completely dismantle the tent and restore the area to its original condition before the next event begins. Otherwise, a development permit may be required.​

Special function - class 1

Special Function - Class 1 accommodates educational, social, recreational, sporting and worship events such as weddings, birthdays, trade shows and ceremonies, or allows expansion of the uses already occurring on the property. These functions have a minimal effect on the surrounding neighbourhood. If you do not meet all of the Special Function - Class 1 rules, you will require a development permit. View the advisory bulletin.

Class 1 events do not require a development permit provided they meet all of the following rules:

  • Maximum 60 consecutive days; maximum 120 days in a year
  • Maximum 1 story in height for any associated temporary structures such as a tent
  • May be located anywhere on the property except for within the corner visibility triangle
  • Not located in the floodway*
*Note: A development permit is required for special functions that take place in the floodway to assess potential safety issues.

Otherwise, a development permit is required.​​

Special function - class 2

Special Function - Class 2 accommodates the temporary expansion of a commercial licensed establishment, including a conference and event facility, drinking establishment, restaurant and night club, brewery, winery and distillery. These events may have higher impacts in the community and a development permit is generally required. Review the Special Function - Class 2 rules for an exemption list.

Generally, a development permit is required, however smaller, short term events do not require a development permit provided they meet ALL the following rules:

*Note: A development permit is required for special events that take place in the floodway to assess potential safety issues.

While most Special Function - Class 2 development permit applications can be processed in a minimum of 10 weeks, processing time varies and cannot be guaranteed. To allow adequate time to resolve any issues that may arise, it is recommended that you apply early, starting with a pre-application meeting. You can even apply as much as 12 months prior to your event.​

Contact the planning services centre if you are unsure if a development permit is required.

How to apply

You can apply for your special function development permit on apply.calgary.ca

Checklists

To avoid delays, make sure your application includes all the required documents, plans and information as indicated on the checklist.

Contact the planning services center to determine the current approved "use" for your proposed address.

Alberta building code information

This information assists business owners and contractors understand and implement general National Building Code - Alberta Edition requirements for commercial building permits. All events, even those that do not require a building permit,  must comply with the Land Use Bylaw as well as minimum requirements established in the National Building Code - Alberta Edition, including applicable standards for safety of the public and building occupants, health, accessibility, energy, fire, and structural integrity.

Events must also comply with the Alberta Fire Code also known as the National Fire Code (Alberta Edition). Businesses are responsible for following the rules and regulations of all applicable governing bodies prior to using the space.

According to the National Building Code - Alberta Edition, structures such as tents, air-supported structures, stages, and other festival-type structures are classified as buildings. Therefore, they are subject to safety regulations and building permit requirements.

Some of the examples are as follows:

  • towers to house speakers and lighting;
  • seating;
  • dance and viewing platforms;
  • roofs, towers and masts;
  • marquees;
  • decorative items, such as archways, signs, and sideshows

Building code requirements

A public event containing multiple groups or clusters of temporary canopies or tents, will be categorized into the following three tiers:

  • Tier 1: Multiple clusters of canopies/tents, with each cluster not exceeding 60m2 and are in conformance to all the conditions listed under Tier 1 below – do not require a building permit. Please review tier categories table above to determine if your tent can be classified as Tier 1.
  • Tier 2: Multiple clusters of canopies/tents, with each cluster between 60m2 to 120m2 and conform to all conditions listed under tier 2 below are eligible to apply for a quick release building permit.
  • Tier 3: Multiple clusters of canopies and tents which accumulatively exceed 120m2 will require a full building permit review and approval as per the status quo.

Refer to building advisory B19-008: temporary outdoor tents & canopies for detailed information about the code requirements for temporary tents and canopies.

How to prepare your application?


1. Prepare the application details

You will need to know:

  • The event address
  • The dates of the event, including set-up and take-down dates.Who is applying (the contractor, designer, architect, owner, etc)

2. Prepare the required documents and plans

Apply


Tips for a smooth application process

Before you apply

Download the checklist and check each application requirement as you prepare to submit your application. Items listed on the checklist are the minimum requirements. We might need more information after we review your application.

Provide all required documents on the checklist, including drawings, supporting material, and any additional forms. If you are not sure if something is required, contact the planning services center

Use sample drawings to review what you need to include on your plans

Double check your documents are completed and make sure you have all required items on your plans before you upload them

After you apply

The planning services centre may contact you for more information required for your application. Follow-up on requests for more information as quickly as possible. 

Use the Job Access Code (JAC) to check status updates for your application on calgary.ca/vista

  • You’ll get a JAC by e-mail after you’ve submitted your application. If you did not receive a JAC number, contact the planning services center.
  • Checking your application’s status using your JAC will provide you with timely updates about the status of your application

What is a complete application?

A complete application means that you have provided all the necessary requirements for our teams to complete their reviews. You should provide everything listed on the complete application requirement list, including plans, supporting documents and payment.

An application for a permit may be refused if, within ninety (90) days from the date of receipt,  if adequate information and documentation is not supplied as requested by the Safety Codes Officer. Should a permit be considered for refusal, the applicant will be given notification in writing and 30 days to resubmit the missing information. For more information, please review building advisory A19-002 building permit complete application.

Where can you apply for your permits?

Apply online

To apply online, you need a myID account. Create a myID account.

Apply in person

Drop off your application at
3rd floor, Municipal building
800 Macleod Trail SE

After you apply


How to check the status of your permit?

After you submit your application online, you will get a confirmation email with a Job Access Code (JAC).

To track your application and check its status, enter your Job Access Code in Vista.

If you need help or have questions, contact our planning services centre

What Inspections do you need?


Tier 2

Inspections will not occur for Tier 2 tents. You are still responsible for ensuring that your tents meet the National Building Code – Alberta Edition.

Tier 3

You will be asked on the building permit application when you would like to book your inspection. If you would like to make a change to your requested inspection date after applying, contact 311.

Please note, inspections take place both as part of the building permit and licensing approval process and also proactively during large events such as the Calgary Stampede. City of Calgary safety codes officers may also exercise discretion to conduct additional inspections. If a fire inspection is required, submit your request  through 311.

After-hours inspections

Inspections booked outside of our normal operating hours will no longer be charged an after-hours inspection fee. This includes inspection after 4 p.m. on weekdays, all day Saturday, Sunday and Holidays.

Applications submitted online will require you to pay the fee up front, however this fee will be refunded within 2-3 business days. 

Inspection information

How do you book your inspections?

All contractors can book inspections online through the inspections booking system.

Our enhanced inspections booking system provides a more streamlined experience for contractors to better manage their inspections. Contractors can book, reschedule or cancel their inspections all through the online tool.

Please note, inspections can be booked up to 10 business days in advance and occur Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. The city continues to do our best to accommodate booking requests, however some dates may be unavailable due to inspection capacity.

What to do if you want to make changes?

What happens if you need to extend your permit?


Planning services Centre

Hours:
Monday - Friday
8 a.m. - 4:15 p.m. (MT)

Live chat:
calgary.ca/livechat

Call:
403-268-5311

In person: 
Planning services centre,
3rd floor, Municipal building 
800 Macleod Trail SE

Book an eAppointment for in person services at appointment.calgary.ca


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This information has no legal status and cannot be used as an official interpretation of the various bylaws, codes and regulations currently in effect. The City of Calgary accepts no responsibility to persons relying solely on this information. Web pages are updated periodically. ​