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Public hearing on April 22, 2024. Proposed rezoning will support more housing options in all communities.

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Sport Calgary connects Calgarians

Sport, and the access to sport, has a fundamental impact on the quality of life of Calgarians and contributes to the health of individuals and communities. Sport is a powerful tool, building resilience and a sense of belonging for all ages and stages of life. Research shows that in addition to keeping youth healthy and building motor skills, young people who participate in sport gain confidence, build social skills, learn teamwork and discipline, and enhance academic achievement. Sport also has the capability to connect youth to positive adult role models and mentors.

The way sport is offered and experienced creates the opportunity for positive outcomes. Despite living in a city where a multitude of sports, teams, and organizations can be found, the unfamiliarity of certain sports, negative experiences, and the cost of activities can be a barrier for some Calgarians. Recognizing these challenges faced by some families, Sport Calgary created All Sport One Day in 2009 offering children ages 6 to 17 the opportunity to experience a new sport, in a low-risk and inclusive environment.

In 2022, All Sport One Day hosted over 220 sessions with 58 different sports, offered to 5000 participants. This free initiative happens twice in 2023, on June 17 and August 19.

“All Sport One Day has become an annual, signature event,” says Sport Calgary President and CEO, Olympic Gold medallist and speedskating record holder, Catriona Le May Doan. “We know that there are financial barriers, confidence barriers, access barriers. We try to break those down by offering new activities in a non-threatening environment, where everyone may be trying a sport for the first time.”

The success of All Sport One Day has helped shape All Sport One City, which invites adults of any age or skill level to discover a new sport or revisit a sport they may have once played. As well, All Sport One Community sees local, community, and neighbourhood organizations bringing passionate coaches and instructors to specific locations to engage individuals of all ages in physical activity.

“With All Sport One Community, we go in to underrepresented communities and offer sports that may be familiar, like cricket and bhangra, but also new experiences,” explains Catriona. “Sometimes we need to break down those barriers of perceptions that a certain sport is for a certain culture and background. If kids want to participate, we can connect them with the Equipment Bank, but it is better if their parents can be familiar with it as well, which happens in these community-based events. It is the most enjoyable when sport can be for the whole family. We need to continue to promote things where you don't need to purchase equipment, and everybody can participate.”

Sport Calgary is a civic partner and The City’s strategic partner for delivering the Sport for Life Policy, which was created to provide all Calgarians access to participate in sports. Civic partners are The City's largest partners that receive the most significant City investment, which includes annual operating grants.

“I credit Council for recognizing and funding sport as a priority,” explains Catriona. “Community sport is present in virtually every community in Canada and is largely supported by communities themselves. In Calgary, Sport Calgary is the conduit - we connect sport organizations with citizens, and citizens with organizations and infrastructure. We offer education and training, like free grant writing workshops, to help sports organizations help themselves. We want Calgarians to be active, but most of all, we want sustainability [in the sport system].”

Sport in Calgary

  • There are 400 sport organizations.

  • Calgarians volunteer 15 million hours per year.

  • Over 85 sports are offered.

  • 320,000 Calgarians are playing sports.

  • There are 17,000 sports-related jobs.

The Sport for Life Policy is a commitment to Calgarians and focuses on sport opportunities, specifically removing barriers by promoting equitable and quality programming; sport leadership to attract major sporting events; sport environments, developing a framework to support emerging and growth sports; and sport partnerships as shown by the collaboration with Sport Calgary, in building the capacity of local sports organizations.

What’s next for Sport Calgary? Catriona is passionate about changing the culture of sport to ensure safe sport experiences for all participants. She believes that Calgary can be a leader in sport that is accessible, inclusive, respectful, and free from all forms of harassment, discrimination, and abuse.

“There is an opportunity to look at community sports and ensure all organizations, teams, and personnel have background checks before they are allowed to operate or access facilities,” explains Catriona. “We are trying to put a framework together for organizations dealing with youth; let us help you create a safe environment and teach youth, coaches, and parents to demand, expect, and adhere to safe sport guidelines. This must be a priority. I want to say, ‘look what Calgary did’ and bring it to other communities across the nation and make this a minimum standard in every city.”

Sport Calgary connects Calgarians

All Sport One Day

A free, family-friendly event on August 19, 2023.

Register or drop in!

Did you know?

  • Calgary’s first Civic Sport Policy (2005) was the first of its kind in Canada.
  • Canadians rank sport second only to families as a highly positive influence in the lives of young people.
    (source: The True Sport Report)

Categories: Community, Recreation