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Special events on private property

Permits and bylaw information for party tents and other special functions.

Step 1: Review the rules and fees for your project


When is a permit required?

If you are planning an event, all applicable safety regulations, bylaw rules and licensing requirements must be met. Please note the special events on City land are managed differently.

The City’s Land Use Bylaw contains rules for special events taking place on private property. Structures that are involved with an event are also subject to safety regulations. Review the Bylaw Information section to determine out if your event requires a development permit and review the Alberta Building Code Information section to determine if your special event requires a building permit. Depending on the event activities and location, you may also require a business licence.

A development permit may be required, before applying for a building permit. If you are unsure if you need a development permit first, contact the Planning Services Centre.

Fees

Planning Approval - Development Permit (if applicable)​​​​​ ​ ​ ​ ​
Planning Approval - Development Permit (if applicable) : undefined: ​Permit fee undefined: ​Advertising fee undefined: ​Development Completion Inspection undefined: ​Total
Planning Approval - Development Permit (if applicable) : ​Special event undefined: ​$380 undefined: ​$32 $245 undefined: ​$657

See the planning application fee schedule​ for a complete list of planning application fees.

​​ ​Building Safety Approval - Building Permit
Building Safety Approval - Building Permit: ​Special event undefined: ​​Please use the Building permit fee calculator​ to estimate your fee.

Online submissions – deposit process

For online submissions with large permit costs, there is a deposit process in place that limits the amount paid online. 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. The remaining total building permit fee must be paid prior to permit issuance. In order to pay the remaining total please choose one of the following payment methods and reference your permit number:

By Phone (only available by credit card):

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

By Mail (only available for cheques):

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.​​​​

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.​

​​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 or flood fringe*

*Note: A development permit is required for special functions that take place in the floodway or flood fringe 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:

  • Maximum 3 consecutive days; maximum 15 days in a year
  • Maximum 1 story in height for any associated temporary structures such as a tent
  • Maximum size restrictions for any associated temporary structures such as a tent:
    • under 125 square metres when within 45 metres of a residential district
    • under 300 square metres in the downtown and East Village
    • under 75 square meters in districts that only allow small drinking establishments (C-N1, C-N2, I-E, I-R, CC-ER and CC-EPR)
  • Tents must have no openings, except emergency exits, loading bay doors or non-opening windows, on a façade that faces a residential district unless that façade is separated from the residential district by a street.
  • May be located anywhere on the property except for within the corner visibility triangle
  • Not located in the floodway or flood fringe*

*Note: A development permit is required for special events that take place in the floodway or flood fringe 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.​

Alberta Building Code information

Tents, air supported structures, stages and other festival-type structures (e.g. towers to house speakers and lighting; seating; dance and viewing platforms; roofs, towers and masts; marquees; decorative items, such as archways, signs, and sideshows) are considered to be buildings as defined by the National Building Code 2019 (Alberta Edition) and are subject to safety regulations and building permit requirements.

Building code requirements

A building permit is required:

  • For tents that cover more than 60 square meters (individually or collectively)
  • For smaller tents (tents less than 60 square meters) that are within three meters of another structure or contain commercial cooking equipment
  • Any time stages more than 1.2m high or other festival-type structure are constructed, installed or erected

For residential uses, building permits are NOT required as per the Safety Codes Act Permit Regulation. The City would review residential tents on a complaints basis and respond to any unsafe condition.​​​

Additional information

Licensing requirements

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.​​

Special 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
Permit type: ​Special event permit​ Event details: 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
Contact: Calgary Fire Department

311​
Additional information: ​​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.
Permit type: ​Noise Exe​​mption Permit​ Event details: 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: ​Contact 311 or apply online

Bylaws related to noise
Additional information: Noise exemption permit

Requires a minimum seven-day lead time.

No associated fee. ​
Permit type: ​Roads permits Event details: Banners over roadways

Block parties

Bleachers

Mobile community signs
Contact: Road permits

Contact 311 or apply online
Additional information: ​​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.
Permit type: ​Street use permit

Temporary no-parking ban
Event details: If your event is for filming.​ Contact: Road permits

Contact 311 or apply online
Additional information: ​Issued at the discretion of the traffic engineer. Fees vary.

Used in conjunction with a street use permit.

Submit feedback on special event measures

Safety regulations, bylaw rules and licensing requirements are intended to help keep Calgarians and visitors safe, and ensure special events are run responsibly and respectfully. To provide feedback on how well these measures are working, please contact 311.

Multi-agency safety review of licensed establishments
In response to concerns regarding social disorder and community impacts in and around licensed establishments, all development permit and business licensing applications for licensed establishments – including those in tents – undergo a Licensed Establishment Multi-Agency Group (LEMAG) review to ensure owners and applicants are aware of and adhere to all applicable policies and legislation. Representatives with extensive knowledge, diverse perspectives and experiences with licensed establishments are engaged as required and include members from Calgary Police Services, Animal & Bylaw Services, Calgary Fire Department, Alberta Gaming & Liquor Commission and Alberta Health Services.

LEMAG endeavours to enhance personal and public safety in licensed establishments. During special events, such as the Calgary Stampede, the compliance arm of LEMAG conducts random inspections and takes enforcement action as appropriate to help ensure the event takes place responsibly.​​​

Other safety regulations

City of Calgary Policies for Electrical and the City of Calgary Policies for Plumbing and Gas also contain regulations and requirements for tents where there are cooking appliances, electricity, propane, or other fuel sources involved or proposed for use in connection within these temporary structures/tents.

Alberta Fire Code requirements must also be met. There are special fire safety considerations for cooking booths at events and fire-safe event planning assistance is also available. Tents are also included in the Calgary Fire Department’s Bar and nightclub safety program, which focusses on fire prevention.​​​​

Step 2: Prepare your application


Planning Approval - Development Permit (if applicable)

  • If you require a development permit, plan to apply a minimum of eight to ten weeks prior to the event. If only a building permit is required, plan to apply about three weeks prior to the event. You may require both types of permits.

    Please note this application type cannot be applied for using the online system. Please contact the Planning Services Centre for more information on how to apply.

Building Safety Approval - Building Permit

Step 3: Apply


Apply online​​

In order to get started, create a myID account.

​​​​Create a myID account​​

Businesses can register for a myID business account. A business account is intended for myID services to be submitted on behalf of a business or organization. Please follow the steps outlined on the myID business account page.

In person
Once you have gathered all required documents, you can apply for your permit in person by visiting the Planning Services Centre. To skip the line, book an appointment.

 

Step 4: Inspections and managing your permit application


  • Visit Inspections for information about inspection bookings, inspection outcomes, inspection types and more.
  • Visit Manage your permit application for information on how to revise, cancel, and alter your permit.

Disclaimer: 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.

Contact Us

Planning Services Centre Hours:

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

Call Us : 403-268-5311

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