Can you feel it?

Canada Olympic Park communities still hold memories of 1988 Winter Olympics

While the 1988 Winter Olympics are almost three decades in the books, the memories for some Calgarians are as fresh as ever.

Calgarian Duncan Anderson was 15 in 1988. As a “budding ski racer,” he took a job as a film runner for Canadian Press during the games.

“Basically my job was to position myself with the photographers until the top racers had finished their runs,” he said.

As soon as photographers off-loaded their film, it was up to Anderson to ski down the hill as fast as possible to get his cargo in, as the first good photo received was usually the one used in newspapers around the world.

“[Film running] was a lot of fun on the downhill and super-G courses, as the Austrian and Italian fans would cheer loudly every time I’d hit the jumps on the way down. Longer flights equaled longer cheers.”

As well as being paid for utilizing the sport he loved, Anderson also was able to cheer on his favourite athletes.
“Being a young Canadian ski racer, I was rooting for a few Canadians: Rob Boyd, Felix Belczyk and Brian Stemmle. My real hero of the Olympics however, was Marc Girardelli of Luxembourg.”

While the Olympics have been long gone, traces of the big event still remain. Canada Olympic Park (COP) — now operated by WinSport Canada — has now become a popular public ski hill as well as a foremost training facility for winter athletes around the world.

And housing developments surrounding COP such as Coach Hill, Prominence Point, Bowness, Montgomery and Valley Ridge have become highly sought after communities.

“[I liked the] convenience to downtown. It was easy access, [I] didn’t need to drive on Deerfoot,” said Rochelle Siddall, who lived in Prominence Point’s Village Terrace — what was the 1988 Olympic Village — for five years.

As well as the convenience of proximity to COP, which also offers a variety of activities in the summer, communities near the park have the added amenities of nearby 16th Avenue, Signal Hill and the Children’s and Foothills hospitals.

For those looking to get in touch with Mother Nature, Bragg Creek, Banff and Canmore are a quick jaunt up Highway 8 or the TransCanada Highway.

A lot has changed in Calgary since 1988, particularly in the housing department. Back then, the average selling price of a home in the city was $101,423. The average price of a home in Calgary last month was $482,783.

Adjacent to COP, Paskapoo Slopes is currently in the midst of a potential new development. Trinity Development Group has plans to bring a development plan to the table in City council this summer.

The 81-hectare piece of land has been used throughout the years as parkland, 65-hectares of which would be retained as parkland with the remainder developed into what’s been dubbed an “urban village”.

“If approved by City council, the land will be rezoned and a new area structure plan will be created to accommodate this proposed development,” said Ward 1 Coun. Ward Sutherland.

“Currently, the applicant has submitted a number of studies in support of their proposal, including a slope stability and hydrogeological review of the site. The studies will be reviewed by City staff to ensure they meet the requirements set out by The City, The Province, and generally accepted standards of engineering.”

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