‘Notable Occasions’: Different festivals and occasions deliberate in Edmonton
EDMONTON – As COVID-19 cases remain low and the days of public health restrictions pass, more events in Edmonton will be locked.
From international sporting events, a new comedy festival, and other time-honored local classics like Taste of Edmonton, The Fringe, and Heritage Days, the lack of restrictions in Alberta attract events back to town.
The world’s best rugby players from 12 of the best rugby nations will come to Edmonton this September.
Edmonton will replace London, England on the World Rugby Sevens Series tour and join other cities such as Singapore, Hong Kong and Vancouver, the tour’s other Canadian stop.
Alberta’s reopening plan and lack of current restrictions helped draw the event as other cities around the world couldn’t commit, Garth Rees of Rugby Canada told CTV News Edmonton.
“With COVID, there was a lot of uncertainty in some other cities around the world,” Rees said. “Edmonton was ready to receive us.”
Rees said event organizers are excited to return to the Commonwealth Stadium. In 2006 the stadium hosted the Women’s Rugby World Cup.
“I know we can fit a lot of people into this stadium and we’re looking forward to it,” said Rees.
Another international sporting event also drew to the city.
It was announced on Wednesday that a Tour de France-sponsored cycling event – L’Etape – is coming to the city in August 2022.
Janelle Janis, director of Edmonton Events, told CTV News that announcing two international sporting events in a week is a good trend for Edmonton, which she hopes will continue to grow.
“Sports tourism is a $ 6.8 billion industry and the fastest growing segment in the tourism industry,” said Janis. “We want a bigger slice of this cake in Edmonton.
“We’re putting more resources into the event attraction so we can get our visitor economy going again, but also give Edmontoners more of the remarkable events they’ve missed in the past year and a half.”
Explore Edmonton reported 6.3 million visitors to Edmonton in 2019, spending over $ 1.7 billion on them. The pandemic dropped visitor numbers to 300 million and the group projects could take up to five years to match pre-pandemic tourism income.
For Janis there is hope on the horizon.
“It’s busier than ever,” she said. “It’s all we’ve been waiting for.”
With files from Ryan Harding