Growing support for a Vancouver 2036 Summer Olympics bid: survey

There appears to be growing support for the idea of Vancouver bidding for the 2036 Summer Olympics.

A new survey conducted by Research Co. shows 49% of residents in British Columbia think Vancouver should launch a bid for the Summer Games in 2036. This is up by 6% compared to a similar survey conducted in November 2022 by the same company.

On the flip side, 40% do not support the idea, and 11% are unsure.

Amongst residents of Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley, 51% and 46%, respectively, are in support. Levels of support are also highest amongst individuals who are South Asian (76%), First Nations (63%), and younger cohorts between the ages of 18 and 34 (61%).

There are higher levels of support for a Summer Olympics bid than the recent unsuccessful proposal for a Winter Olympics bid led by local First Nations. This question comes nearly a decade and a half since the 2010 Winter Olympics were held in Vancouver and Whistler.

When asked whether they support the Government of British Columbia’s October 2022 decision to not back the First Nations-led Vancouver bid for the 2030 Winter Olympics, 55% of BC residents indicated they support the decision. Only 29% supported the First Nations-led bid. The survey found that 57% of Metro Vancouver residents and 50% of Fraser Valley residents opposed the First Nations-led bid.

Furthermore, 35% of First Nations individuals supported the provincial government’s rejection, while 37% supported the opportunity. Amongst younger adults between the ages of 18 and 34, 52% support the rejection and another 29% disagree with the rejection.

The provincial government’s rationale for rejecting the Winter Games bid proposal included costs, other priorities, and the resources needed for Vancouver’s role as a host city for the 2026 FIFA World Cup.

The Summer Olympics are roughly three to four times the size of the Winter Olympics in terms of the number of athletes and spectators, the number of events and sports, and the various venues and facilities required — on top of any additional transportation infrastructure and hospitality needs.

Vancouver 2010 VANOC

Olympic rings atop the Shangri-La Hotel, Vancouver’s tallest building, and branded decorations were some of the original ‘Look of the Games’ concepts envisioned for Vancouver 2010. (VANOC)

Following the Paris Games this year, the next Summer Olympics will be held in Los Angeles in 2028 and Brisbane in 2032.

Currently, there is some potential interest in bidding for the 2036 Summer Games from Spain (Madrid), South Korea (Seoul), Qatar (Doha), Turkey (Istanbul), Egypt, India, and Indonesia. In February 2021, Le Journal de Montreal reported the Canadian Olympic Committee was considering a joint Summer Games bid between Toronto and Montreal in the 2030s, which is allowed under the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) recent flexibility reforms to reduce costs, including smaller size venues in terms of spectator capacity, the greater use of temporary facilities, and a more dispersed venue plan over a larger geographical area. Later that year, the IOC awarded the 2032 Summer Games to Brisbane.

As for the future host cities of the Winter Olympics, the 2026 Games will be held in Milan, and the IOC has identified the French Alps and Salt Lake City as preferred candidates for the 2030 and 2034 Games, respectively. Due to climate change’s impact of limiting the number of potential new host cities for the Winter Games, the IOC is considering selecting a small pool of permanent host cities that could host these snow-based Olympics on a rotating basis.

When survey respondents were asked whether they support Vancouver being one of the 16 host cities of the 2026 FIFA World Cup, 68% of BC residents strongly agree with the decision, with support levels climbing to 85% amongst South Asians, 70% amongst Metro Vancouver residents, and 69% amongst younger adults between the ages of 18 and 34. There were also high levels of support across political lines, with 73% from BC United (BC Liberals) supporters and 72% from BC NDP supporters, based on how the respondents voted in the 2020 provincial general election.

However, the survey was conducted between April 15 and 17. On April 30, the provincial government announced the estimated cost for all levels of government to stage the 2026 FIFA World Cup in Vancouver could roughly double to up to $581 million due to more matches being assigned to Vancouver (seven matches, including some high-profile knockout matches, instead of the previously assumed five matches), updated FIFA requirements, some upgrades for BC Place Stadium, and significant contingency funds for any unexpected costs.

The survey saw 801 respondents and has a margin of error of ±2.5%, 19 times out of 20.