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Fewer "big and boozy" parties, but corporate Calgary waits for Stampede after months of protests


After months of going out on the street to request approvals of pipeline projects and meet last month to request an increase in property taxes, the business community in Calgary is keen to get out on pancakes and parties, since Calgary's stampede kicks off this week.

The windows and courtyards of the city center have come up for a couple of weeks with cowboy themed murals and a false wood fencing for weeks, but while many predict a holiday, at least last year's, nobody expects a return to extravagance. a decade ago

"In fact, there are no longer many big gas and gas holidays that are made … grilled drinks, reckless spending and invite thousands of people, open bar, full bars," said the catering service Paddy Sorrenti , who has been helping Calgary have a good time for about 25 years.

"Things continue to happen. Now our business is different."

A visitor watches the firework display from half of the Calgary stampede. Oil workers based in Calgary put their cowboy boots and offer breakfasts of pancakes, beer barbecues and corporate boxes at rodeo and chuckwagon races. (Jeff McIntosh / The Canadian Press)

All the parties of Sorrenti del Stampede this year take place during the day, with a breakfast or a lunch and without alcohol, he said. Ten years ago, half would have been scheduled at night.

Since the global economic downturn in 2008, Calgary has been a tough decade for them. Oil prices rose and strengthened the economy of Calgary during the first part of this decade, but crashed by the end of 2014.

However, the growth in petroleum production, mainly from oil fields, did not stop, and last year it began to overcome the capacity of existing pipelines to bring it to customers in the United States, This led to strong reductions in local prices and legal restrictions on production in Alberta. which are still valid.

Thousands of dropouts in the energy industry have increased the vacancy rate in the towers of the center of Calgary by more than 25%, greatly reducing its value and transferring the tax burden of business assets to city businesses.

After a rally of hundreds of business owners outside the city hall last month, the council implemented a short-term aid plan and promised to reduce its expenses.

In spite of the challenges, the Calgary "will throw the socks" and will have fun during Stampede, predicted Sandip Lalli, general director of the Chamber of Commerce of Calgary.

Fans like a canvas wins during the annual Calgary Stampede Chuckwagon auction in Calgary in 2018. (Todd Korol / Canadian Press)

Recent positive developments for the city include the federal approval of the expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline and the promise of the newly held conservative government to face the Alberta coal tax and some changes in the minimum wage it made the NDP.

"There are always obstacles, but there is a certain feeling of optimism," he said, adding that he still expects "the property tax to be achieved in all barbecues."

Decorations slightly lowered

Stampede decorating companies present mixed results this year.

A smaller number of office towers have asked Authentic Western Productions to decorate their windows and common areas this year compared to last year, said owner Mike Werbisky.

But Sheena Tetley, of Blazing Saddle Western Display, says that the orders of the fireballs of fire-retardant hay of her company are consistent with the previous years in more than 3,000.

Two of the other large corporate invitations are only held on Thursday, the day before the Stampede parade officially begins the 10-day event. Both raise money for charities.

It is still a huge event, but, relative way, for a single hotel, not as good as it was before.– Dave Kaiser, general director of the Alberta Hotel & Lodging Association

Scott Land & Lease's chairman Gregg Scott says he expects 800 people to attend the 23rd edition of his Scott Land Stomp at the Wildhorse Saloon Stampede store in downtown, just like last year.

But previous organizer Rob Laidlaw, Vice President of Acumen Capital Finance Partners, after being transferred to a smaller site due to an uncertainty about availability, has been reduced to the "Best Damn Stampede Party" category at About 3,500 of about 6,000 people. of his usual Cowboys store.

In the meantime, TWT Group's IT services provider is organizing its fifth annual party this year at a large tent in the Deane House restaurant for about 200 clients and friends, some of which work in oil, said Murlyne Fong, 39; customer experience The event to thank your followers has the goal of raising $ 30,000 for the boys and girls clubs in Calgary.

Stampede's last year's support was 1.27 million, more than in 2017, but remained behind 1.4 million in 2014.

A member of a band that plays their instrument during the Calgary Stampede parade in 2018. The 2019 parade is Friday, starting with the popular rodeo. (Jeff McIntosh / The Canadian Press)

Weekend hotel offers

The good news for visitors arriving in Calgary for the Stampede is that, despite the fact that weekend hotel rooms are being sold quickly, there are many vacancies at the middle of the week, said Dave Kaiser, CEO of # 39; Alberta Hotel & Lodging Association.

The number of rented rooms increased by around 2.8% in the first five months of this year, compared to the same period of the previous year, but the number of rooms, mainly due to new openings Of hotels, it increased 6.6%, he said.

The result is an average employment rate that has dropped by 1.3 percentage points to 52.8% and an average daily rate that goes down from 0.7 percentage points to just over $ 136 per night.

"Historically, Stampede has been an important week. It's hard to find events across the city that fill most of the city's rooms throughout a week," he said.

"It's still a huge event, but, relative way, for a single hotel, not as good as it was before."

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