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Canadian Games Themes: Calgary 1988

Poster - Calgary 1988
Poster, Come Together in Calgary, Calgary 1988 Olympic Winter Games.
Source: International Olympic Committee Website.

Under the theme Come Together in Calgary, the host city of the XV Olympic Winter Games selected an emblem that was rich in symbolism.

Making a direct reference to the Olympic Winter Games, a snowflake that could also be seen as a stylized maple leaf, the most important national symbol of Canada, was chosen. The emblem of the XV Olympic Winter Games is also composed of several letter Cs, for Canada and Calgary. Under the emblem are five Olympic Rings.

The official poster of the XV Olympic Winter Games shows a view of the city of Calgary under the Olympic Rings, the official emblem, and the slogan, Come Together in Calgary, Host City for the XV Olympic Winter Games, February 13–28, 1988 Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

Come Together in Calgary...

Olympic Mascot - Calgary 1988
Olympic mascot, Opening Ceremony, Calgary 1988 Olympic Winter Games
Source: Library and Archives Canada

The city and the venues and facilities where the competitions took place were decorated with elements reflecting the cultural and natural heritage of western Canada.

Both visual and functional aspects were taken into consideration, particularly for the flags and streamers, booths, barriers, and signs. And, in an effort to highlight the symbolism of the rings, the five Olympic colours were used.

The other colours chosen correspond to Calgary's physical environment. The public, as well as several social and cultural bodies and associations, participated in decorating the city, which rapidly took on a festive air.

Various activities also took place across the country which provided opportunities to promote the XV Olympic Winter Games. These included Expo 86, the Grey Cup Parade of 1986, the Pacific National Exhibition of 1987, Ottawa Winterlude in 1986 and 1987, and the Québec Carnival of 1986 and 1987.

Two mascots, Howdy and Hidy, were chosen for the XV Olympic Winter Games. These were two polar bears, whose names were developed with reference to brotherhood and welcome. Howdy means “hello,” and Hidy is an extension of the word “hi.”

These two mascots, who made their first appearance in 1984 at the Sarajevo Olympic Games, evoked the warm welcome extended by Calgary and western Canada. In preparation for, and during the Calgary XV Olympic Winter Games, approximately 140 high school students volunteered to take turns wearing the costumes of these two mascots.

The obverse of the medals awarded at the Calgary XV Olympic Winter Games displayed the official emblem, namely the snowflake, with the words XVes Jeux Olympiques d'hiver, XV Olympic Winter Games, Calgary 1988.

The reverse side showed an athlete in profile, crowned with an olive wreath, as well as an Aboriginal man with a headdress made of various sport equipment: ski poles, a bob, skis, skate blades, a stick, a luge and a rifle.

Further research:

Les Archives de Radio-Canada, Calgary, hôtesse des Jeux (Available in French only)
International Olympic Committee, Calgary 1988