Building a Vibrant Future Through Youth Leadership—Rotary Club of Calgary South Donates $1 Million to the Calgary Stampede Foundation

On Thursday, April 4, 2019, representatives from the Calgary Stampede, the Calgary Stampede Foundation and Rotary Club of Calgary South gathered in celebration of youth empowerment at a signing ceremony, where Rotary Club of Calgary South generously donated $1 million to the Calgary Stampede Foundation.

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$1 Million endowment to the Calgary Stampede Foundation from the Chiu Family creates a sense of belonging and community

The Calgary Stampede Foundation is pleased to announce an endowment gift of $1 million from
Wayne and Eleanor Chiu. The endowment supports the Foundation’s education programs, such
as Stampede School and OH Ranch Education and their innovative approach to engaging
students in agriculture, western heritage and community building.

“Supporting youth and education is our passion,” says Wayne Chiu. “The Calgary Stampede Foundation’s education programs empower youth with knowledge and skills that, even at a young age, teaches students that they have a role to play in shaping their neighborhood, their school, and their family. They learn this through the Stampede’s deep connection to its values of trust, integrity and community spirit.”

The Chiu family’s vision for the endowment is for the Stampede Foundation’s education programs to continue to instill resiliency, strength and kindness into youth that will, in turn, shape the growth and legacy of our city and region.

On March 12, 2019 Wayne, Eleanor and Patrick Chiu visited Stampede School to get a first-hand look at the Calgary Stampede’s educational programs in action.

To learn more about the Chiu family’s endowment to the Stampede Foundation and the impact is will have on youth education, watch this video:

TransAlta Performing Arts Studios

April 6, 2017 was the official grand opening of the TransAlta Performing Arts Studios. This is the first facility to open as part of a broader youth campus on Stampede Park. The 13,000 sq. ft. studio features seven rehearsal rooms individually designed to provide young Calgarians with a much-needed space to gather, learn, and celebrate the arts.

2018 Report to Community

The Calgary Stampede Foundation had a remarkable year in 2018, highlighted by the realization of many very exciting and significant milestones. We opened Doherty Hall, we held our third annual Farm Safety Day, and hosted a successful fundraising event Strong Youth. Stronger

The Calgary Stampede continues to transform into a year-round, world-class community gathering place. It’s very rewarding to see our We’re Greatest Together spaces come alive with the joyous sounds of young people learning, making friends, and coming into their own. 

Investing in our youth gives them the opportunity to become people of character and capable future leaders who have a strong sense of identity and who are empowered to engage positively in the community around them.

As you read through this Annual Report, we hope you see both the short and long term impact of what the Calgary Stampede Foundation envisions to accomplish through its many facilities and programs.

Read the 2018 Report to Community

2017 Report to the Community and BMO Amphitheatre Opening

Following is a brief overview of what was shared at the event on November 2, 2017. Bob Thompson, Chair of the Stampede Foundation Board of Directors shared some memorable moments from the past year:

  • In September of 2016, the Stampede School brought two classes from an English language learners program to take part in the OH Education Program at the OH Ranch for the first time. The participants were new Calgarians and they all flourished during their day at the ranch stating that for some of them, the land reminded them of home.
  • In November 2016, thanks to the generosity of Bill Siebens and a group of other donors, the OH Historical Centre was opened. This is now a museum-like space in the basement of the cookhouse at OH Ranch that offers all visitors and our OH Education students a place to explore the land and history and learn about the pioneers of the OH Ranch
  • This January, the 4H Programs joined the Stampede Foundations portfolio giving us the opportunity to realize synergies that are shared with all other Stampede Foundation Programs
  • In March, we officially opened the TransAlta Performing Arts Studios which are used every day and evening by Stampede Foundation programs and other community partners such as Jazz YYC, Calgary Fiddlers and the Calgary Arts Academy.
  • In May we launched our new 1912 Society Annual giving program and are pleased to say that 32 new donors are generously supporting the Foundation as part of this program.
  • During Stampede, The Young Canadians experienced the summer of their lives working hand in hand with Jann Arden on the Canadian inspired Grandstand Show. Jann described her experience with the Youth Canadians as “one of the most rewarding of her life”.
  • Later this summer the Calgary Stampede Showband earned a gold medal at the 2017 World Music Competition. Their performance titled Mosaic featured a collaboration with Indigenous youth drummers and dancers for the first time.
  • In September our Board had some changes and with that, we saw the following dedicated Stampede Foundation Board members retiring;
    • Steve Allan, Previous Chair of the Board
    • Barry Munro, Previous Audit and Finance Committee Chair; and
    • Mike Casey, Previous Fundraising Committee Chair
  • We also said hello to 3 new Board members this fall
    • Bill Gray, Past President of the Stampede
    • Fauzia Lalani, Past YMCA and Stars Canada Board member
    • Scott Thon, President and CEO of AltaLink

Sarah Hayes, Executive Director of the Stampede Foundation then shared some highlights of what to expect in 2018:

  • On November 18, the first ever Stampede Foundation program targeted at Indigenous youth will kick off. The program is focused on encouraging Indigenous youth to connect with their culture, learn great life skills and have fun .
  • January 2018 will start the year of celebrations to mark the 50th anniversary of the Young Canadians. There will be pop up workshops with distinguished TYC alumni and to top it all off, the Stampede Foundation will be holding a fundraising gala in the fall.
  • In partnership with the Calgary Stampede, we will also be choosing the young artist who will be selected (out of 100 applicants) to design the iconic 2019 Stampede Poster.
  • In October of 2018 we will celebrate the opening of Walton Hall. This historic building will be transformed into a 100 seat performance and rehearsal space – a much needed venue for the community.
  • Were also hoping to have the development permits for the SAM Centre complete in 2018. The SAM Centre is a Foundation capstone project and it will provide the means to share a legacy of western heritage and values with our community and visitors alike.

At the Report to Community, we had the great pleasure of officially opening the brand new BMO Amphitheatre. This new space is a vital part of our journey as we continue creating places for our youth to learn and grow. By providing Calgary’s youth and the community with these facilities and access to these programs, we truly are investing in our future.

These are exciting times for the Calgary Stampede Foundation and our success is due to the generosity of our donors, supporters, and friends who make it possible. On behalf of the Stampede Foundation Board, thank you for helping us create a legacy of strong youth for a stronger community.



Converting History Into a Future For Young Artists

Almost 110 years after hymns were first sung in the historic Westbourne Baptist Church, a new generation of voice, song, music and dance will fill the repurposed building on Stampede Park under the banner of Walton Hall.

Today, the Walton Group of Companies announced a $1.5 million gift to the Calgary Stampede Foundation, to help revitalize and relocate Walton Hall to the new Youth Campus. The building will provide much-needed performance, rehearsal and classroom space for arts organizations across Calgary.

The media announcement was made Thursday, May 15, by (from left) Calgary Stampede President Bob Thompson, Walton Group of Companies founding family member Siobhan Doherty, Walton Executive Vice-President of Law Leslie Fryers and Calgary Stampede Foundation Board Chair, Ann McCaig.

Walton Hall will be in the very heart of Youth Campus on the northeast corner of Stampede Park. Walton Hall will attract community arts organizations  for rehearsals and performances, helping to support youth development and the flourishing of the arts in Calgary.

“Youth Campus is an important development to Walton as it promotes Calgary as a great place to live, work and play,” says Leslie Fryers, Executive Vice President of Law at Walton. “Walton Hall will celebrate the past and build a strong, vibrant and exciting future.”

Siobhan adds that her family has always been involved with the Calgary Stampede, and they feel honoured to be involved with how the organization is evolving into the future.

One million dollars of the Walton gift will be allocated to create Walton Hall, which will bring much needed arts rehearsal and performance space in Calgary, when it opens, which is expected to be in 2016.  This facility will feature a classroom and a 60 seat recital hall, to be used by The Young Canadians of the Calgary Stampede and the Calgary Stampede Showband as well as other performing arts groups from across Calgary. The remaining $500,000 of Walton’s generous donation will support the overall development of Youth Campus.

Ann McCaig says that with the $1.5 million Walton donation, the Foundation has reached the $93 million mark of its $100 million We’re Greatest Together capital campaign goal.  The campaign and Youth Campus is part of the Calgary Stampede’s vision to become a world-class, year-round gathering place for the community.

Through Don Taylor, A History Not Forgotten

The history of southern Alberta is in many ways the history of the Calgary Stampede. It’s one of characters and cowboys. It’s one of perseverance and determination. It is a history written by the people, too often forgotten, who pioneered Canada’s west. Don Taylor stands for the values that have defined this history: A pride of place and its people. Perseverance. An entrepreneurial spirit. And a colourful character.

Thanks to the incredible generosity and vision of this true Calgarian, the characters who defined our past will forever be in our future. Don Taylor’s $15 million investment into the new SAM Centre will ensure the history of Stampede and southern Alberta be displayed for generations to come.

The SAM Centre, named for Taylor’s father, will be a western interpretive centre that transforms the traditional museum setting into an interactive educational experience for youth and adults. Through the Stampede archives, permanent and temporary galleries and classrooms, the SAM Centre will tell the stories of the Stampede and Southern Alberta while connecting urban and rural audiences.

Passing of the creative torch at TransAlta Grandstand Show: New creative producer is Emmy-Award-winning Dave Pierce

The Calgary Stampede is pleased to announce Dave Pierce as the new creative producer of the TransAlta Grandstand Show. Pierce takes the creative reins from his mentor and long-time executive producer Bill Avery, who is leaving his role after the 2013 the Stampede Grandstand show.

“We’re excited to have Dave bring his artistic vision to the Stampede in a big way as the creative producer of the 2014 Grandstand Show and beyond,” says Paul Rosenberg, vice-president of Programming.  “As a native Calgarian, Dave not only brings incredible passion and understanding of the Stampede, but he also brings a global perspective of entertainment that will ensure the TransAlta Grandstand Show remains on the world stage.”

Pierce has been involved with some of the largest and most complicated musical productions around the world and the Stampede is thrilled he’s able to bring his passion and experience to the Grandstand show.

“I look forward to opportunity to build on the legacy that is the Grandstand Show”, says Pierce.  “The Stampede has always played an instrumental role in my career, and I am thrilled to have the opportunity to give back to Calgary audiences through this iconic production that helped launch my international career.”

In 1990 Pierce was a fresh-faced music grad when Avery gave Pierce his one of his first music jobs. Since that time, Pierce has built a global reputation as a musical composer, producer, arranger and orchestrator, all the while continuing his relationship with the Stampede as the musical director of the Grandstand Show and a close collaborative relationship with Avery.

“I’m thrilled that Dave, who’s been my colleague for many years, is becoming the producer,” says Avery.  “He’s got a musical background and an appetite for theatrical presentation and production that I’ve always admired about him. The Stampede is in good stead with Dave.”  With the 2013 show as his last, Avery plans to go out with a bang and this year’s lineup is tremendous – including new participation from the Calgary Arts community.

“During his 31 years with us, Bill Avery has brought an energetic mix of homegrown and global entertainment to more than 4 million guests,” says Rosenberg.  We join Calgarians and visitors alike in thanking him for his tireless work to elevate the Grandstand Show to a new level.”

Pierce says he intends to start planning for the 2014 show straight away. He’ll no doubt draw on his exciting and numerous experiences. He was the Music Director for the Opening, Closing, and Victory ceremonies of the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, for which he received an Emmy Award for Outstanding Music Direction. In 2011, Pierce was Composer and Music Director of the 12th Arab Games Opening Ceremony in Doha, Qatar. He has worked with a variety of performers, including Michael Bublé, Carrie Underwood, Paul Brandt, Ian Tyson, Jann Arden, Bryan Adams, Sarah McLachlan, Nelly Furtado, k.d. lang and Robbie Williams.

Michelle Fior - Calgary Stampede fan for life

Michelle Fior realized how much the Calgary Stampede is a part of her life when she looked around at the guests invited to her two-year-old son Rocco’s birthday party. She saw that three quarters of them were people she had met through the Stampede.

Michelle met another important person in her life, her husband Sheldon, at the Stampede as well.

It all started when the family moved to Calgary from Ontario. Her dad Addiano loved marching bands. So off they went to the Stampede Parade where Michelle saw the Calgary Stampede Showband for the first time and knew immediately she wanted to be part of it. As it happened, the only availability was for the clarinet and the rest, as they say, is history – she joined in 1985 and played until 1991 and then “graduated” to the Band of Outriders.

Like music, volunteering runs in the family. Her dad was a longtime Stampede volunteer with the Downtown Attractions committee and as a volunteer driver for the Band of Outriders. Michelle’s volunteer career started in 1999 on the Visiting Bands committee. She has served as chair for Visiting Bands and now is the chair for the Stampede Showband committee.

“Being a volunteer with the Stampede means being a part of something bigger than me and that is a huge part of Calgary. I have loved the opportunity to meet and work with new people,” says Michelle Fior.

Michelle is an extremely energetic person and passionate about all things Stampede. She is also a very giving person, both with her time and also money. As a result, she recently made a donation to the Stampede Foundation’s “We’re Greatest Together” Family Campaign.

“Stampede means so much to me. The 100th year was spectacular but now I want to be part of the growing and evolving second century Stampede,” says Fior.

Sadly her father died in early 2010, so in addition to her personal gift, Michelle is working with the Stampede Showband and Calgary Stampede Foundation employees to create a legacy gift in his memory. “It’s early days yet but I have in mind a scholarship fund for a member of the Stampede Showband. It just feels right and I know it would be a concept my dad would like,” says Fior.

Over and above her incredible commitment to the Stampede, Michelle teaches at St. Brigid School.

Calgary students gain new perspectives on feeding the planet

Calgary – Forty-five-hundred Calgary Jr. High School students are looking at agriculture sustainability in a new way thanks to the educational program Journey 2050™. Set to complete its first year, Journey 2050™is an educational program that challenges students to apply sustainability concepts in an interactive and innovative way to feed people by the year 2050 when the world’s population is nine billion people.

“Food production needs are expected to rise by 60 per cent in the next 35 years, and changing economic, social and environmental conditions will put even more pressure on agricultural yields,” says Chuck Magro, President and CEO of Agrium. “It is imperative that our youth of today understand how our present-day decisions impact our future lives, and so it is vital that we showcase the importance of agriculture.”

The Journey 2050™program is based on interactive learning. Students who complete the program have the opportunity to gain insights from three real-life families. These families, from Kenya, India and Alberta were interviewed in depth for the Journey 2050™program providing students with a global perspective.

The program was developed as a sustainable agriculture education program by Agrium Inc. in collaboration with the Calgary Stampede and funding by the Alberta Canola Producers Commission.  It is offered to schools in many ways, including a fieldtrip at the Agrium Western Event Centre on Stampede Park, an online experience for anyone in the world to participate, and you can download the Sustainability Farm Game in the itunes App Store for free.

“We salute Agrium’s vison in creating an educational program focused on agricultural sustainability,” says Warren Connell, CEO, Calgary Stampede. “We’re very proud to be the home to a global program that will reach millions around the world through its online version and app.”

Agriculture is one of the most critical areas to global sustainability. There are thousands of opportunities, a constant stream of new innovations and a network of people who will help us feed the world sustainably. Engaging and empowering the next generation in the discussion is more important than ever.

For more information about Journey 2050™, please visit

CBE Campus Calgary/Open Minds Honoured

On September 27, 2012, the Calgary Board of Education’s Campus Calgary/Open Minds program was honoured at the International Partnership Network Conference ith two Global Best Awards. One was for the successful nomination in the “partnerships that demonstrate capacity building, leadership and innovation” category. CC/OM also received the Overall Global Best Award for the Americas.

Groundbreaking for Agrium Western Event Centre

On July 8th, 2012, two heavy horse pulling a plow broke ground to start construction on the Agrium Western Event Centre at Stampede Park. The largest project in our history, the Agrium Western Event Centre is an essential part of the Stampede vision of a year-round gathering place for agriculture, commerce, education and entertainment. Bridging urban and rural culture, the complex triples the agricultural space on the Park. Local and international visitors alike will enjoy this 150,000 square foot agriculture showcase and competition venue. To read more go to:

OH Ranch gift to the Calgary Stampede Foundation

The gift, given by local philanthropist, rancher and businessman Bill Siebens, the almost 8,000 acred ranch is valued at more than $11 million and the largest ever received by the Foundation, also includes the OH brand and the ranch's historic buildings, such as the 1885 ranch house, the old cookhouse and a replica North West Mounted Police cabin.

The Stampede Foundation will work with the Stampede to develop a management plan for the ranch, located near Longview, to preserve and celebrate our western heritage, cultures and community spirit.

Cenovus donation of $1.5 Million helps create new city park

On July 4th, 2012, Cenovus Energy announce a $1.5 million donation to the Calgary Stampede Foundation to create the Western Heritage Trail in the Calgary Stampede’s new Riverfront Park. Western Heritage Trail will be part of a year-round public space on the east side of Stampede Park, winding along the eastern banks of the Elbow River and connecting to Calgary’s pathway system. The 310-metre trail is being designed as an open-air museum, highlighting Calgary’s history as part of Riverfront Park’s overall focus on western heritage and the environment. The trail will include interpretive signage and six culturally relevant sculptures. Two of the sculptures will welcome visitors at the 12th Avenue S.E. entrance, with four more along the five-metre wide trail to complete the learning experience. To read more go to:

Calgary Stampede Showband at the 2012 Tournament of Roses Parade

The Calgary Stampede Showband is officially known as Calgary's musical ambassador to the world, but it could also be called the hardest working band in the business. The band starts 2012 by marching in the Pasadena Tournament of Roses Parade, this is the first of more than 400 appearances planned for the coming year.

Video courtesy of Music213 Youtube Channel