You don’t have to know who Hidy and Howdy are to appreciate the legacy of Calgary’s 1988 XV Winter Olympic Games. Thirty-five years later, it may surprise you to know that three of the four most enduring sites are listed on our city’s Inventory of Evaluated Historic Resources.

The games’ motto, “Coming Together in Calgary” with the five interlocking Olympic rings, are as relevant today as they were then. Anyone growing up in the post-Olympic era will appreciate the winter recreation opportunities that these world-class facilities continue to provide – from public skating to downhill and alpine sports and, of course, spectator events like hockey.

Honoring our Olympic heritage, goes well beyond nostalgia. It demonstrates how historic properties can and should continue to adapt to be relevant and useful to future generations, while sharing stories of the community spirit that made them happen.

By the way, Hidy and Howdy, the games’ first couple mascots, were named to represent the region’s hospitality by a citizens’ jury following a contest organized by Calgary Zoo that attracted almost 7,000 entries. Wearing western-style outfits, sibling polar bears, a symbol of Canada’s north, typified winter activity as they do not hibernate.

Calgary Olympic Plaza was the site of the Medal Presentation Ceremonies. The design included an amphitheatre surrounded on 3 sides by terraces with stairs, a fountain, flooding of the plaza for a reflective pool in summer and skating in winter, and a Legacy Wall for Olympic plaques. The Plaza was paved with 22,000 bricks inscribed with the names of donors to Olympic events. Today it remains a significant civic gathering place.

The Olympic Speed Skating Oval was designed in the modernist Expressionist architectural style. Constructed in 1985-87 on the University of Calgary Campus, it was the first fully enclosed facility to be built in North America. Its water purification system produces superior ice quality, resulting in over 150 world records. Today, it is the official training centre for the Canadian National Speed Skating team and Speed Skating Canada. It also has two ice hockey surfaces and indoor running tracks.

Construction of the Saddledome, the home of the Flames, began before the Olympics were awarded in 1981, adding credibility to Calgary’s bid for the games. With its iconic hyperbolic paraboloid roof form, it was the principal venue for ice hockey and figure skating competitions. The building is near the end of its safe and useful lifespan and will likely be replaced with a new arena and concert venue in the near future.

Canada Olympic Park on the former Paskapoo Ski Hill, was the primary venue for ski jumping, bobsleigh, and luge. Today it has evolved into WinSport, a comprehensive recreation, elite training, competition and event centre with arenas and summer mountain biking tracks.