Two people look at a light up art installation in winter
Chinook Blast blows into town this February | Photo: Courtesy of Chinook Blast

Chinook Blast

Light up your winter with this festival taste tester

Amy Jo Espetveidt

  • Location Various Venues 
  • Price Free
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Launching a new festival during a global pandemic and a polar vortex might seem like an impossible task, but for more than 30 local programming partners, it’s a challenge that epitomizes the can-do Calgary spirit.

Chinook Blast is a brand-new midwinter round up of outdoor activities that offers a safe and fun way to warm up your winter schedule with your household cohort. Giving you a chance to explore works by local artists, 2021’s launch is a taste tester of sorts.

Faced with ever-changing public health restrictions, the programming committee switched gears from creating a festival or event atmosphere to developing a placemaking initiative. They have created a community walk-through winter space in Calgary’s downtown core, providing a safe opportunity to celebrate the best of their city.

And with that in mind, Chinook Blast’s programming is designed to not promote gathering—it’s an experience that is walkable, not stoppable.

Designed in consultation with Alberta Health Services, Chinook Blast is being launched with a variety of outdoor art, light, and cultural displays that will brighten up downtown Calgary from 3:00 to 9:00pm over three weekends.

These scaled-down offerings are expected to provide a taste of what you can expect in years to come.

You can find the Chinook Blast Hub between Fort Calgary and East Village, west to Municipal Plaza and Olympic Plaza, and continuing up Stephen Avenue and north up 3rd St. SW. In addition to the hub, you can check out a number of other partner sites including Chinatown, Kensington, East Village, Victoria Park, and Crescent Heights.

And, although the current cold snap might have shortened the first weekend, that won’t stop the fun. Due to the forecasted extreme cold weather for the next few days, the decision has been made to delay the start of Chinook Blast. It will now kick off on February 13 and 14, 2021.

Chinook Blast runs on weekends from February 13 to 28, 2021 throughout Calgary’s downtown core. Visit for up-to-date details.