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IOC stands firm on financial contribution should Calgary win 2026 Olympic Games

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The International Olympic Committee won’t contribute more than the $1.2 billion already committed to Calgary if the city wins the bid for the 2026 Winter Games.

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley suggested earlier this week that if the IOC wants Calgary in the race for the 2026 Games, it could pony up extra cash to cover any financial gaps.

The IOC’s executive director of Olympic Games pointed out the $1.2 billion in cash and services is more than the $700 million the province is willing to spend on Calgary hosting the Games.

« The IOC has committed $925 million US, which equates to $1.2 billion (Cdn) at the current rate, » Christophe Dubi said.

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley suggested earlier this week that if the IOC wants Calgary in the race for the 2026 Games, it could pony up extra cash to cover any financial gaps. (CBC)

« This is what we can commit at this point in time, which is a substantial contribution when you compare to the local authorities and their commitment at this stage. »

IOC in Calgary for meetings before November plebiscite

Dubi was in Calgary meeting with business leaders, politicians, Treaty 7 First Nations representatives and media ahead of a Nov. 13 plebiscite.

Calgarians will be asked to vote on whether they want the Games a second time after hosting the 1988 Winter Olympics with Canmore, Alta.

The plebiscite’s result is non-binding on city council, which could pull the plug on a bid at any time.

The IOC has invited Calgary, Stockholm and a joint Italian bid from Milan and Cortina d’Ampezzo to be candidates for 2026. The IOC will accept bids in January followed by the election of the host city in June.

Of the estimated $5.2 billion that the Calgary 2026 bid corporation estimates it would cost to host the Games, the city, province and Canadian government have been asked for a combined public investment of $3 billion.

While the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver and Whistler, B.C., cost roughly $4 billion to run, the B.C. government’s spending on a rail line to the airport and a convention centre completed in time for those Games brought the total to $7.7 billion.

‘This will be the Canadian Games’

Calgary 2026 chief executive officer Mary Moran says since these would also be Canada’s Games, Calgarians have been entrusted with making a decision on behalf of the country.

« Calgarians get to make the decision for Canadians, » she said. « This will be the Canadian Games. We saw it in Vancouver, we saw it in ’88. It is a great nation-building exercise. »

Balloons are released during the opening ceremony of the Calgary Olympic Winter Games in February 1988. An upcoming plebiscite on Nov. 13 will help determine whether Calgary bids for the Games in 2026. (File/Getty Images)

The province has stated what it will contribute, but the city won’t declare its share until the Canadian government makes its number known.

Under its hosting policy for international sporting events, the feds will contribute « up to » half the public investment, which would be a maximum of $1.5 billion in this case.

Games would inject $4.4B into economy: Moran

Moran acknowledged Calgarians need to know how the taxpayer pie will be split before the vote, but emphasized hosting the 2026 Games would pump $4.4 billion into the local economy.

« Yes, we are waiting for one piece of information, which is how much will be split between the federal government and the City of Calgary, » she said. « That’s the only piece of missing information.

« It is really important for Calgarians to understand it is a minimum of $4.4 billion coming into this community to do something great. Not just something great for the 50 days of the Games, but for our long-term future. »

A plebiscite in Switzerland killed a potential bid from the Sion region.

« We shouldn’t be concerned about referendums. Democracy is healthy, » Dubi said. « Results are immensely important. We want a positive result. »

The 1988 venues still used for domestic and international competition and training are the foundation of a potential second bid.

Mary Moran, shown after being named CEO of the Calgary 2026 Olympic in July. On Wednesday, she emphasized that hosting the 2026 Games would pump $4.4 billion into the local economy. (Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press)

Calgary 2026 says upgrading them to Games readiness again would cost $502 million.

The two new sports venues proposed are a fieldhouse and a 5,000-seat arena for a combined cost of $403 million.

An athletes’ village proposed near the downtown core would be turned into housing post-Games.

Calgary 2026 says it has built $1.1 billion in operating and capital contingency funds into its budget to mitigate risk.

Calgary won’t have any cost over-runs, Dubi says

Dubi said the two biggest misconceptions in Calgary surrounding a 2026 bid are risk and cost over-runs.

« Here, you have it all, » Dubi said. « You have the expertise, you have the experience, you have regular hosting and you have the venues.

« You have a team that’s been extremely detailed in its work and that gives you safety about the cost because the numbers they (have) right now are not made up.

« There aren’t going to be any cost over-runs here, I can tell you. »

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Anglais

Nostalgia and much more with Starburst XXXtreme

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Get a taste of adventure with Starburst XXXtreme based on the legendary NetEnt Game. The nostalgic themes are sure to capture fans of the classic version as they get treated to higher intensity, better visuals, and features. The most significant element of the game is its volatility. Patience will not be an essential virtue considering the insane gameplay, and there is a lot of win potential involved. It retains the original makeup of the previous game while adding a healthy dose of adrenaline. 

Starburst Visuals and Symbols

The game is definitely more conspicuous than before. The setting happens over a 5-reel, 3-row game grid with nine fixed win lines, which function if a succession from the left to the right reel is present. Only those players that that attain the highest win per bet line are paid. From a visual standpoint, the Starburst XXXtreme slots illustrates lightning effects behind the reels, which is not surprising as it is inherited from the original version. Available themes include Classic, Jewels, and Space. The game is also available in both desktop and mobile versions, which is advantageous for players considering the global pandemic. According to Techguide, American gamers are increasingly having more engaging gaming experiences to socialize to fill the gap of in-person interaction. Starburst XXXtreme allows them to fill the social void at a time when there is so much time to be had indoors. 

Starburst XXXTreme Features

Players get to alternate on three features which are Starburst Wilds, XXXtreme Spins, and Random Wilds. The first appears on reels 2,3, or 4. When these land, they expand to cover all positions while also calculating the wins. They are also locked for a respin. If a new one hits, it also becomes locked while awarding another respin. Starburst XXXtreme offers a choice between two scenarios for a higher stake. In one scenario with a ten times stake, the Starburst Wild is set on random on reels 2,3, or 4, and a multiplier starts the respin. The second scenario, which has a 95 times stake, starts with two guaranteed starburst wilds on reels 2,3, or 4. it also plays out using respin game sequence and features. The game also increases the potential with the Random Wilds feature to add Starburst Wilds to a vacant reel at the end of a spin. Every Starburst Wild gives a random multiplier with potential wins of x2, x3, x5, x10, x25, x50, x100, or even x150.

The new feature is sure to be a big hit with the gaming market as online gambling has shown significant growth during the lockdown. AdAge indicates the current casino customer base is an estimated one in five Americans, so Starburst XXXtreme’s additional features will achieve considerable popularity. 

What We Think About The Game

The gambling market has continued to diversify post-pandemic, so it is one of the most opportune times to release an online casino-based game. Thankfully Starburst XXXtreme features eye-catching visuals, including the jewels and space themes. These attract audience participation and make the gameplay inviting. The game also has a nostalgic edge. The previous NetEnt iteration featured similar visuals and gameplay, so the audience has some familiarity with it. The producers have revamped this version by tweaking the features to improve the volatility and engagement. 

That is characterized by the potential win cap of 200,000 times the bet. Starburst XXXtreme does not just give betting alternatives for players that want to go big. The increase of multipliers also provides a great experience. If the respins in the previous version were great, knowing that multipliers can go hundreds of times overtakes the game to a new level. 

Players should get excited about this offering. All of the features can be triggered within a single spin. Whether one plays the standard game or takes the XXXtreme spin route, it is possible to activate all of the features. Of course, the potential 200,000 times potential is a huge carrot. However, the bet size is probably going to be restricted and vary depending on the casino. It is also worth pointing out that a malfunction during the gameplay will void all of the payouts and progress. Overall, the game itself has been designed to provide a capped win of 200,000 times the original bet. 

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Anglais

‘We’re back’: Montreal festival promoters happy to return but looking to next year

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In downtown Montreal, it’s festival season.

In the city’s entertainment district, a musical act was conducting a sound check on stage Friday evening — the second day of the French-language version of the renowned Just For Laughs comedy festival. Tickets for many of the festival’s free outdoor shows — limited by COVID-19 regulations — were sold out.

Two blocks away, more than 100 people were watching an acoustic performance by the Isaac Neto Trio — part of the last weekend of the Festival International Nuits d’Afrique, a celebration of music from the African continent and the African diaspora.

With COVID-19 restrictions continuing to limit capacity, festival organizers say they’re glad to be back but looking forward to next year when they hope border restrictions and capacity limits won’t affect their plans.

Charles Décarie, Just For Laughs’ CEO and president, said this is a “transition year.”

“Even though we have major constraints from the public health group in Montreal, we’ve managed to design a festival that can navigate through those constraints,” Décarie said.

The French-language Juste pour rire festival began on July 15 and is followed by the English-language festival until July 31.

When planning began in February and March, Décarie said, organizers came up with a variety of scenarios for different crowd sizes, ranging from no spectators to 50 per cent of usual capacity.

“You’ve got to build scenarios,” he said. “You do have to plan a little bit more than usual because you have to have alternatives.”

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Anglais

MELS new major movie studio to be built in Montreal

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MONTREAL — MELS Studios will build a new film studio in Montreal, filling some of the gap in supply to meet the demand of Hollywood productions.

MELS president Martin Carrier said on Friday that MELS 4 studio construction will begin « as soon as possible », either in the fall or winter of next year. The studio could host productions as early as spring 2023.

The total investment for the project is $76 million, with the Quebec government contributing a $25 million loan. The project will create 110 jobs, according to the company.

The TVA Group subsidiary’s project will enable it to stand out « even more » internationally, according to Quebecor president and CEO Pierre Karl Péladeau. In the past, MELS Studios has hosted several major productions, including chapters of the X-Men franchise. The next Transformers movie is shooting this summer in Montreal.

Péladeau insisted that local cultural productions would also benefit from the new facility, adding that the studio ensures foreign revenues and to showcase talent and maintain an industry of Quebec producers.

STUDIO SHORTAGE

The film industry is cramped in Montreal.

According to a report published last May by the Bureau du cinéma et de la télévision du Québec (BCTQ), there is a shortage of nearly 400,000 square feet of studio space.

With the addition of MELS 4, which will be 160,000 square feet, the company is filling part of the gap.

Carrier admitted that he has had to turn down contracts because of the lack of space, representing missed opportunities of « tens of millions of dollars, not only for MELS, but also for the Quebec economy. »

« Montreal’s expertise is in high demand, » said Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante, who was present at the announcement.

She said she received great testimonials from « Netflix, Disney, HBO and company » during an economic mission to Los Angeles in 2019.

« What stands out is that they love Montreal because of its expertise, knowledge and beauty. We need more space, like MELS 4, » she said.

There is still not enough capacity in Quebec, acknowledged Minister of Finance, the Economy and Innovation Eric Girard.

« It is certain that the government is concerned about fairness and balance, so if other requests come in, we will study them with the same seriousness as we have studied this one, » he said.

Grandé Studios is the second-largest player in the industry. Last May, the company said it had expansion plans that should begin in 2022. Investissement Québec and Bell are minority shareholders in the company.

For its part, MELS will have 400,000 square feet of production space once MELS 4 is completed. The company employs 450 people in Quebec and offers a range of services including studio and equipment rentals, image and sound postproduction, visual effects and a virtual production platform.

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