BMO Helps Families Take in the Calgary Stampede on a Budget!

The Calgary Stampede has been coined ‘The greatest outdoor show on Earth’, and it all starts July 7th, 2017. Since it’s Canada150 and the focus this year is on celebrations in a big way, I’m sure this year will be the GREATEST outdoor show for the Calgary Stampede yet.

For those of you attending, chances are you’re going to have your kids in tow, so I’m sure your first thought is how much is this going to cost? I’ll also be bringing the whole family so I’ve teamed up with BMO to give you a few tips on how to experience all that the Stampede has to offer without breaking the bank!

To celebrate BMO’s 200th anniversary, they will be bringing their bicentennial wish fountain to the Calgary Stampede! BMO is asking Canadians ‘if they could wish it forward for their friends, family or community what would they wish for?’ Located inside the BMO Centre – families will be able to toss their wish in the digital fountain directly from their mobile device. Throughout the year, BMO is going to be selecting a variety of wishes and actually making them come true.

I’ve been thinking about what our one wish would be, it’s hard to pick just one. Yet recently I became aware of a new initiative in our city – free community gardens! I love the idea of numerous and random green areas within the city where various fruits and vegetables are grown, and anyone can pick and enjoy. Not only great for the environment, having this access to fresh foods would be so much, and to so many. I’d love to see more free community gardens, not only in our city, yet I hope it’s a trend that grows (pun intended) across the nation.

If you like would to make a wish, visit the digital fountains in the BMO Centre throughout Stampede, or go to Once you’ve cast your wish, simply sign in through Twitter, Facebook or your email account to submit it (mom and dad – pull out your smart phone!)

NOW, back to business… how do you save money when taking the kids to the Calgary Stampede? I have some great tips for you!

Tip #1: Plan Ahead Packing – Before you take the kids to the Calgary Stampede, the first thing to do is check the weather and dress/pack accordingly. Comfortable footwear is a must, and think ‘compact’ when taking items which will be needed. While you could buy pretty much anything on the grounds, it’s important to keep your budget in mind. Yet this IS the Calgary Stampede after all, famous for cowboy hats and western wear. So, to outfit your Calgarian style, remember that BMO customers can receive a 15% discount at The Stampede Store, when you pay with your BMO debit or BMO Mastercard.

Tip #2: Parking – Any Albertan will tell you that parking in Calgary is very costly, in the past on-site parking is $25. So to save this expense, take the c-train or transit to the grounds.

Tip #3: Pack Snacks and Water – Purchased food and drinks add up substantially! Knock out those ‘little expenses’ that add up fast, by bringing a varying selection of your own snacks and a re-usable water bottle so you won’t have to buy these all day long. Make it a habit to fill your water bottle with every bathroom stop, to keep everyone hydrated. Set out to only buy your main meals on the grounds, and set limits ahead of time on how many of those special treats you’ll purchase or take home with you.

Keep in mind though, the Stampede is known for its incredible and unique on-site food, so you should plan to try a few of these! This includes the very popular pancake breakfast on BMO Kids’ Day, which I know will be a big hit with my girls – and it’s on the house! Check out the details below.

How to Take in the Calgary Stampede with Kids on a Budget Free Pancake Breakfast

Tip #4: Give the Kids a Set Amount of Spending Money – Toys, games and all the fun items in between makes any kid beg for it all! To save your sanity and your wallet {oy, it’s these things that really add up fast}, I suggest setting a spending limit ahead of time with your children and stick to it. I have in the past with success, ‘given’ each of my children a set amount of money – and whether they want to play games for prizes and/or buy a souvenir – that is their limit and once they spend it, that’s it. This gives them open options, yet also teaches them the value of a dollar.

Tip #5: Attend Calgary Stampede’s BMO Kids’ Day – BMO is a proud sponsor of the Calgary Stampede, so on Wednesday, July 12th there’s free admission for kids 12 & under with their parents before 9 a.m., and $2 admission for kids 12 & under the rest of the day. This is a great savings for the cost of admission! There will also be that complimentary pancake breakfast I mentioned from 8:00 a.m. – 9:30 a.m. (more savings for families!), and a complimentary Grandstand show that fosters recognition of western pride and heritage through family-friendly entertainment. Keep an eye out for the BMO Junior Reporters, the boy and girl contest winners who will be reporting on events and activities at the Stampede.

How to Take in the Calgary Stampede with Kids on a Budget

BMO Kids’ Day is an event that offers a lot of free/low cost perks, so this is THE day to go to get best bang for your buck if you’re only planning a one day trip!

How to Take in the Calgary Stampede with Kids on a Budget

Tip #6: Take Advantage of the Free Attractions

Families won’t want to miss the BMO Kids’ Zone, a free area with special events, located in BMO Plaza on the south side of BMO Centre. This zone is a complimentary area for families to enjoy a number of child-friendly activities, including character meet and greets and daily “Acro-Dunk” acrobatic slam dunk performances – which of course will save you money because it’s free!

Taking in the Calgary Stampede with kids while on a budget doesn’t at all mean you sacrifice on any of the fun. There are so many free events, concerts and attractions to take in. The family will have a great time attending The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth, without a strain on the finances. It’s your opportunity to spend time and not money!

And because I want to end with all the feels — watch the video below for one such wish that was recently granted by BMO.





Disclosure: This is a sponsored post, yet as always all opinions are my own.



  1. I would think the biggest cost would be accommodations…prob one of the main reasons I never go to those sort of things..I’m pretty sure the city has tons of cheap transportations to get there, so parking would not be a worry …and I’m sure there are some airbnb stuff out there as well, but for me that would be the biggest things

    1. Hotels in the immediate area can be pricy, yes – actually, downtown Calgary hotels are in general it seems. Yet we’ve always found hotels in our price range, which works well with the many options for transportation.

  2. I wish we were attending the Stampede this year! I love the idea of giving the kids a set amount to spend. It’s so easy to go overboard and this really teaches them about budgeting.

  3. Something so simple– the drinks & snacks– does add up so quickly! They aren’t cheap & when bringing the kids it’s really best to pack your own. I think letting them choose their main meal is a great idea as that’s already easily $15 per person so bringing stuff from home can really save some cash.

  4. Great tips! I wasn’t aware of the free/discounted kids admission. Setting limits and expectations ahead of time really makes the experience less expensive, and more pleasant for everyone.

  5. We haven’t been to the Stampede in many years. We should do that next year. We could take the grandkids. Great tips!

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