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Legendary Stampede party left in the dust

Jim Kinnear

Peter Power/Peter Power/THE GLOBE AND MAIL

Calgary's legendary house party is no more.

Oilman Jim Kinnear has called off his annual Stampede party this year. The days of petting zoos for kids and live music with an open bar for adults in Mr. Kinnear's front and back yards are over. Mr. Kinnear, who lives in Calgary's fancy Mount Royal neighbourhood and has hosted an annual shindig for 30 years, sent out an email Wednesday announcing the end of his popular bash. You're going to have to go elsewhere to pose for pictures on "Fred the Bull" – a real (dead and now stuffed) bull.

"After thoughtful consideration, it has been decided that Kinnear Financial Limited will not be hosting our traditional party this year," the note distributed to past attendees said. "Rather, building on 30 years of fun, family and entertainment, we will instead transition our community building efforts into our ongoing support of the Kinnear Centre for Creativity & Innovation at the Banff Centre."

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Many of Calgary's Stampede parties were toned down, or cancelled all together, when the recession hit and oil prices plummeted a few years ago. Numerous companies have since opted to direct cash toward charities instead, while others ask party guests to make a charitable donation.

Mr. Kinnear, Pengrowth Energy's founder, in the email asked former party-goers to become a "Platinum Club member" of the Kinnear Centre. Corporate memberships cost $10,000 for three years, unless you look at the other brochure attached to the notification, where corporate memberships go for $10,000 for two years. Individual memberships are also available. In exchange for your cash, you'll get invites to hear speakers, luncheons, concerts and other events; a commemorative book; and discount rental rates. But this isn't about your benefits. This is about the community. "Your membership fee will be directed towards the fundraising efforts of the Kinnear Centre, so the team at The Banff Centre can continue to provide talented individuals the programming, resources and inspiration they need to make extraordinary contributions to their practice and their communities," the brochure said.

Zero to 10 grand – that's a steep jump as far as charitable Stampede donations go.

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About the Author

Carrie Tait joined the Globe in January, 2011, mainly reporting on energy from the Calgary bureau. Previously, she spent six years working for the National Post in both Calgary and Toronto. She has a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Western Ontario and a bachelor’s degree in political studies from the University of Saskatchewan. More

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