Alberta’s newest Costco is first in North America to open on First Nations land

A new Costco location that opened Friday in Calgary is the only one in all of North America to sit on First Nations land.The new Costco is the first major tenant of The Shops at Buffalo Run mall on Buffalo Run Boulevard in the Tsuut’ina Nation.

The new wholesale warehouse measures 150,000 square feet and officials estimate it will serve some 40,000 members.

Additionally, Tsuut’ina Nation Chief Roy Whitney said at least 70 people from the First Nation were able to find jobs at the store.

“People are very excited to be working here and to see more development,” Whitney said. “It’s a nice warehouse. It is a beautiful facility inside.

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According to Whitney, the Tsuut’ina Nation has been in talks with Costco since the late 1990s.

“This is the start of a lot of other things to come… It’s a really exciting time,” he said.

Costco Wholesale Canada’s senior vice president for Western Canada echoed these sentiments, saying in a statement that the retailer is delighted to be working with the Tsuut’ina Nation.

“With the opening of our seventh warehouse in Calgary, including the surrounding area, we can offer southwest Calgary a more convenient shopping experience,” said David Skinner.

The opening of Costco was marked by the store’s usual opening ceremony, in addition to a traditional pipe ceremony.

Tsuut'ina chef Roy Whitney cuts a ribbon at the grand opening of the Southwest Calgary Costco located in the shops of Buffalo Run.

Tsuut’ina chef Roy Whitney cuts a ribbon at the grand opening of the Southwest Calgary Costco located in the shops of Buffalo Run.


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Buffalo Run Shops at Taza Exchange

The Buffalo Run stores, where the new Costco warehouse is located, are part of the First Nation’s Taza development, a new retail, office and tourism district.

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According to Taza’s website, the development spans 1,200 acres (the size of 910 football fields) and is one of the largest First Nations development projects in North America.

Taza is located directly adjacent to the southwest border of Calgary, the Municipal District of Foothills and the County of Rocky View.

The plan is to divide Taza into three villages: Taza Park, Taza Crossing and Taza Exchange. The new Costco is located within Taza Exchange.

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The vice president of development of Taza Development Corp. Bryce Starlight said that Costco’s opening Friday was just the start.

“We have a lot of development that we’re going to do in the next 20 to 30 years. Obviously this will be a long term development project, but we are looking at the arrival of some very exciting retailers in the country.

“There has been a lot of work in this development, from the Chief and Council passing laws to make business development possible and reasonable, to working with the elders, with the community members to make sure we seek long-term sustainability, best environmental practices, and the integration of the Nation’s culture and stories into development and into Costco itself.

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