Could Barrie host the Canadian Men’s Curling Championship in March of 2023?
Council approved a motion Monday that the city apply to host the Tim Hortons Brier, which would be held March 3-12, 2023, during a 10-day period .
City staff have been asked to report back to council by September’s end if the application is successful.
This matter was discussed in-camera, or behind closed (virtual) doors, at Monday’s meeting. The application motion was voted on and approved in public, however, with no discussion.
“Landing the Brier would be great for Barrie, partly in terms of drawing attention to our city but mostly because of the spinoff benefits for our hotels and restaurants, along with retailers, because of the number of people that it traditionally attracts,” said Deputy Mayor Barry Ward.
“After the rough time they have had over the past 18 months with the pandemic, it would give them something to look forward to,” he said. “As a bonus, local fans would get a chance to see Canada's top curlers in person without leaving home.”
Curling Canada says the Brier’s economic impact assessment varies, depending on location, but ranges from a minimum of $8 million to $15 million. Visitor expenditures, combined with the operational expenditures and revenues of the host committee, members of the media and others, contribute to a net increase in economic activity throughout the host community.
Statistical data from the Canadian Sport Tourism Alliance says hotel rooms booked by Curling Canada, not including fans and supporters, equal 2,250 room-nights.
If the city’s Brier bid is successful, it could affect plans for a larger Sadlon Arena.
In June, council approved a motion that city staff report back to councillors before completing and submitting a grant application for the Ontario Community Building Fund - Capital Stream to expand Sadlon Arena.
It would involve a three storey addition on the north side of the Bayview Drive facility, including a new grand entrance to the arena with additional multi-purpose/trade show space, ticket booths, concessions, a multi-use sports bar, additional office and retail space, possibly a new home for the Barrie Sports Hall of Fame, additional dressing rooms, player dining and lounge facilities, medical facilities, storage and meeting space, a media lounge and VIP lounge, a new sound system, an upgraded green room along with additional spectator seating to bring its total to about 5,000.
The capital cost estimate is $7-$9 million, although those numbers are a year old.
“I don't think it (getting the Brier) would have any effect on plans for expanding the Sadlon Arena,” Ward said.
The Brier has been held since 1927, traditionally during the month of March. Its winner represents Canada at the World Curling Championships of the same year.
The Tim Horton’s Brier is considered one of the truest Canadian sporting championships. Fifteen teams, representing each of Canada’s 14 member associations, as well as the defending champion Team Canada, compete for the Brier Tankard, a refurbished silver trophy.
Broadcast by The Sports Network (TSN), it offers national exposure for not only the curlers, but the host community.
Curling Canada is requesting expressions of interest for communities wanting to host the 2023 Brier.
“I think our chances of getting the Brier are good but we obviously have some stiff competition,” Ward said. “Similar-sized arenas and smaller cities have hosted the Brier in recent years.”
Curling Canada is the national sport governing body responsible for the development, promotion and organization of curling in this country.