Tourism Kingston landed their rock directly on Curling Canada’s button, securing the rights to host the 2020 Tim Hortons Brier.
The Brier, the biggest men’s curling event in Canada, will be held at the Leon’s Centre from Feb. 29 – Mar. 8, 2020, with the Brier Patch entertainment taking place just next door.
The October 2018 announcement of Kingston as host marked the conclusion of a year-long process to land the Brier. It also kicked off the real work: preparing for the event.
“It was a very competitive bid process and we were thrilled that our bid was successful,” says Brooke Leeson, Sport Tourism Development Manager at Tourism Kingston. “Since last fall, we’ve had thousands of ticket deposits and we have elevated Kingston’s reputation as a market for sporting events.”
Hosting the Brier is not only a big deal – it is also big business. The Brier is one of Canada’s largest sporting tournaments. Curling Canada’s numbers place the economic impact of the bonspiel as high as $15 million, as thousands of athletes, staff, volunteers, media members, and fans stream into the host city.
Being a good host also paves the way for future events. A strong reference from Curling Canada speaks volumes in the broader Canadian entertainment community, explains Tourism Kingston’s skip.
“Hosting an event like this will help us articulate to both national and international organizations that we can host an event of this calibre,” says Megan Knott, Executive Director of Tourism Kingston. “Executing an event like this successfully will grant access to other leading tourism opportunities. We hope for straight A’s – or perhaps even hearts – on our report card for this event.”
Kingston is already a top host city in Canada according to SportCal and the Canadian Sport Tourism Alliance – third in Ontario and twelfth nationally.
The ranking is based on the number of major sporting events relative to the population of the city. Kingston has also previously hosted the Scotties Tournament of Hearts, for top Canadian female curlers, in 2013.
The visit by Canada’s top male curlers will also coincide with a major local anniversary. The Royal Kingston Curling Club, Ontario’s oldest curling club, turns 200 years old in 2020.
“The curling community came together and decided it was time to put in a bid,” adds Leeson. “These events don’t happen without community support, and we have a real strong rink here in Kingston.”
Support for the bid came from Tourism Kingston, Kingston Accommodation Partners, Regional Tourism Organization 9, The City of Kingston, Downtown Kingston Business Improvement Area, The Greater Kingston & Area Curling Association, and the Government of Ontario.
Tickets are available now at curling.ca/2020brier.