Brier a boon to Edmonton businesses

The Tim Hortons Brier may be over for Alberta' s Kevin Martin, but the event has brought a lot of business to Edmonton.
Saskatchewan curling fan Burt Schwab enjoys the action at the Tim Hortons Brier in Edmonton on Friday. (Jonathan Hayward/Canadian Press)

The Tim Hortons Brier may be over for Alberta' s Kevin Martin, but it's been a boon for downtown businesses.

Teams and curling fans from across Canada are keeping things hopping in the city core. Downtown bars including Sherlock Holmes are welcoming thirsty fans.

"During the games theres a bit of a lull a lot of the time," manager Michael Vandermeer told CBC News. "But then as soon as it's over, you get the rush after … once all the games are over they usually stay all night."

Warren Hansen, director of the Canadian Curling Association, says Kevin Martin's loss likely had a dampening effect on attendance.

"Certainly, if Team Alberta were playing this weekend we would see walk-in numbers increase significantly," Hansen said.

"In the fall of 2007 we suffered a recession and as anyone in the live event business will tell you it's been a bit of struggle since then."

'Brier boost'

Hansen said he expected the final attendance figure would be between 180,000 and 200,000 fans.

That's still better than the 175,000 who turned out last year in Saskatoon, but well below Edmonton's record-setting 2005 Brier. That year more 281,000 people took in the curling tournament.