British Columbia

4 cities hoping to host 2020 curling Brier offer pre-sales to gauge community support

The stakes are an estimated economic impact of up to $15 million and 130,000 spectators.

Up to $15M in economic impact and 130K spectators on the line

Patti Knezevic, who has represented B.C. at previous national women's curling championships, CN Centre manager and Prince George Brier 2020 Bid Chair Glen Mikkelsen, and Mayor Lyn Hall at the announcement Prince George is launching a bid to host the 2020 Tim Hortons Brier. (City of Prince George)

As the competition for the 2018 Tim Hortons Brier men's curling championship comes to an end this weekend in Regina, four Canadian cities are competing for another prize: the privilege of hosting the competition in 2020.

The stakes are an estimated economic impact of up to $15 million and 130,000 spectators. 

In the running so far are four cities pre-selling tickets to prove they deserve to host one of the world's premier curling championships.

Prince George: The B.C. bid

So far, the city with the most pre-sales — of the three cities revealing their totals — is Prince George, B.C., which is halfway to meeting its goal of selling 2,020 tickets for $20.20 each.

"We want to … see what kind of response this community and this region has to bring perhaps one of Canada's most celebrated winter events into Prince George," said Glenn Mikkelsen, general manager of the CN Centre, which is leading the bid.

The city's pitch is centred around community enthusiasm and a proven ability to host national events after the 2015 Canada Winter Games and two Scotties Tournament of Hearts women's national curling championships, held in 1983 and 2000. 

Kingston: Curling history

Kingston is home to the second oldest curling club in Canada. (Tourism Kingston)

Kingston, Ont. has hosted the Brier once before, in 1957. It is also home to the second-oldest curling club in Canada, the Royal Kingston Curling Club, established in 1820.

All this history showcases the city's deep curling culture, said Michael Beleza of Tourism Kingston.

Kingston set its pre-sale price at $50 after consulting with Curling Canada — which chooses the host city — and so far has sold more than 25 per cent of its goal of 2,020 tickets.

St. Catharines: Ready to party

St. Catharines, Ont. is not yet certain it will submit a bid, but is ready to party after hosting the 2017 Scotties, said Doug Geddie, chair of the local bid committee.

St. Catharines has sold about 300 pre-sale tickets, with a goal of selling 1,000 by the time it submits its bid. 

Rachel Homan of Ontario celebrates victory with teammate Emma Miskew during the 2017 Scotties Tournament of Hearts in St. Catharines, Ont. (Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)

The city is asking for only $10 per pre-sale, a decision made after seeing how higher prices were affecting sales in other cities, Geddie said.

​"I was looking at the other communities [such] as Kingston, [which] was at $50 and was struggling, and I saw Prince George came in at $20.20, which I thought was pretty cute."

Geddie hopes the lower price will boost sales before the April 30 deadline to submit a letter of intent. He also wants to showcase the new downtown Meridian Centre, which opened in 2014.

Moncton: Cards close to the chest

Jacques Robichaud, president of Curl Moncton, is keeping his cards close to his chest. The committee has set a pre-sale price of $50, but Robichaud won't reveal how many pre-sale tickets have been sold.

Moncton lost the bid for the 2019 Brier to Brandon, Man., but Robichaud says the disappointment was short-lived.

"We said, 'OK, we didn't get it. What's it going to take to come back with a better bid for next year?' — If we do decide to go ahead with it."

Jacques Robichaud of Curl Moncton says his disappointment didn't last after losing the bid to host the 2019 Brier. (Pierre Fournier/CBC)

Moncton has a new multi-event centre slated to open this summer that will add 3,000 seats to its previous capacity of 7,200.

Curling Canada to decide

Curling Canada spokesperson Al Cameron says that although many factors go into selecting a host city, pre-selling tickets is a valuable indicator of community support.

"It sends a pretty powerful message, doesn't it?" he said. "I mean it's hard to ignore those kinds of things."

Facilities, ability to host live entertainment, a large volunteer base and a proven ability to host national events will also be taken into account.


Audrey McKinnon

Freelance contributor

Audrey McKinnon is a former host and reporter at CBC Radio. She lives in Prince George, B.C. where she works as a writer and artist.