Live in Toronto and want to try curling? Now is your chance

If you've always wanted to try curling, you've got a chance to do so in downtown Toronto.

Outdoor curling rinks now available for the public to use for free

Do you want to try outdoor curling? You've got your chance in Toronto this winter. (CBC)

If you've always wanted to try curling, you've got a chance to do so in downtown Toronto.

The Toronto Curling Association, along with the City of Toronto and the Ontario Curling Association, wants to give the public a chance to check out the sport.

They've arranged to open a half-dozen sheets of artificial ice to be used for curling — and for the equipment to be available for members of the public to use for free.

Three of those sheets were officially unveiled Sunday at the Harry Gairey rink, near Dundas Street West and Bathurst Street. The other three will be at the rink located at 370 The West Mall in Etobicoke.

Richard Hart was on hand for the launch of the outdoor curling rinks initiative. He won a silver medal in curling at the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan. (CBC)

Richard Hart, a curler who won a silver medal at the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan, said the current initiative is a great opportunity for non-curlers to check out the sport first-hand.

"This is an introduction to outdoor curling for people who have never tried curling, [but who] are interested in it," said Hart. "This environment, we're hoping, won't be intimidating in any way and it will be easy for people with a group of friends to come out and give curling a try."

One such rookie curler is Coun. Joe Cressy, who said that while he had curlers in his family, he had not tried the game himself until Sunday.

"It's fun, but it’s hard," said Cressy, upon trying curling for the first time.

Hugh Murphy, the president of the Toronto Curling Association, said his organization has 25 curling clubs around the city. But these outdoor rinks will let potential new curlers try the sport out closer to home.

"Today is a day to celebrate the accessibility of the game of curling," he said.

Murphy said that at the outdoor rinks, curling will be taking place between 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. each day of the week. There will also be curling time available from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m Monday through Thursday.

It's best to go online and book an on-ice session. That will ensure that a volunteer is on hand to give wannabe curlers access to the equipment and that the ice is not being used by someone else at that time.

Anyone with questions about the process can call the Toronto Curling Association at 416-657-2425.


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