North Bay’s Memorial Gardens will be transformed into a world-class curling venue again next fall as organizers announced that the city will take on a Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling event Oct. 22, 2019.
Mark Brown, the event chair, said no bid process took place. In fact, the request was made to him by officials at Sportsnet who organize the national TV event, to see if the city would want to host an event of this magnitude.
Brown was one of the key organizers for the Ford World Women’s World Curling event that broke attendance records last March.
When the figures from the event had been tallied, the City of North Bay determined the event had given the city a $7.3-million boost.
In evaluating the economic impact, the Canadian Sport Tourism Alliance looked at how much out-of-town attendees spent while at the event, how much organizers invested to put on the event, and the capital construction costs directly attributed to the event.
For its success in hosting the event, the organizing committee was recognized with a Northern Ontario Business Award in 2018.
Brown said Jennifer Jones, whose team won gold on North Bay ice at that event, played a key role in recommending North Bay as a spot for one of the seven grand slam events next season.
“Sportsnet told us that Jennifer Jones went to them to talk about the event in North Bay and the fact they had to get a Grand Slam event here in North Bay,” said Brown after a Jan. 14 press event to announce the news.
“She considers North Bay to be the centre of the curling world.”
Brown was surprised that an event of this calibre would want to come to North Bay.
“We were focussing on another event that we may still pursue in the future,” said Brown.
“We never really had it in our sights to have a grand slam event.”
Brown said the Ford Worlds inspired the community as a whole and he hopes this event does, too.
“When we saw the support of the citizens of North Bay coming out to watch that event, when we saw the financial support we received from the business community, it definitely inspired us to take on this no question,” said Brown.
The event will bring in the top 15 men’s and top 15 women’s teams to North Bay Oct. 22-27, 2019.
Ticket information about the event will be released in late February.
The original version of this story first appeared on BayToday.ca.