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World curling championship breaks records in North Bay

Ford Women's World Curling Championship came to a close on March 25
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A new attendance record was set as of Friday, March 23 for the World Women's Curling Championship being held in North Bay.

"The new record is 70,000 and climbing," said Mark Brown, co-chair of the local organizing committee.

"The attendance record that we set was for the highest attendance at any World Women's Curling Championship held in Canada. That is a full event total."

The event, which wrapped up on March 25, is being hailed a success. So much so, local co-chair Rick Miller says there has been some conversation with the World Curling Federation to host more curling events in North Bay.

"They're very happy with everything we've done. Over the last three days we've had informal discussions with them. They're asking us – we're not asking them at this point, but they are suggesting – they would like us to host another event. They have suggested another world's but that's probably very difficult because of the time of year, but they've also suggested other Canadian events."

On the financial front, Miller says the committee has exceeded all its budgetary goals.

"Everything is paid for. Everybody's going to make some money on it. That's always the goal," said Miller.

"Curling Canada runs the event, we're just the hosts. We get 10 per cent of all the ticket sales, we get the 50/50, and some other minor revenue streams, and Curling Canada rents the facilities from us, and they get the rest of the profits, and they take all the risks."

Brown says the numbers are a reflection of the commitment made by the people of North Bay.

"The community is embracing this event. It has taken over the whole city and everybody is buying into it. The World Curling Federation was hesitant at first. They didn't really want to come to North Bay initially, because they thought it was too small. And now they realize the smaller communities embrace the event and will come out and support it," said Brown.

"Curling Canada is thrilled as well. They knew that we would do well in our community because we've held the National Mixed twice here, so they were familiar with our facilities, and when they came and saw the renovations to the Gardens, they knew we had the right facilities and they believe in the smaller communities hosting these events."

This is only the second time a curling event of this size has been held in Ontario, and the first time for an event of this size in Northern Ontario.

The championship was expected to inject millions of dollars into the economy and draw millions of viewers from the TV broadcast, bringing the city's profile to an international audience.