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Callahan's passion for curling recognized by local Sports Hall

The North Bay Sports Hall of Fame has recognized Patti Callahan as winner of the John Toswell Award for Curling.

The North Bay Sports Hall of Fame is recognized Patti Callahan as winner of the John Toswell Award for Curling

Both volunteering and curling run in the family. Patti Callahan’s grandfather was a curler; her parents were curlers; and her siblings were curlers. Patti married a curler, and they taught their children to curl – all at the North Bay Granite Club.

Patti threw her first curling stone as a student-athlete at Chippewa Secondary School and ported her love for the game to McMaster University – where curling would serve to connect her with like people in an unexplored environment.

It wouldn’t be the last time Patti would lean on her attachment to the curling community to establish new connections in new places. When she returned to North Bay for Teachers’ College she became active with the Business Women’s League; and when Patti’s early teaching journey led her to Grande Cache, Alberta, then Marathon, Ontario, sure enough – there was a curling club where she would become involved as a volunteer in governance and coaching.

While in Alberta, Patti served as President of the Grande Cache Curling Club, then a Zone Representative for the Northwestern Ontario Ladies Curling Association, all the while exercising her truest passion as a coach with youth and school programs.

While there was a period when Patti spent less time on the ice to nurture her growing family and career, the luxury of new-found time in retirement has reignited Patti’s zeal for community engagement, and the Granite Club became a significant beneficiary.

In recent years, Patti applied her designation as a Level 2 coach to guide a U18 girls’ team to provincial playoffs and co-coached a U18 boys’ team to the 2019 National Championships.

In 2018 Patti acted as the Director of Ceremonies when Memorial Gardens played host to the World Women’s Curling Championship – the single largest tourism venture in North Bay’s history and the catalyst for scoring two Grand Slam of Curling bids in 2019 and 2022, for which Patti was Chair of Tickets.

Patti currently sits on the Senior Executive and Competitions Committee at the Granite Club, while also instructing in the club’s Adult Learn to Curl program and a Special Olympics school program. A maiden voyage to a national competition as an athlete will surely be the highlight of 2024 for Patti as she and her team represent Northern Ontario at the Canadian Masters Curling Championship in Saguenay, Quebec.

When asked why she does it all, Patti says it’s a simple matter of enjoyment. Among her favourite memories include bearing witness to the growth of young people as they learn new skills and surmount challenges that stretch them to higher levels of performance. That and all the great people one meets in curling.

And what next? Patti is optimistic about the future of curling in North Bay. She says that the Granite Club’s greatest asset has been its willingness to be innovative with new programs, technology and strategies that are engaging to new audiences. Patti believes that the legacy of major curling events will continue to benefit the community in diverse ways, not the least of which is to inspire the next generation to throw their first curling stone.

Patti will receive her award at the 43rd Annual Induction and Awards Dinner to be held at the Davedi Club on Saturday, April 27, 2024.

Tickets are available by calling Larry Tougas at 705- 303-8104, Trista Grant at 705-472-0009, the Davedi Club at 705-474-4190, or by contacting any Board Member.