North Bay wants to invite the world to the 2018 World Women's Curling Championship on home ice at the Gardens.
City Council made the announcement last night after going into a closed session. Now a final letter of intent must be submitted to Curling Canada by March 31 to make a bid to be the host city.
Councillors were all smiles with the global event promising an injection of $8 million into the community. The mayor came out of the in-camera meeting with thumbs up directed at Rick Miller and Dave Bennett sitting in the front row. They are the co-chairs of the 2018 World Women’s Curling Championship committee.
The city will make Memorial Gardens available for the global event and provide transportation between it and the Granite Club. North Bay‘s curling club will become the entertainment facility.
Rick Miller says they have experience in putting on a world-class event with the 2015 Great Canadian Mix held in November of 2014. “It was the most successful ever. It was our club putting it on and the players loved it."
Miller says they just don't pick anybody. "We’ve been lobbying since we did the Canadian Mix to bid a big event. We were anticipating in bidding a big one, so we took the Curling Canada executives as well as the internationally recognized icemaker that we brought in through the arena. We've been given the bid package which is the first step."
Miller explained that North Bay has certain advantages. “They like to move it west to east so eastern cities have an edge.
Another advantage is our location. Curling Canada is responsible for all the players, teams, dignitaries, and diplomats when they land on Canadian soil. All of the countries can fly into Pearson and get here.
It is a really big deal for North Bay with ticket sales expected to reach a million and a half dollars.”
The tournament is currently on in Swift Current, Saskatoon. Ticket packages go for about $360 dollars for the nine-day event. Next year, Beijing China hosts.
When the bid package is submitted by June 30, North Bay must guarantee that 800 hotel rooms are available in the city for the nine day period. Miller expects many hotel stays to extend over two weeks.
Memorial Gardens will be transformed from having hockey ice to four lanes of thinner curling sheets.
Miller says TSN produces vignettes of the host city to show on air during the Women’s World’s. “You can’t put a dollar number on that kind of exposure for the city.”
Local curling fans will be treated to seeing Olympian teams compete with it being held just three weeks after the Olympics.
Miller wants to pre-sell between 1,500 and 2,000 tickets. He expects about 1.000 tickets are sure to sell to people associated with the event.
We will find out which host city is awarded the 2018 World Women's Curling Championship at the end of summer on August 30.