2023 Brier in London, Ont. will bring '$8M-$10M in economic impact': Tourism London
The road to economic pandemic recovery in London, Ont. received a "significant boost" Monday when Curling Canada announced the Tim Hortons Brier would return to the Forest City next year.
The event will be held at Budweiser Gardens from March 3-12, 2023.
"To be honest, we've been planning this since 2012," says Peter Inch, one of three vice-chairs for the host committee.
That was just one year after the last time the City of London hosted Canada's premier curling event.
In 2011, the then-named John Labatt Centre saw more than 110,000 fans attend the Brier, which was won by Manitoba's Jeff Stoughton.
With hotel tax fund help from Tourism London, London's host committee was able to win the bid. The economic spinoff will be just what the city needs on the road to pandemic recovery.
"It's been significant what this pandemic has caused," says Zanth Jarvis, director of sport tourism at Tourism London.
"Just alone for the participants and Curling Canada, that's 2,200 hotel rooms right there. We're looking at a projected economic impact between $8 to $10 million. It's a significant boost, but this one event won't be all of the recovery as it's going to take a while."
However Jarvis calls this a step in the right direction.
"Today's announcement comes absolutely the right time," says London Mayor Ed Holder. "We need things to look forward to, and reasons to celebrate and hosting the 2023 Brier checks all those boxes."
London and the surrounding curling clubs are no strangers to hosting major events.
Budweiser Gardens hosted the Brier in 2011 and the 2006 Scotties Tournament of Hearts.
It will be the third time the Canadian men’s championship has been contested in London; the 1974 Macdonald Brier, won by Alberta’s Hec Gervais, was played at the old London Gardens.
London’s history with major curling events is a rich one; the city has hosted highly successful editions of the Continental Cup of Curling in 2020 and 2018, as well as the 1981 World Men’s Championship.
"London is a fabulous city and they knock it out of the park every time they host a sporting event," says Katherine Henderson, CEO of Curling Canada.
"We partnered with them before. They've proven to us over and over again that they know how to do this and they know how to do it really well. These are always difficult decisions, but just going back to London and knowing the success that they've had in the past made this a much easier decision."
Inch called it a "long process" to get back to this point.
"The Continental Cups were a couple of what I call steps that we had to take before we felt confident of putting that bid forward again," says Inch.
London has a big volunteer base, and that helped in the bidding process.
"We always think the volunteers come from our curling clubs, but in London, our volunteers come from the community," says Inch.
"It's not just from the curling club and we saw that. We're very confident that we can provide a outstanding event with volunteers and knock it out of the park like we always do."
Information on how to volunteer and how to get tickets will be coming soon.
The event is 14 months away, but the hope is that the pandemic will be over, and this can be a traditional Brier with large crowds and parties around the city.
"We always take advice from public health and we always play the game as safely as we possibly can," says Henderson."At this point with Canada's commitment to public health or vaccine rates we are quite confident that coming to London, we're going to have a really terrific time."
The fan zone known as the 'Brier Patch' will be held at RBC Place London.
Henderson finished by saying "we want to be partying in that patch together."
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