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Curling – English Language Lexicon

February 28th, 2017
Uncategorized

The sport is healthy when it enters the English language lexicon as a descriptor.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/nova-scotia/curling-parents-paralyzing-students-1.3461844

Substituting “curling” for “helicopter” to describe the way parents sweep up their children’s errors may seem like derogatory terminology. But the mere fact that Canadians would understand and relate to the use of the sport’s name indicates that the sport itself is becoming more broadly recognizable.

There are upwards of 800,000 Canadians who participate in the sport. But there is increasing viewership of televised and streamed events. Last year, over 5 million watched any or all of the Brier Championships. “.. every once in a while, something happens that illustrates just how big curling is in Canada. One of those came Saturday night, when the Tim Hortons Brier semifinal drew (curling reference intended) an average of 896,000 viewers to TSN. That wasn’t a record, but what made it stand out was the fact that more people watched curling that night than watched the Toronto Maple Leafs on Hockey Night In Canada — a lot more.”

IMG_00003041

Curling Fallback

February 23rd, 2016
Uncategorized

Corn broomAll this ‘broomgate’ has taken us back to our roots with Smithsonian now as the experts on the roaring sport. Our Bikini Curler, by Atlas Brush Ltd. came with an instruction manual authored by Ken Watson. Its round shape (patent pending), …”is the choice of Top Curlers throughout Canada”. “A nylon cord six inches from the bottom (concealed by the skirt) supplies the built-in ‘Spring-Steel whip’ – and a pleasing ice slap.”

Does that now become unauthorized under current rules, since it is an insert?  If so, I have a guarantee from Atlas Brush Ltd., Winnipeg and I’m going to return it for a refund.

And more information regarding a lawsuit from https://scc-csc.lexum.com/scc-csc/scc-csc/en/item/4714/index.do

In 1955, one F.M. developed a new type of curling broom. In March 1958, a patent was issued to the inventor and was assigned to the plaintiff in January 1959. The latter, in March 1962, petitioned for a reissue of its patent, stating that it was deemed defective because of insufficient description or specification and because, in certain respects, the inventor had claimed more and, in others, less than he had the right to claim as new. On January 1963, a reissue patent was issued to the plaintiff pursuant to s. 50 of the Patent Act, R.S.C. 1952, c. 203.

The plaintiff sued the defendant in respect of alleged infringement of these patents and sought a declaration that, as between the parties, the original patent was valid up to the date of the reissuance and that the latter was a valid patent. The defendant counterclaimed for a declaration that both patents were invalid. The action was dismissed by the trial judge and the declaration of invalidity was granted. The trial judge held that the broom in question was the embodiment of an invention of which F.M. was the inventor, but that the inventiveness was neither disclosed nor claimed in the original surrendered patent.

NOW, WHERE DO WE STAND ON CORN BROOMS?

Curling Business – Expense Side

November 14th, 2015
Curling, Uncategorized

A new curling world awaits those that spend with profit in mind.

“But why would we paint the lounge? That costs money we can use for other things. We’ll get the volunteer maintenance committee to wash the walls.” ….heard at a curling club board of directors meeting.

The unspoken issue in this scenario is that the curling club has not been socking away that capital fund that should have enough to cover that catastrophic eventuality – ice plant replacement. Within 20 years, your club will have to spend at least $150,000 to replace part of that plant and $350,000 within 30 years for wholesale replacement. And yet, clubs continue to apply duct tape to extend the lifeblood of a curling facility to up to 50 years. That scenario of a paint job would cost less than $500, retain members, attract new clients, yet clubs struggle to make the decision to spend.

A volunteer executive does not think like a business board. They do not relate expenditure as an investment. For every expense there must be a compensatory return. So think about the following question:

What will our next expenditure gain for our facility or club? Your decision should be based on both member retention and new client acquisition. Here are a few examples:

  1. Purchase new ice making equipment – This will become your number one priority in the future. Consider it annually. Without the plant, the curling club is simply a rentable void. This one expense is the reason to charge $50 annually (in addition to membership dues) to each player. Do not wait until September to find out you need a chiller. Member Retention.1003923_10151831490014709_339560760_n
  2. Design and build an industrial kitchen or plan for a caterer in a servery – This is a business planning exercise that should be reviewed every five years. Ask yourselves, are we in the business of food provision from which we can profit, or are our members/clients better served by a caterer? The caterer knows the food business and the club can charge rent to the caterer. The more meals served, the greater the rent that can be charged. Member Retention/New Clients.
  3. Services from business planner – This is an intangible expense that few clubs will consider. But it could derive the most benefit of any other cost item. The business plan could be prepared by a member, who would benefit from exposure to the club if he/she did it pro bono. But, it would be better accomplished by an independent planner who has no emotional attachment to the facility or members – objectivity. Member Retention/New Clients
  4. IMG_6578Update your interior at least each decade – Many facilities are caught in an era. Shopping malls require that their tenants overhaul their interiors every 7 years… for a reason. They want the changing clientele to shop. No one wants to go to a tired or dated store. Similarly, new curling clients want up-to-date facilities. By now, every curling facility lounge should have Wi-Fi. Brown panelling (1970’s vintage) should have been replaced or integrated into an attractive theme about the ‘70’s. Budget $30,000 each decade. If you have 300 members, then $10 of their fee should be earmarked for general updating improvements. Member Retention/New Clients
  5. TCSCC-130[1]Create an athletic club – Invest in a fitness facility or fitness equipment and use it to charge a premium or it could be an independent cross-marketing business. Curling is a sport. Appealing to the weekend warrior is now vogue. Fit members live and curl longer. Member Retention/New Clients.
  6. Marketing – The previous five examples are primarily meant to retain client members. Marketing expenses should be directed toward replacing the expected 10% attrition that clubs experience. Define your market by starting with the demographics of your municipality. Your club should reflect that demography. Your business planner should be able to define how to market, when to spend on marketing and where you get the biggest bang. New Clients

The expense side of the ledger should be considered an opportunity for curling in your community. If your stomach turns by the addition of $50 on annual fees, then relate the cost to going out to dinner once a year with a bottle of wine. For every expense there should be a positive impact. Whether it is to retain existing members or derive new clients – spend wisely. Enjoy the rest of the curling season, open your wallets and make the sport of curling part of your municipality’s culture.

 

Kleinburg’s Peak Traffic

April 24th, 2015
Healthy Communities, Pedestrianization, Transportation issues, Uncategorized, Urban Design, Urban Places to Delight

Out for a walk in the morning.  We entered the serenity of the Humber Valley, like a typical jaunt for fitness.  Despite rapid pace our vistas included a wild turkey scrambling for cover and a coven of turkey vultures high in the spruce.  Little did we expect the parallels to Peak Traffic of urban Kleinburg that we encountered.

IMG_00003295 IMG_00003296

We emerged into the once quiet centre of Kleinburg.  It is only about a block in length.  This was an immense contrast to the idyllic Humber Valley trail.  Cars backed up on Islington Avenue. And as they did, non-vigilant vehicles scurried like that wild turkey, leaving a short-lived gap as it found an escape route off the main road.  Around the bend on Nashville Road, cars lurked at the intersection, waiting to pounce, like the vultures we saw, into the line that had formed on Islington.

Why this story?  Kleinburg Area Ratepayers Association have regularly on their agendas an incessant discussion of traffic. How can it be cured.  For the most part, the group has interim solutions – left turn restrictions upstream, parking solutions and studies offered by York Region.  With every new development, the talk turns to the traffic it will generate.

But Kleinburg has already reached Peak Traffic.  And, heretically I say, that is good.  Sure there is capacity at 10:30am and 1pm and 11pm, but no more commuter and school-generated traffic can be accommodated.  Although a traffic consultant will try to understand the commuter traffic, Kleinburg’s unique situation is exacerbated by helicopter parents. I love Brent Toderian’s repeated graphic that says: “There is too much for Billy to walk to school. So we drive him.” He goes on to explain that this is Induced Traffic.  When one strips away Induced Traffic, peak traffic in Kleinburg changes, but does not reduce.  If our doting mothers suddenly changed into parents concerned with healthy (walking/cycling children) living, traffic would be reduced at 8:30am and 3pm. At least for the short term. We can analyze it easily.  On a given PD day, the traffic is “lighter”. and the line-ups of cars shown in the picture above are lessened.  But lets say for instance, if every day was a PD day.  The phenomenon that would occur will revert to the cloister of cars once again.  The voids will be filled by those that used to take alternatives.

Unlike my article about resolving Vaughan’s traffic problems in http://yorkurbanist.com/2015/04/18/vaughan-traffic-congestion-a-perception/ , Kleinburg could not create a complete street in its core.  But what it could do is to create an Integrated street.  An integrated street is one in which the modes of transportation, vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists, mix without signage explaining the concept.  The concept is that cyclists and pedestrians have the right-of-way. By doing that, vehicles are forced into slowing.  IMG_00000022 INTEGRATED-STREET-CORNERYes, there will be a speed sign at the entries to the village, but because the street and sidewalk fabric are all integrated, there is no restriction to any mode, nor parking.  HERESY, you say.  But it has worked in Europe and specialty villages of the USA.

Create a slower street and the Peak Traffic will be reduced, leaving only those vehicles whose drivers intend to use Kleinburg as a destination. Emergency vehicles are accommodated. Deliveries can occur. Cycling and walking is encouraged. Business will thrive.  It just takes a leap of faith.

Player’s Championship

April 7th, 2015
Curling, Uncategorized

Will the Grand Slam become the essence of curling in Canada?

The numbers are down for the Brier and Scotties in venues that once filled the rafters. This year, the McEwen team, considered the best in the world, was a no-show at the Brier. The experiment with this year’s Brier – relegation (The “Prior”) and Team Canada(?) – did not flop entirely, but it sure made a curling nation restless. A poor Nova Scotia showing perhaps has Haligonians staying away in droves from their World Championships.

Teams talk of the four year cycle. It has nothing to do with curling’s national events. It has to do with over-the-top Olympic fever. Watch for changes there, too. There are fewer cities willing to fund the extravaganza of sport.

But the Grand Slams have taken on a new flavour! They have expanded this year and television has grabbed hold. They ensure that the best curling is portrayed every time the ice is pebbled. What team does not want to get an invitation? Flag waving often takes place, international teams attend and the money is growing. The live audience needs to grow, but that will come with time. Put the events in appropriate size arenas and demand will lift seat prices. And we are guaranteed to see the best curlers, including Team McEwen. Moose Jaw arena 2015 Scotties

The future of the curling elite game is with the Grand Slam format.

Green Hero

March 10th, 2015
Uncategorized
Islington Ave ceremony

Islington Avenue Pilot Project Opening Ceremony

Main Street bike lanes

Bike Lanes on Main Street

Bike on Don Valley Trail bridge

Mark Inglis cycling Don Valley Trail

bridge with rail

St. Thomas Elevated Park image

25 Main front yard

25 Main Street Front Yard Landscape

GTA West Corridor – Replacing lost Cycle Routes

March 10th, 2015
Uncategorized

vaughan ped and cycling MP snip

In addition to the previous post, The GTA West Corridor Study principles miss a critical impact to recreation. The Pedestrian and Cycling Master Plan for the City of Vaughan proposes four significant cycling routes through the corridor study area.

Teston Road has been identified as a paved shoulder for cycling.  Kirby Road is a cycle route. King Vaughan Line includes a signed cycling route and across the middle, along the Gas Pipeline corridor, a multi-use trail is proposed. 

So what happens to those accesses….. at the very least, the ministry should understand the significance of recreation and potential for alternative active transportation to relieve the congestion that future Highway 413 exacerbates.  Yes, the highway exacerbates congestion by encouraging suburban development instead of allowing for intensification.

The other north south access route along the Humber River between Bolton and Kleinburg has been identified by the GTA West Corridor study, but no concrete design principles have been identified. This study should at very least put money into the proposed cycle routes or create a parallel multi-use trail within the highway and transitway corridor.  Currently, there is no east to west access across Vaughan. Miss this opportunity and Vaughan becomes impassable by any mode but a motorized vehicle.

BRIER CHAMPIONSHIPS – ALTERNATIVE FORMAT

February 3rd, 2015
Curling, Uncategorized

As an avid fan of the Brier, it is sad to see the controversy surrounding the changes made by Canadian Curling AXsociation.  If you follow Eastern Canada journalism in 2015, you will find a concern that one of Adam Casey (PEI) or (former Brier Champion from NS) Mark Dacey will not be in the Brier this year because of relegation (assuming they make it through the province). Accordingly, here is a solution for which no charge will be billed to CCA:

BRIER TEAMS

BRIER ROUND ROBIN FORMAT

This simple change to format would give all teams a minimum of 7 games to prove their worth during the round robin.  As for the championship round, six teams would emerge with the top teams getting a bye to the semi-final. (Click on the image to enlarge and remove fuzziness)

  BRIER CHAMPIONSHIP ROUND

Not including tiebreakers, the winning team will play at least 9 games. No one will deny the depth of curling in Alberta to warrant two teams from that province. Yes, there is a potential national audience killer – if either only Ontario or Alberta  teams end up in the final. But it happens in baseball and football, so what?

Add to this, there is money in a Scotties or a Brier, provincial or national. See http://yorkurbanist.com/2015/01/29/2015-ontario-scotties-as-economic-generator/

2015 will be a telling year. It will tell CCA:

  • No province or territory wants relegation: we are better than that;
  • Audiences will be lost. Translation: fewer curlers in potential growth jurisdictions;
  • Grand Slams could take over as events for national attention.  The Brier is already losing its shine and its attendance. Grand Slam events are televised and have gained TV and live streaming audiences;
  • Calgary fans/attendees will be their usual full-house if there is an Albertan team in the final.  If not, then revenues will not meet plan, likening to the financial fiasco in Kamloops in 2014.
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    Kamloops Brier 2014 – Note crowd in the stands

SOMETHING SPECIAL HAPPENED IN PENETANG

January 25th, 2015
Uncategorized

Katrina Collins received the OCA sportsmanship award voted by all the players. A richly deserved honour garnered an unexpectedly emotional reaction before the final round robin game. Perhaps it had an impact on the game which followed, the only loss for Team Hastings. Youngest teams Romain and Kee made statements that there is a new generation biting at the heels of the established Teams Middaugh and Hastings.

Penetang CC could not have been more obliging in their hospitality. The players were treated like royalty. Stories abound about the drivers who stopped at nothing to help these athletes. They stayed past 3am on Saturday morning to escort home the weary party-goers. The athletes loved the one-man band, and the treats in the locker rooms (we outsiders should not know about). The locker rooms, although tight became a place of refuge from the crowds of fans one storey up.

OCA listens – An open meeting allowed the curling fraternity to have a say in how competitions can be enhanced. The women of the sport want to see a larger venue. Notwithstanding the warmth and generosity of Penetang CC, they could have sold more seats. Ticket issuing became one of its biggest challenges. There was agreement from those whom I interviewed that the event needs a comprehensive business plan to warrant an arena. Enough said… they listened.

Media censorship? – This column was never edited. The committee took a chance that I would fairly report what happened during the 2015 Ontario Scotties, and behind the scenes, it was something special.

Words at the Scotties

January 24th, 2015
Uncategorized

Blackshirts – Look for one of those identifiable volunteers wearing one when you need something. They deliver.

Blanket People – The stalwarts on the edge of Ice 1 who have the fashion footwear booties peeking out from the grey blankets (available for $15). They are unidentifiable having covered the uppermost parts with scarves and toques.

Linesmen – Arrive earlier than one hour prior to the draw, and there they stand outside in a line, in the parking lot, in the cold with toques and scarves…. Not to be confused with Blanket People, because Linesmen want to be inside, behind the glass.

Local Heroes – These are variously the Blackshirts or ones with the last name Howard. Carly reporting on Curling Geek, Glenn on Rogers and SportsNet or Scott just there supporting curling.

Equity – The Scotties teams favored by the media to win are losing unexpectedly to up-and-comers… a sign that there are future stars in the teams at 3-6 and 4-5. Had the last game of the evening ended differently, there was a possibility that only one team would be out of the playoffs – a potential nightmare scenario for the Scotties organizers, averted when Team Harrison won a thriller over defending Team Flaxey.

Change – The OCA organized a discussion venue for change to the Scotties (and other event) playdowns. This is a new direction for OCA which was, until 2014, an unchanging Big Brother to curlers now under the guidance of Dale Curtis. No decisions made, but at least dialogue with the players it affects. Surprise witness to the event was Rachel Homan… important enough to arrive unannounced from Ottawa.