York Urbanist

Archive for the ‘Recreation’ Category

Collingwood CC – A Curling Success

February 10th, 2017
Curling, Recreation

Photo Curling Canada/Brian Chick

I remember less than ten years ago a club in Collingwood with maybe 150 players, a struggle to keep the doors open to this six sheeter. I looked away and suddenly they have 500 members! And 66% are over 50!  A club with an average age over 60 could hardly be sustainable… Not only are they sustaining the club, but they just invested half a million into their facility! So how does that work?

Club Secretary, Bob Riches explains:

The age demographic should not be surprising, since it is representative of Collingwood. The Town has been the receptor for previously seasonal residents who either skied in winter or hiked in summer.  Their retirement led to moving to the place that brought back fond memories.  Still, many seasonal persons are full members at the low, low price of $325 for full membership; or $200 to join for one league a week. This compares to over $800 for a country club curling facility in the GTA. So, how do they remain solvent and progressive?  Volunteers! Players from the city, having retired look for replacement for their time previously spent in the office.  And they have business skills to keep honed. Having planned their finances to survive retirement, there is less stress to make ends meet. Here are a few of their successes:

  • School program – 5 elementary schools have every child attend the facility – all free – 18 volunteers from the club run the program. Guess what happens? All students have exposure- it comes back to the curling facility in spades when former students return with their families.
  • Three icemakers maintain the ice – only one full time. All are kept up-to-date with recent courses.
  • The day I spoke with Bob, there was a Probus club spiel going on– all volunteers coordinated the spiel. One of the tenets of my appeal to clubs is to partner.  They invited the Probus Club.  They will realize new members soon.
  • They sent  100 members to get training in SmartServe so that there is always a bartender available. The result is $60k in bar revenues, at prices found nowhere else.
  • Prime time is daytime. Most clubs are trying to fill daytime ice.  Not in Collingwood.  They could shutter at 9pm, but they don’t.
  • Jitney curling – league every day – no obligation to attend. This flexibility for members allows players to take time off when they want, but keeps them active socially. They only have one competitive league!
  • 6 end games are being proposed, because they understand their market.  An hour and a half on the ice is long enough.  This will lead to efficient operations and encourage new players.
curling___Collingwood grand reopening

John Edwards photo, simcoe.com

Hats off to Collingwood.  A curling success story.

I Never Thought of our Club as a Business?!?!

October 24th, 2015
Curling, Recreation

In 2009, I attended a meeting for a curling club in an Ontario city. The purpose was to determine if I could help them turn the ship around. The presentation talked about income and expenses, marketing and advertising, operations and maintenance. After 20 minutes of presentation, the first response words were “I never thought of our club as a business!?” And this from a business entrepreneur! During the 2015 Fall Zone Meetings, it was those very same words that came from a small town club representative. Those words continue to haunt the halls of Ontario Curling facilities! This has got to stop!

Danny Lamoureux, of Curling Canada, has been pressing Canada’s Curling Clubs to take a business approach to running curling. Seminars are presented by Curling Canada and articles abound on www.curling.ca . Go to Curling Summits… there have been two excellent presentations in Niagara Falls (2014) and Collingwood (July 2015).   At each there were experts in curling products, successful club events and business aficianados. These Summits were oversubscribed evidencing the demand for understanding the business of curling. Could not make it to the seminars? Let me take you through a Q&A:

What are the signs that you have a business?

  1. If you have income over $30,000, your federal government insists you charge HST.
  2. Your board of directors make decisions on expenses and cost of membership.
  3. You have audited accounts.

How do we know if our business is successful?

  1. Your income should exceed your expenses. Seems somewhat like a supercilious statement. But many boards are afraid to increase membership rates for fear of offending friends. The income starts to lag and then the participants become frustrated with the lack of investment in the curling property and they leave. Eventually, expenses become more than income and the curling club gets in trouble.
  2. Income increases annually at least at the federal stated rate of inflation. Beer should be cold but the prices not frozen. Food that cost $5 ten years ago, should now cost $10. Nor should the club sell memberships for the same as last year.
  3. Participants want to spend at their facility in lieu of other options. Track your income per full member player by creating an account distinct to the player. If their annual spending goes down, understand why by analyzing the data. If that is insufficient information, ask the player.

If Curling is a business, how is it a business?

“The two most important parts of curling…ice to curl on, and cold beverages” Facebook comment from Jennifer Foley Opitz of Grande Cache Curling Club. Jennifer has captured her business’s strategy in a sentence. Apparently, Grande Cache CC has both and they are ready to roll in October 2015. As long as the club maintains satisfactory membership and beer sales income, they can continue to have “ice to curl on”. Sounds simple and it can be. The business part is ensuring that income exceeds expenses. And someone, a paid manager or volunteer accountant, has to monitor the balance sheet and operating budget while referring to past successes and watching for future changes in the business environment. Changes for Grande Cache could be boom-bust cycles of coal production and sales in this one-industry town. If a rash of unemployment hits, is the club prepared for the change in disposable income by its members? Reducing the price of memberships and beer is not the answer. Creative membership alternatives, though, might be. Perhaps the members could afford a half fee for half the number of nights. A caveat could include that they will be offered that reduction if they bring in a new player to fill the other days not attending. Now you have doubled the clients and increased potential future revenues.

Where are the revenue streams in a Curling Business?

Memberships – but the culture of recreation is changing. How have you changed your services to accommodate a change in your local culture.

Liquor and Refreshment Sales – This is the second most obvious element of curling business and, fortunate or unfortunately, alcoholic consumption is what we are known for by non-curlers. What is the local price of refreshments? Match the local price. Undercutting because the members are your friends does not make you friends. You provide a value-added service not provided by a bar. Charge for it!

Food Sales – Snacks usually works for clubs. Consider renting your facility to a caterer. They know the food business and you can make a buck on your rental space.

Equipment Sales – This is another opportunity to partner with a company that needs inexpensive floor space in a sports environment.

Floor space – This is your primary revenue stream, both direct and indirect. Directly, you may have space to accommodate Food and Equipment Blaine Minnesota CCSales. It takes little effort and maximizes your utilization. In the off-season, you may have a clear span concrete floored hall, useful for special events or storage rental. The indirect revenues come from the attraction of curling ice. People pay memberships for the right to curl in that floor space. The icy floor space attracts patrons who spend money behind the glass. Create a map of your facility that shows the distinct areas of: ice hall; lounge; closets; offices; games rooms; change rooms. Chart how often each of the areas are used. There will be times when that floor space is not occupied. Now how do you utilize it better? Who are new users? How can the floor space be used differently? Use your imagination! Be Creative! Act like a Business Entrepreneur! Follow what Dragon Kevin O’Leary says: “How do you make me Moooneeey….”

Curling – It’s Our Business

June 25th, 2015
Curling, Recreation

oca_logo_web1_small[1]With the changes at the top of Ontario’s curling administration, the OCA has announced that “We are open for business”.

Yes, curling is a business! If you have 100 members in a two sheet club, then your revenues will be (should be) at least $80,000.  Presumably, your expenditures are less and the business prospers with capital added annually for those (un?)foreseen replacement costs.  A six sheet curling facility should, at minimum have revenues over $300,000. There are curling corporations in Ontario over $1,000,000.  And yet, I interviewed with a club to provide a business planning exercise and one executive board member reacted, “I never thought about the club as a business”.  That is both healthy and naïve.

That is naïve from the standpoint that someone in a decision-making capacity could be spending recklessly or, worse yet, not spending to improve the business.

That is healthy in that there is comfort in the activities within the facility.  In other words, players and executive members are enjoying the sport as they should. A healthy club is one that continuously reinvests in their assets.

Ontario is in a growth pattern, unlike its Manitoba counterpart.  IMG_6572Demand is increasing for experiential facilities – curling centres fit the bill.  Where else can one combine recreation, fitness and social activities all in one place, all in one night, during the dullest of weather? I left out competition. You can include that, and it is the primary reason for about 5% of the curling public, but the growth is in the other 95% - recreation adherents. The York Curling Club (see pic) is one example. The two new sheets were filled to overcapacity (over 100 members per sheet) by the time they were constructed and opened.

Changes to competition are coming, starting with the Annual General Meeting June 28, 2015 and the accompanying workshop prior. OCA has recognized through their administrative changes that their role is changing. Yes, they will continue to promote competitions for the competition elite, but their role should also continue to promote the health of curling in Ontario, with business acuity.

See also: http://yorkurbanist.com/2015/04/03/curling-trends-for-business/

Calculating Vaughan’s Cure for Congestion

June 9th, 2015
Healthy Communities, Pedestrianization, Recreation, Trails

Vaughan’s crisis is congestion.  The solution may be simpler than you think, but hard to believe.

You hear it from the car drivers, politicians, ratepayers associations and businesses. Driving through Maple is calamitous 7:30 to 9am and 3:30 to 6:30pm. Travelers have been given a vent around Maple with Teston’s access from Hwy 400, Keele and McNaughton.  But how does that help businesses on Major Mackenzie?  Eight lanes of Rutherford east of Hwy 400 create confusion for the uninitiated. Where do I get off?  How do I get to the curb lane? Keele and Jane Streets are dense with traffic day-long while Dufferin Street awaits infill of housing before it will also be intolerable. But herein lies an opportunity.

Hwy 7 rail overpassCouncillor Carella is holding the sword to lead the charge to make the rail crossing of Hwy 7 near Islington Avenue wider for cars beneath. But this is not the rail company’s mistake. It is the error of near sighted planning of suburban street patterns that are not permeable to the traffic that oversize lots generate. There are alternatives to easy fixes as the Councillor is touting.

IMG_00003295Drivers use the hypotenuse that is Islington Avenue through Kleinburg to avoid jamming on Hwy 27′s two traffic signals.  With earlier planning of streets and smart signals at the intersections in advance of subdivisions, density of street traffic could have been paused a few years. But that solution has passed.

The long term cure is allowing planning for lands developed over 40 years ago to redevelop to higher density and mixed use, prior to allowing single family lots to be developed on the edges.  Mississauga suffered the last decade of Hazel’s reign because of just that – too many single family housing units strewn to the edges of Mississauga’s developable land.  And without opportunity for employment nearby, cars jammed the streets leading to the already congested 400-series highways.  But there is a short-term fix at minimal cost that can be funded by subdivision planning in process.  Learn from Mississauga’s traffic and financial debacles. Typically, employment lands frame the highways.  Residential lands extend away from employment lands. Inefficiently, traffic crosses the employment lands from residential communities. But as congestion dictates unrecoverable time on the road, people change their housing desires.  They want to be closer to work.  They avoid congestion by the move or by their time of use. The latter has implications on their employment agreements with their employers. So, moving closer makes more sense.  Yet, how does one get from that closer housing to place of work? Streets are for cars in Vaughan. Sidewalks are too narrow for comfort, if they exist at all.

Now for the simple solution. car size bicycle parking Address the alternative short-trip facilities: transit; cycling; and pedestrian routes. Do this before opportunities disappear as happened in Toronto. Broad boulevards required by dictatorial engineers of the past remain on regional roads and the major street grid of Vaughan. Having cycled east to west along Rutherford Road, there is ample space to accommodate cyclists and pedestrians.  Street Diet is a term used to reduce 2 lane widths by 0.6m each to create a 1.2m wide cycle lane. Emergency vehicles are not affected, as the pavement width does not change..only the line painting! Calculation: 1000 vehicles per hour through an intersection – If 1% of drivers change to cycling or walking, we lose 10 vehicles (through every intersection they pass). Translated, that could be one signal transition less for your trip to work….. Each signal.  How many signals do you pass on your way to work? A typical 1/2 hour trip to work could be reduced by 5 minutes. This buys you one half a work week of time each year. All this for the cost of paint on existing roads.

cyclists and peds compared to carsParts of Islington Avenue south of Major Mackenzie have a 2.5m wide asphalt multi-use trail.  This is an excellent example of providing access for students to Emily Carr High School…. except that it ends before it gets to the school! This trail is cheaper than installing the City’s 1.5m wide concrete sidewalk but accommodates both cycling and walking! More of these safe and comfortable trails would encourage children to ride – in other words, mom/dad are not diverting to the school, too.  Calculation: Estimate that each trip is 4km extra for mom/dad.  Each school has 1500 students.  If 20% get rides to school, then there are 300 trips of 4km or 1200km per day. Reduce that by encouragement through better cycling routes to reduce trips to school by 25% and 300km are saved. At 60 cents per kilometre, then direct cost savings are $180 per day. In one school year, $36,000 of direct costs are saved. That would buy 300m of trails in one year. In the four years of high school, 1.2km of trails are afforded. In the 30 year life cycle of one high school building, over 8km of trails could be built for no real cost.  Fifteen high schools in Vaughan translate into 120km of cycling trails FOR FREE.

Not to mention the reduced carbon footprint.   You are trafficwhat's the point of cycle lanes

Cycle the 400 Series Highways

May 30th, 2015
Healthy Communities, Recreation, Trails

Why Cycle Lanes on 400 series highways?

  • Effective Use of land: Wasted space on the edges of highways requires MORE maintenance than the paved surfaces that could be trails. The highways have removed oxygen producing trees and shrubs, replacing them with grass, which is often mown. The asphalt of a cycle lane is not damaged like that of motorized vehicle lanes, so maintenance is minimal.
  • The direction cyclists want to go: Just as we in motorized vehicles want a stopless direct route to destinations, so to do cyclists.
  • Understanding Commuter cyclists: 400-series highways are built for commuters, although their primary purpose is to give access for delivery of goods from hinterlands to cities. Cyclists are also commuters.
  • Exiting Toronto fast: 400 series highways provide the most direct exit from the city and have available land on their edges.
  • Reduced grades: Although avid cyclists like the challenge of changes in grades, commuter cyclists are appreciative of the requirements of MTO to maintain grades at less than 5% inclines.
  • Positive reaction from cycling community: When this was raised in a workshop and on line, avid cyclists had to think for a moment. Yes, they said, this provides the opportunity to turn my recreation to a method of getting to work.
  • Puts planning in the provincial jurisdiction: Currently, the provision of cycling facilities is the purview of municipalities. As such, public consultation is limited to municipal boundaries, yet cyclists can travel 500km in one day, well beyond the jurisdiction of one city.
  • Raises awareness of Active Transportation: Volumes of drivers of motorized vehicles will see an alternative form of transportation as they sit in traffic. Meanwhile, cyclists continue unimpeded by other forms of transportation.

Where has this been done?

The public will be surprised that there already exist examples of highway related cycling facilities. The idea of cycling routes parallel to motorized routes may seem like a foreign concept. However the following list will surprise you. Let us start with more progressive jurisdictions off-shore

  • Australia roadside cycling routeAustralia is well known for its support of athletics and health. This lane is associated with an 80km/hr speedway. Apparently, avid cyclists can feel comfortable in this association.






  • Amsterdam roundaboutAmsterdam, Netherlands: The reaction from the uninitiated is, ‘well that’s because cycling is ingrained in their culture’. I respond that it is because cycling facilities have been incorporated into their transportation systems. Chicken and Egg? This example shows distinct and separated bike lanes on the outside, yet they continue to have crossings that allow motorists the right of way. A curious example has been circulating the social media that shows an elevated cycle facility at traffic circles. https://bicycledutch.files.wordpress.com/2013/05/turbo-roundabout.jpg

what's the point of cycle lanes



  • QEW Niagara service roadQEW Niagara was part of the Great Waterfront Trail Adventure for years. Although an unpleasant straight ride for this recreation ride, it is straight and allows for commuter cyclists to travel the same route as motorists.



  • Toronto Waterfront TrailToronto, Is there a more travelled route than the Gardiner/Lakeshore? Toronto created the Waterfront Trail to provide for primarily commuter cyclists who find their way to work much faster than the routes that regularly make the 680 traffic at the ones report. 5m wide this route is so well used that rules have needed to be created for its use, summer and winter.


  • Rosehill cycle separation productRosehill products in the UK can be used to establish the safety that transportation engineers use to scare away cycling facilities from the public realms.


See also:




June 4 – Walk and Ride – Vaughan’s Active Transportation

May 27th, 2015
Healthy Communities, Pedestrianization, Recreation, Trails

Become involved in COMMUNITY! A vortex of enthusiasm brought three groups together for a single event.

BUG logoVaughan Bicycle Users Group, BUG for short, expresses a common face of the community of bicycle riders. It is made up of recreation, racing and utilitarian cyclists. The goal is to advocate for those who want and need to travel further than walking can achieve. But Vaughan is lagging in the development of cycling facilities. The celebratory cycle lanes on Napa Valley and Peter Rupert are a compromise, but at least they have painted the lines.

BUG’s crowning 2014 achievement is being celebrated on June 4! Ride one of the first cycle lanes yet devised in Woodbridge!

Green Ribbon TreeTrees For Kleinburg may be self-evident by its name. But it is more than just trees. It is an environmental, event planning and business friendly group. A pilot project directed by this group is nearing completion in May 2015. This pilot project was a test of the mettle of volunteers and City staffers.  It took convincing a steadfast engineering department that a walking facility, such as their proposed sidewalk on Islington Avenue, could use trees to make the route a more comfortable. The City of Vaughan’s Vision speaks to that very need.

This crowning achievement is being celebrated on June 4! A stop on the Jane’s Walk will allow you to help plant a commemorative tree.

greenbelt_Logo_4C_OL[1]Greenbelt Foundation learned of Trees For Kleinburg from the City of Vaughan staff. Kleinburg is the perfect venue for a Jane’s Walk, where a village steeped in history can come to life through a guided walk. The Greenbelt Foundation promotes hiking in the villages and valleys that are contained and edge Ontario’s Greenbelt. The Greenbelt is up for review by the province and public meetings are being held this year to redefine or reconfirm its boundaries and mandate.

This banner year is being promoted on June 4 as a collaboration with BUG and Trees For Kleinburg.

Ride and Walk June 4 2015Get your walking or riding gear together and meet at 6:30pm at Sonoma Heights Park to start a journey whose destination is McMichael Gallery, but its ultimate goal is to raise awareness of the need for Active Transportation facilities in Vaughan. See what Vaughan has committed to by clicking the link to these new cycle facilities. Like the pilot project for Trees For Kleinburg, unofficial cycle lanes took two years to enact. If not for the actions of Councillor Alan Shefman getting a pedestrian and cycling task force, active transportation would not be an agenda item for Vaughan Council.

Go further, Vaughan! Involve Communities and encourage them with action, not two years of waiting for compromise solutions!



Editor’s Note: Choosing June 4 may have been folly, as it conflicts with the Mayor’s Gala. But will be an alternative event with no cost, but much benefit.

Cycle Route Innovations

April 22nd, 2015
Healthy Communities, Recreation, Transportation issues, Urban Design

Following on the suggestion in my post March 3, 2015, and because we were questioned at Vaughan BUG as to why we would deign to suggest a cycle route alongside a 400 series highway, here then is vindication. solar bike path on highwayA solar array has been added to the cycle lane in Korea.  The array provides shelter to the cyclists and, constructed in the middle of the highway, provides exposure to the need for active transportation.  Not only that! The life of the pavement will be extended and there is an income producing property in the form of energy recovery.

If not overhead, then there are innovative solar pavements. Bikes will not wear pavements like heavier vehicles. If we are nervous about innovating, then why not a trial section to power the lights required for the highway? When the resources are discovered, then the power generated could be directed to runoff water from the asphalt being treated in a solar-powered facility. Remember the elevated wetlands on the Don Valley Parkway?20131128-Elevated-Wetlands[1]

Now why can’t Ontario and Canada be innovators?!? Give your transportation engineers some challenges for the GTA West Corridor. Have them collaborate with scientists to salvage something from the clear cutting of the Greenbelt.  If we can pay $1 billion for six lanes of pollution and noise producing facilities, surely we can pay $5 million for a complementary cycle facility.  And just maybe, we could innovate at the same time. Cycle lift for hills

See other cycling oped’s:




March 19th, 2015
Healthy Communities, Landscape Architecture, Recreation

Green Ribbon TreeTrees For Kleinburg Islington Crossing watercolourThe community advocacy group, Trees For Kleinburg, is building awareness of the importance of the urban forest.  The village of Kleinburg is a desirable place to live and we want to maintain that as development of multiple residential sites ensues. Accordingly, the Green Ribbon Campaign will be held April 20 to 25, during Earth Week.  You can purchase one green ribbon for $5 or three for $10 to put around your trees, visible to the public that trees are important to you.

colour drawing

Islington Avenue Pilot Project

Funds raised from the campaign go directly to streetscape improvements, that otherwise would not include greening.  The plan image is the first pilot project on Islington Avenue. It is a unique addition to the street, a green introduction to Kleinburg with a magnificent White Pine, emblematic of McMichael Gallery, Group of Seven works.

History of Earth Day Islington Ave ceremonyEarth Day was started in the United States in 1970 by Senator Gaylord Nelson to create awareness for the Earth’s environment and to encourage conservation efforts. In 1990, Earth Day was taken international, and today, more than 500 million people in 175 countries observe Earth Day! This year we are encouraging the residents of Kleinburg/Nashville to participate in Earth Day! We are fortunate to reside in a community that is heavily populated with an abundance of forests, wildlife, ravines, nature trails, waterways and beautiful landscaping. During the month of April, several of our merchants in town (ie. Hawthorne House, Bon Bons & Brittle) will be selling green ribbons for $5.00. We ask that a ribbon be tied around a tree in front of each home or business to celebrate this special day! All proceeds from the sale of these ribbons will go to a non-profit group called “Trees for Kleinburg” that is working diligently with the City of Vaughan towards improving and enhancing our streetscape along Islington Avenue with beautiful trees, perennial beds, etc.

Let’s paint the town GREEN on Earth Day! Tie a ribbon on to support this wonderful cause! For further information, please e-mail Mark Inglis at [email protected] . Green Ribbons available from Kleinburg merchants at:

Hawthorne House

Salon Amado

Terra Cotta

BonBons and Brittle

Dolcini by Joseph

Green Apple Dentistry

Curling Customers as Volunteers

March 11th, 2015
Curling, Recreation

In Curling, define the customer and you will uniquely define the volunteer. Let us start with dispelling myths:

Myth #1 – Curling as a sport in Canada is declining

  • Recent statistics from TSN http://www.tsn.ca/tim-hortons-brier-attracts-big-audiences-to-tsn-1.226557 describe that over 2 million persons watched Pat Simmons throw his draw to the button in the 2015 Brier final – an increase of 29% over the final in 2014.
  • Bids to host the Olympic Trials are competitive, even at $1m for the rights.
  • Curling recruitment swells after each Olympics across Canada.

Myth #2 – Voluntarism is waning

  • My personal experience at the Ontario Scotties and the Brier – there were TOO MANY VOLUNTEERS, many of whom were in the way, despite the fact that they always wanted to assist.
  • When I volunteered for a Brier, I had to pay to volunteer…. and gladly, to enjoy an event that comes but once a year.
  • Member volunteers want to help, but clubs fail to provide the right opportunities to suit the recruit. See Volunteer Segmentation below.
  • Parents want to become involved with their children – volunteering gives them the opportunity.

Myth #3 – Members will leave if we raise the cost of membership fees

  • Compare the cost of curling to any sport. Curling is undervalued. Your kid can play recreation hockey for $1,200 per year or curl for $120. If cost is a deterrent, then this is a no-brainer. Get into or stay in the market before it takes off and fee charges suit the demand.
  • Curling is a business. A not-for-profit business needs to cover costs. Costs include capital improvements. Capital improvements should be funded over time. A capital fee should therefore be applied. (See my article December issue of The Curling News). Curling members will pay the fee when the logical business explanation is given.

Myth #4 – Curling sport is steeped in traditions; changes with technology are not warranted.

  • How many times have you had to explain the scoreboard to a new curling recruit? The hell with tradition, give them an intuitive electronic numbering system that takes the guesswork out of scoring the game.
  • Electronics costs have plummeted with miniaturization. Get your club some good cameras and screens and supply spectators, coaches and players a common tool to analyse the game!
  • Relate to youth who have been nurtured on electronics. Use your imagination – slide speed, rock curl, rock speed, sweeping effectiveness… all can be electronically evaluated and analysed, and at little cost.

Coquitlam - great viewing CUSTOMER SEGMENTATION

Customers are those for whom we are creating value. But, who are our most important customers? First, Curling is a Niche Market, segmented by:

  • Age
  • Skill
  • Activity level
  • Wealth

To be successful, we must determine the type of relationship each of our customer segments expect us to establish and maintain with them. For Age, most clubs have a gap between 20 and 40. It is the time when youth go away to school, try to establish a career and raise young families. They are distracted from their former junior social circle of curling. It does not have to be! The Royals, in Toronto has re-invented itself as a cool place for 20- and 30-somethings to hang. Chinguacousy CC in Brampton, Ontario launched under-35 competitions or clinics in 2014 with resounding success. The age gap is created only by clubs that are resistant to change.

Regarding skill, Canada has seen reduced competitive curling entries. Does that mean that skills are declining? Resounding No! To enjoy a sport recreationally, the skill needs to be nurtured. Successful clubs engrain training into the curriculum.

Activity level is the amount of recreation or fitness in which your customer wants to partake. Recreation curlers can be junkies, but the fact remains that some want to curl but spend less time doing it! Define which describes your member market and you will succeed. Why does a league need to be once a week? Why not once a month? Or only in October and November for SnoBirds?

Curlers, demographically, are above average income earners. Referring back to Myth #3, if that is correct, then fees would be less of a burden on the curling demographic. What the curling customer wants is value. Sport and recreation are counter balances to stressful work environments. Create a social, stress-free environment, and they will come knocking.


Curling Customers desire to be part of the organization, to make it their own and to have an influence on what best suits their own purposes. Volunteering enhances social experience at a curling facility. Just as there is segmentation for customers, so too are there segments for volunteers:


  • This segment includes managers and professionals. When they retire, they are looking for time fillers.
  • As physical capabilities decline, seniors may look for other less vigorous activities. Volunteering for administrative work and coaching fits the bill.


  • High School students are looking to fill volunteer hours obligatory in many provinces.
  • Voluntarism makes an impression on the résumé.
  • University and colleges look at volunteer hours as part of the evaluation for candidate students.


  • Participation promotes bonding with children.
  • Involvement ensures that children are in a safe environment.
  • Directing activities also directs their children to interact with suitable compatriots.

Business persons

  • Positions on boards impress others.
  • Volunteering increases contacts with future clients.
  • Applying professional skills not only enhances the image, but hones the skills.

In each of the segments above, there is one common ingredient: a need to be given responsibility. Dole out responsibility to your customers and they will become your volunteers. Give a finite task to any of your customers, and they will gladly lend a hand, knowing that it contributes to the experience and is not a life sentence. As an aside: I attended the 2015 Tim Hortons Brier in Calgary. During two consecutive between-ends distractions, I became conflicted with the response to the presentations. The first was the snare rapping and cymbals slashing of the surprisingly young 9 year-old Jaxon Smith, likely paid entertainment. There was an immediate and long standing ovation for the young Phenom. In the next break, Curling Canada presented their 2015 Volunteer Award to Harvey Lyons, who relaunched his Lorette, Manitoba curling club, raising it from the solvency fires like the proverbial Phoenix. This feat took many years of 40-hour unpaid work weeks to accomplish. The response from the audience… polite applause from those who had not left for beer. Volunteers do not require payment or accolades, but Harvey Lyons deserved a better response.

See also:



reprinted from www.curling.ca

Harvey Lyons – reprinted from www.curling.ca

GTA West Corridor – A Blast Through the Greenbelt

February 25th, 2015
Healthy Communities, Recreation, Trails, Transportation issues

GTA West Corridor map

I am a co-author of trails master plans for York Region and the City of Vaughan. I have had correspondence with others regarding the GTA West Corridor particularly about how its construction will impact cycling and pedestrian activities in the future, during and post construction. The HVHTA will host a trail walk March 7, 2015 in lands that will be impacted by the highway construction. It seems a fait accompli that the highway will be built but there must be a way to ensure that modes other than motorized vehicles are accommodated in what today is designated Greenbelt. Accordingly, I have composed the following short summary, which is consistent with expressions of concern in other jurisdictions affected by GTA West Corridor.

MTO must consider pedestrian and cycling facilities as inherent parts of the GTA West Corridor system:

  • Connected and integrated cycle routes and paths: Newly constructed cycle trails/paths should parallel the proposed motorized vehicular routes. Multi-use Pedestrian / Cycle paths should be a minimum 3m wide allowing access between all overpasses crossing the future highway.
  • Address Municipal Cycling/Pedestrian Master Plans: Peel and York Regions, Brampton, Vaughan and King have Master Plans recommending connected and circumferential trails. These must be integrated into the plans for the Corridor and indeed, become an enhancement to encourage active transportation.
  • Permeability: In particular, frequent pedestrian / cycle overpasses must be part of a permeable system of crossings. Unlike recent MTO constructs, there should be generous and safe sidewalks for pedestrians. Crossings for cyclists should be on a separated lane for safety on all crossings of the future highway, as elevated overpasses can have greater wind velocities.
  • Trail Connections: Ensure the GTA West does not preclude other trail connections, particularly HVHTA’s Bolton to Kleinburg route through the Nashville Tract Conservation lands and Bolton Resource Management Tract Conservation lands.
  • Active transportation facilities: should be integrated in the overall design plan to accommodate pedestrians and cyclists: walking and cycling facilities at interchanges and ramp crossings; accessible crossings located to support direct pedestrian routes; adequate lighting and sight distances.
  • Landscaped Corridor: The poorly vegetated 407 must not be replicated. The GTA West Corridor removes considerable forest cover and hedgerows. These wildlife corridors will be lost. The wind protection and cooling effects they afford need to be compensated. In municipalities, developers are required to replace or compensate for removal of all trees. MTO, by construction of the highway, is a developer and should not be exempt.

I implore any readers of this blog to send a letter to the Minister of Transportation, Steven Del Duca, whose contact information is located: http://www.ontla.on.ca/web/members/members_detail.do?locale=en&ID=7205