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2020 to 2021 – CURLING REBIRTH – Part 3

December 8th, 2020


In August, 2020, CurlON produced an excellent checklist for reopening for the 2020 season amidst the Covid-19 pandemic.  Sadly, the season was lost due to the general public’s disregard of social distancing and other government recommendations.  But reopening for next season is likely to occur.

  • Many of our curling manias …and systems …and mindsets will change, or, at least, we will have opened our minds to change. This is a good thing.
  • Doubles and Triples will become mainstream;
  • New ways to enjoy curling will be visited.
  • Cleaning will become top-of-mind.
  • That first time of meeting again should be, well….. outstanding!
  • The world should know that we are back, so shout out about the opening on social media.

The response to reopening will be different depending on your involvement in the sport.

Recreation playersgravenhurst-20110715-00212

  • Fun will return to the game not only with reopening, but also with the anticipated changes to the game.
  • The after-game revelry will return. It will be the club’s option to introduce new post-curling activities, but you must embrace change to enhance the social environment.
  • Faster games of triples and doubles will be a good introduction for new players who come to your club as a couple or singly. Your social leagues could become six ends to reinforce the social time post-game.

Competitive players

  • Get ready to return to pre-Covid schedules, but post-Covid protocols.
  • Training will include expanded and/or new events of doubles and triples. The Canadian Olympic Council would support additional events in curling, so, they could get Olympic recognition.
  • FitNutCurler has continued to educate curlers about fitness through her website and social media. Fitness, curling related, could provide a connection with


In December 2020, it was reported from Port Elgin Curling Club, Ontario, that membership during the pandemic initially dropped by 40% because of members fearing the pandemic, but the net increase in the club membership is 30%!  The world outside the confines of your curling facility is waiting at your doors. The reason can be explained by:

  • Isolation in 2020 needs to be countered by an active and social 2021
  • Curling has continued to have a presence on social media
  • Curling is growing internationally.
  • Curling is a life-long sport and can be participated interactively by generations of families


Before your club reconvenes:

  • Recap the costs of the 2020-21 season, much of which was not business as usual.
  • Review your facility: mechanical; electrical; structural. If one of your sunk costs is staff, use them to perform the facility review.
  • Reconfirm the Board of directors. Like the members of the club, they need some invigoration.
  • Have each Board director re-plan their area of responsibility to include in your Business Plan for next season.
  • Review your 10 year Business Plan. It has surely been affected by this pandemic.
  • Innovate your program by including changes to leagues, length of league schedules, reduce time on ice for recreation players, invest in curling instruction, and provide practice time.on ice with covid ruleshttp://yorkurbanist.com/2020/12/08/2020-to-2021-curling-rebirth-part-3/?preview=true&preview_id=2501&preview_nonce=d847f2cfa5

Also see our demographic analysis: http://yorkurbanist.com/curling/curling-facility-design/curling-facilities-and-demographics-trends-2015/

2020 to 2021 – CURLING REBIRTH – Part 2

December 8th, 2020


Inoculations have begun as the basis for future success. The markets, in November 2020, are suggesting a strong rebound of the North American economy.  Governments will have the challenge of budgeting. How will taxation change? What will the budget anticipate from tax sources? Will government assistance continue? .. and in what manner?Calgary club ice and rock

Recreational curling will not open until municipalities allow their residents to return to normal activities. Even private clubs will be reticent to open for a shortened season.  Most Volunteer boards, faced with a changed social and physical environment, will hesitate and defer opening until Fall, 2021. Elite players will continue to train, waiting for each succession of curling events to emerge.


With clubs closed, and with a vaccine program started, what is your plan for reopening?

Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau suggested on November 27, 2020, that the majority of Canadians will be inoculated by September 2021.  Given that curling seasons for most clubs start early October, we have to be happy…right? What will your club do prior to the vaccine?

Normal will not return! The pandemic will be etched into every future program that is proposed.

Business as usual will suggest that you send out applications in August.  But, with a market that has been once bitten, will they apply?  There is work to do. The work starts now! The 2020-21 season is all but canceled.  The work of the boards of directors is not. Here are some suggestions about the boards’ duties:

  • Keep the membership informed.  Have you considered reopening in January?  If so, have you told the members that that is a possibility?
  • Maintain enthusiasm of the sport. Curling is a social sport and, as such, needs nurturing.
  • The moment you know you are reopening, get the word out by email, FaceBook, phone and mail to those without computers (some still do not have that apparatus).
  • Daytime curlers may be seniors who feel isolated by the pandemic and its endemic government policies.  Set up a system of a calling tree.  A board member calls five key individuals and gives them an assignment to call 5 people.  That connects 25 seniors with two calls.  One more level and 125 members have been called and informed.
  • Evening curlers are more likely to correspond by email or text.  Send a directive from the board to those by email and text to say we are opening on _______(date)__________. Also tell them about how their fees or the clubs surplus has been used to provide for those less privileged.

Once the club reopening date is identified, what will be the changes in protocols?

Memory Box – Strathcona Cup 2018

June 22nd, 2018

IMG_00009315 IMG_00009317 The experience of a lifetime compiled in a memory box created by my wife.  The story can be found at: http://yorkurbanist.com/2018/03/16/strathcona-cup-2018/

Curling – English Language Lexicon

February 28th, 2017

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


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.”


Curling Fallback

February 23rd, 2016

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.


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
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

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.