York Urbanist

Curling Facility Ownership Alternatives

How do we grow curling in Canada?  Recent forays into the question have led to a preference of volunteer clubs to manage only programs in a municipal owned facility.  If you review the Parks and Recreation Master Plan for your community, you are likely to find that the municipality dismisses the sport of curling as one that is dominated by private ownership.  As we have seen in the Toronto example, that form of ownership, such as combined with golf clubs, can fail.  The disappearance of 18 sheets of ice from the Toronto curling landscape between 2017 and 2019 has forewarned us.  Ownership models must be reviewed.

Volunteer boards have difficulty managing their curling club as a business.  Not for profit is the format, but the boards need to think profit to ensure that capital reserves are maintained at an appropriate level.  Membership fees must keep in step with inflation.  The reason curling is such an inexpensive sport is because those boards were afraid to raise rates and bar prices.

For your assistance, here is a review of three ownership models.

Private ownership requires that the board operates like a profile business. Accordingly, the design of the facility should be unique and adhere to the highest principles of the sport and ancillary activities.  Curling is a sport and a social recreation.  The building design should allow for a place for fitness.

The second model is one that engages the municipal, like they would for sports like swimming and hockey.  The curling club should expect no subsidy, but partnership with the municipality.  You are offering to operate the facility that provides for their community and a healthy lifestyle.

The third model offers the minimalist approach to a facility. The municipality would own the club and its operations, while the curling club would rent ice.  Because the facility may be used by the public with priority to the curling club, the facility may meet minimum standards, allowing the cost of construction to also be minimized.

Facility Alternatives


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More information about the Business of Curling can be found in this website at: http://yorkurbanist.com/curling/business-of-curling/ and follow the links throughout the website.