November 15, 2021
Dear GTA Curlers,
We are writing to ask for your support for a facility in Etobicoke-York (EY) dedicated to curling. While the closures of Scarboro and Annandale have had major impact, it is the closures of curling facilities at private golf and country clubs in the west end of Toronto (Weston and St. Georges), that have hit particularly hard. There are now no curling facilities in EY. These closures are not due to a lack of demand for curling but rather a change in private golf courses to become golf-centric. There are now hundreds of curlers scrambling for spots in our remaining facilities or unfortunately leaving the sport. There is no space for new adult or youth curlers to learn the sport.
The West End Curling Committee (WECC) was formed by a group of dedicated curlers to get curling backin EY.
Curling had not been on the radar for Parks Forestry and Recreation (PFR) for a very long time. PFR’s most recent Master Plan stated that curling was well supported by private facilities across the city. The recent closures of curling facilities were not addressed until WECC raised the issue with Mayor Tory and the City Executive Committee which then requested Parks Forestry and Recreation (PFR) to develop a needs assessment.
PFR did a very thorough needs assessment and concluded that significant gaps exist in meeting the demand for curling in EY. This is a very important conclusion and needs to lead to concrete action to address.
PFR analyzed potential options to close these gaps ranging from building brand new facilities to sharing facilities with other sports team (i.e., sharing an existing ice pad with hockey or skating). PFR’s current position is to focus a “shared use” facility with the conversion of an existing under-utilized arena to dedicated curling use as a possible future project. Building a new facility is not being considered, especially given the financial pressures the city is facing with the pandemic.
WECC is advocating for the city to allocate an under-utilized arena (there are seven) as a dedicated curling facility. The Toronto Curling Association (TCA) has also been actively engaged in discussions withthe City of Toronto and also supports the establishment of a dedicated facility.
We need your help. PFR will be reporting back to City Council with their recommendations soon. We need you to lobby our local councillors and other political leaders to make them aware of the issue and seek their support to, as a minimum, have an existing underutilized hockey arena in the west end reallocated for use as a curling facility. City Council will react to issues that their residents are demanding. We need to make them aware that there is broad support for this issue across the city.
While this issue is of prime importance to those of you that reside in the west end, it is of great importanceto all areas of the city. We need more curling facilities across the city to ensure the long-term health of thesport and this is a first step. Regardless of where you live, we need you to support this issue by contacting your local councillor.
The attached letter has been drafted for you to use to send to your local councillor and to Mayor Tory. You can use the following link to find your local councillor and their contact info… Members of Council – City of Toronto. Feel free to make changes to the letter as you wish.
If you would rather send an email to your councillor, we have a template ready for you to cut and paste below.
Dear Councillor xxxx,
I am concerned about the lack of curling facilities in the City of Toronto. I am asking for your help to have existing, underutilized Parks & Rec facilities re-purposed for the sport of curling, have new facilities built, or require developers to include curling facilities in major new developments in the city.
We recommend that you copy the letter into an email to your councillor and the Mayor. Please send it as soon as possible.
Greg King, Chairperson, West End Curling Committee
Melissa Hogg Cunningham, President, Toronto Curling Association
You can help us make a better tomorrow for curling by volunteering, signing the WECC petition, and receiving our newsletter.
We are eager to hear from you at:
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Twitter: @westendcurling.com
- Facebook: West End Curling Committee