For the second time in eight years, the Town of Ingersoll has granted seed funding to the Ingersoll Curling Club to host a major provincial curling tournament.

The 2024 Tankard will be again held in Dorchester but hosted by the Ingersoll club and town council unanimously supported the request for $10,000. Staff received an ask in July of this year from a representative of the club asking for financial support for the upcoming 2024 Ontario Men’s and Women’s Curling Championships, to be held at the FlightExec Centre in Dorchester from January 21-28, 2024. 

The town offered financial support for the same championship in 2015 in the amount of $10,000 and then provided an additional $2,000 for an event luncheon. Both amounts were funded through the Community Development Grant Program. 

Town staff were all for granting the request, as was Deputy Mayor Lindsay Wilson. “I’m supportive of the request and the benefit it will provide to the town, but I do want to make sure there are efforts being made to actually bring people physically to Ingersoll. To visit the businesses and the hotels, so I guess I am just curious to staff, outside the $10,000 sponsorship, how will we get those people to set foot in our community.”

Part of the sponsorship means the town will be able to set up a booth at the event and 18,000 to 20,000 visitors are anticipated to attend. “Obviously Dorchester doesn’t have the facilities to house that many people so there will be a spillover effect. Having the tradeshow booth will give us an opportunity to exhibit and show some of the opportunities. If council is supportive of this request, then we will find ways to partner with the BIA, Chamber of Commerce, and different organizations,” said Curtis Tighe, Manager of Economic Development and Tourism. He added they could also look to partner with local businesses to highlight what type of opportunities to promote. “We will get as many people spending as many tourism dollars as we can,” he added.

Councillor Kristy Van Kooten-Bossence was working in the hospitality sector the last time the tournament was held in Ingersoll. “I was working at a hotel when the Tankard came. We put together packages and had the hotel filled. The curlers participating stayed in Ingersoll and drove to Dorchester and I’m sure if we talk with the Comfort Inn and the Elmhurst Inn, hosting events there will be one way to get them back into the town, our restaurants, etc. We are not that far of a drive, and it was amazing how many spectators wanted to stay in Ingersoll and not go to London.” She added it’s a matter of working with the curling club along with getting local services clubs involved to grow not only the event but bring more young people into the sport.

Councillor Mike Bowman echoed support for the event and referred to the last time it was held in Dorchester. “I believed we offered some incentives for people to eat in the downtown core so we did everything we could to capture the audience that was here. I think if we approve this it will be a successful event for all.”

Mayor Brian Petrie echoed the sentiments of his peers just before the vote was taken. “I am certainly in support of this event. The deputy mayor was right, and we certainly want to capitalize on it. This is an Ingersoll Curling Club event and I know it is in January so maybe Dorchester can hold the event and we can hold the party. We have the resources to contribute to that.” 

The motion was carried unanimously. The event will be live-streamed to over 2 million viewers and will provide the town with a series of marketing opportunities such as having the town logo displayed on the game ice.

By Lee Griffi, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Aug 17, 2023 at 12:00

This item reprinted with permission from   The Gazette   Wilmot-Tavistock, Ontario

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