St. Thomas club promotes game during city wide mural festival
July 17, 2022
By Rob J. Ross
ST. THOMAS - The St. Thomas Curling Club is taking the game to the streets.
Out to promote, not only the club on Parkside Drive, but the 2023 Brier, the National men's championship, March 3-12, in London, the club was showcasing the game, summer style, outside their building Saturday.
"We are here to promote curling to anyone, who might be interested and we welcome new comers," Ellen Luft, club vice-president said. "This is part of the art crawl. We have a mural being painted on the back side of the building."
Visitors are able to curl outside thanks to a synthetic rink on a portable inflatable base, measuring eight metres in length and two metres wide. Players throw rocks, on three ball caster wheels, down the rink, aiming for the button. Street curling is an actual company that makes the portable rinks.
"It is going to be a permanent fixture at our club," said Luft. "We'll have this through the summer and at events around town."
The club was one of several locations for the city wide Track to the Future mural festival and along with curling, there was live music, food, beverage and ice cream trucks.
Artists Lacey and Layla created the mural on the west side the building.
"We're fortunate to have the mural being painted thanks to the city and be able to have this event today," said Luft.
Scott McDonald, skip of the reigning provincial mixed champions, along with his lead, Laura Neil, were welcoming visitors and offering to be an opponent for games.
"It seems that we may have to have a street curling league, because it's pretty popular," said Neil.
A draw was held for a free lesson McDonald and Neil, who are getting married in 2023. Before that date, McDonald, Neil, vice Lori Eddy and second Matt Hall, have the Canadian championships, in Prince Albert Saskatchewan, November 6-12.
Street curling will at Ribfest, in London, July 28-August 1 and Petfest, at the Dorchester Fairground, August 20.
"We're a fabulous, fun group of social people who absolutely love the game of curling, but love the game of friendship and camaraderie as well," Luft said. "The fact we can now promote and enjoy this type of curling in the summer on the sidewalk, just adds to the enjoyment of curling."
A number of events highlight the first three months of the club calendar of the upcoming season.
Leading in to the Thanksgiving Day weekend, is the club's annual open house week, an event that invites all ages to come out and try curling.
Recognition day is October 15, when the club will honour the career of Jim Lyle, and celebrate the achievements of the McDonald rink and Dale Sinclair, who skipped Team Ireland, at the World Senior championships, in Geneva, Switzerland, in April.
The Belles and Brooms bonspiel returns after a two year absence, on November 29.
A mixed doubles spiel is set for December 16-18, featuring 24 teams from across North America. It was also be a qualifier for the provincial championship.
"Last year we had 16 teams from Ontario. It was so successful that this year we're going to try to add eight more teams," said McDonald. "It was nice having that kind of response, being the first year we did it. Everyone raved about the city, the ice, the volunteers."
Until the indoor season, curlers can throw their rocks outside.
For more info on a variety of league play at the club, visit St. Thomas Curling Club.