Big economic impact for Queens expected from junior curling

Nick Moase
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The M&M Canadian Juniors are underway, and with it is a projected economic impact for the County that could reach $1.5 million.

Fans wave a flag during the opening ceremonies of the Canadian Junior Curling Championship. A big economic impact is expect for the province and Queens County during the week long tournament. 

Donna Hatt, vice chair of the host committee, says when planning for the event  they used the STEAM model (Sport, Tourism, Economic Assessment Measurement), which looks at a host of factors to predict the benefit a given event will have on the community. It came back with $3.1 million provincially, with $1.5 million of that for Queens.

Predicted is one thing, but the actuals are another. In order to get a better picture, volunteers will be out collecting data.

"We want to double check that, so we're doing an economic impact survey with spectators and guests," says Hatt.

This involves a quick five-minute survey with patrons of the tournament. All this will be tabulated and presented after the tournament.

Those predicted dollars will get spread out among accommodations, restaurants and retail, and attracting that dollar is about making the patrons feel welcome.

"Folks are coming for the curling, but staying for the experience," says Hatt.

It starts where people put their heads down at night. Morton House for example, which is typically closed in winter months, is nearly full for the entirety of the games, says Hatt. most other accommodations open this time of year are also nearly full.

The goal going into the games was to fill 2,000 room nights over a 10 day period.

"Based on what people are telling us now we've already met that," says Hatt.

Though she doesn't have the exact figures for what a typical January looks like, Hatt figures it is in the vicinity of 500 to 600 for the entire month.

It then goes to the restaurants and retailers.

"It's all poised on them wanting to make sure they are open and ready to go," says Hatt.

Businesses have done this in a variety of ways. Some have opened up pop up stores, or adjusted their hours to better suit the draw schedule. Others have teamed up with local artists to put on artist showcases, with ones at Brady's Home Building Centre and one in the basement of the former Bargain Shop on the Liverpool waterfront.

This all brings in new dollars into the community in a typically quiet retail month.

"This is all new spend in the January month, which would have never been spent before," she says.

The Canadian Curling Association alone is spending $200,000 to stage the event in this community.

That however is just the short term impact on the community, says Hatt.

"The real opportunity is in the guests."

Hatt sees the tournament painting a picture of the community as a desirable place to be, hospitable and open, and showcasing what facilities we have.

It could lead to further opportunities with people expanding businesses or retiring to the community. With upwards of 2,000 people expected to attend, it creates a lot of opportunity to spread the word about Queens County, she says.

"We want them walking out of this as champions and billboards for our community."

 Keep up with all the action on the Advance's live blog 

Organizations: Morton House, Bargain Shop on the Liverpool, Canadian Curling Association

Geographic location: Queens

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