SUMMERSIDE – As the best senior curlers in Canada battle it out for the national title at the Silver Fox Curling and Yacht Club this week, Carl Delaney will be right there in the middle of it with a little smile on his face.
He knows, better than anyone, how much money this event is bringing into the community.
By Delaney’s estimation the Canadian Seniors Curling Championships are bringing between $1.5 and $2 million to the Island’s economy in direct and indirect spinoff.
Chairman of the event, Delaney said that his budget alone for the event was $300,000, and when you take into account that all the participants are paying for their own meals and lodging for their partners, that number can balloon quickly.
“In terms of what we put on here, I’d say it’s one of the more significant events,” said Delaney.
The senior’s championships runs from March 16 to 24 and involves 128 players from across the country, plus 156 volunteers from all over P.E.I.
Summerside might get some events with more participants than this one throughout the year, said Delaney, but none that last as long.
“There’s a lot of people who might come in to see a hockey game, but a hockey game is a two-day event then they’re gone. This is taking such a large amount of time, almost a week, which is what makes the economic spinoff very, very valuable to the city,” he said.
You also have to look at the demographics involved, he said.
“I think you have to look at the age of the people that we have. They’re all seniors – seniors in curling is 50-plus – usually these people are still working, and have expendable incomes,” he said.
One business in town that has benefited significantly from the championships is the Loyalist Lakeview Resort. It has nearly all of its rooms booked out to the participants through a deal with the tournament.
It’s been a big bonus for the business in an otherwise low point in the year, said Jim Martell, general manager of the hotel.
“In simple terms, I would say that the seniors curling has been a boost to our business at the property here specifically. I would hazard a guess that they are taking about 85 per cent of our bedrooms for the duration (about 10 days),” he said.
Summerside inns benefit tremendously from sporting events in the winter months, he added, so it’s always great to see events like the curling championships and the upcoming RBC Cup in early May.
“There’s a general feeling in the market that … Summerside is very much driven in the off season … from sports events. Hosting the seniors curling is certainly a jewel in the crown,” he said.