With economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic as a major focus, City Council has voted to provide $1 million in cash and in-kind support for a bid to bring the Tim Hortons Brier to Lethbridge in 2022.
The annual Canadian men's curling championship is regarded as the world's premier curling event, as well as the best-supported curling competition in terms of paid attendance and attracting large crowds in-venue and on TSN. The documented economic benefits from the 2020 Brier held in Kingston, Ont. estimate a direct spin-off of between $10 million and $15 million.
"The 2022 Brier would be a huge boost to our local economy and something for our local businesses to get excited for," said Mayor Chris Spearman. "We understand that we are still in difficult times with the COVID-19 pandemic. This is the type of event that can really help as a key part of recovery."
Coun. Rob Miyashiro and Coun. Jeff Carlson co-sponsored the resolution to council, saying this event bid meets the criteria for all of the Guiding Principles of the Major Community Event Hosting Grant.
Should the bid be successful, the $1 million request would be funded from $355,845 in the Major Community Event Hosting Grant, with the remainder, $644,155, to be funded from Municipal Revenue Stabilization Reserve (MRSR). The in-kind services would include facility access and rentals for the Enmax Centre and Servus Sports Centre.
"This would be the latest major curling championship to come to Lethbridge and we know that TSN brings significant recognition to the host city," said Spearman. "There would be a lot of economic benefit from hosting the Brier."
With Council's approval, the Mayor is also authorized to provide the Bid Committee with any letters of support for additional funding applications.
If the bid is successful, the Brier would be held at Lethbridge's Enmax Centre from March 4-13, 2022. The Bid Committee needs to submit its request by August, with a decision by Curling Canada anticipated as early as November 2020.
Nick Kuhl, Communications Consultant
City of Lethbridge