Bid for 2026 Scotties now before Lethbridge city council

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Bid for 2026 Scotties now before Lethbridge city council
There’s a potential bid for the Scotties Tournament of Hearts for 2026. A group in Lethbridge has asked city council for assistance in funding to pay to host them before they bid. Brandon Cassidy looks into whether the costs outweigh the benefits. – May 8, 2024

The Lethbridge Curling Club is seeking the city’s support to bid for the 2026 women’s curling championships called The Scotties: Tournament of Hearts.

According to Kirk Mearns, the Lethbridge Curling Club general manager, this type of event is next to the best thing that Lethbridge could get.

“We’ll never get a Grey Cup, we’ll never have the Stanley Cup playoffs here, but we can host the biggest Canadian curling championships there are with a worldwide audience. So, it’s a real feather in the cap for Lethbridge,” Mearns said.

The curling club teamed up with Opportunity Lethbridge to request funding from the city.  They’re optimistic they’ll get the support they need.

“The support we get from the city, especially from Mayor Blaine Hyggen and council who recognize the importance of sport in the community and go above and beyond to make sure that we’re at the forefront of that,” Mearns said.

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Tourism Lethbridge says the economic benefit of big events is huge for the city.

“Everybody wins, right? Our hotels do see the majority of that win,” explained Erin Crane, the Tourism Lethbridge CEO.  “But again, the food and beverage section is right in there along with entertainment like our attractions and transportation. There are so many segments.”

The 2022 Tim Hortons Brier tournament in Lethbridge brought in $19.7 million in economic activity, with 18,500 out-of-town visitors spending $10.8 million on the local economy. The 2022 tournament created 128 jobs and boosted the provincial GDP by $10.3 Million.

Crane also says there are long-term and long-lasting impacts from these events.

“The Lethbridge curling club leads that, but we want others to see that opportunity because we have so much that goes on here. So, every single sport could be looking at this and this is how we build a legacy.”

The event will be held at the Enmax Centre, if approved. The bid idea must be debated by council in the coming weeks.

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