Brier’s return good for Kamloops business
The Brier is coming back to Kamloops — bringing with it, most likely, lots of money and tourists.
The Tournament Capital has been awarded the 2014 Tim Hortons Brier — the well-attended national championship for Canadian men’s curling, and an event broadcast start-to-finish on TSN — to be played at Interior Savings Centre.
If the projections of organizers prove true, what is arguably the world’s most competitive bonspiel will mean big money for local hotels and businesses.
Lee Morris, CEO of Tourism Kamloops, said she expects the Brier to have an $8-million impact on the local economy.
She said organizers are anticipating about 3,000 curling fans to make the trek to Kamloops in March of 2014 — curling fans who will eat, shop, sleep and no doubt party while in the Tournament Capital.
As it stands today, Morris said, Kamloops has about 3,200 hotel rooms, meaning the Brier fans, athletes and officials would essentially fill up all local accommodations.
But, by the time 2014 rolls around, downtown Kamloops is expected to be home to two additional hotels — the new Sandman project across the street from ISC and the old Coast Canadian Inn on St. Paul Street, which will likely bear the Doubletree brand at some point in the near future.
Morris said local businesses will also be hurrying hard to get in on the action.
“There will be a lot more engagement, maybe, than the last time around,” Morris said, referencing the 1996 Brier in Kamloops — the last time B.C. hosted the event.
“But, I know for ‘96, you couldn’t miss the fact the Brier was in town.”
Morris said the 1996 event also had a “significant impact” on the local accommodation sector and Kamloops businesses.
“We always love to have 3,000 people in our downtown core,” said Gay Pooler, general manager of the Kamloops Central Business Improvement Association.
“It’s good for restaurants, good for shops.”
The Brier Patch — a gigantic beer garden that has been a Brier staple for 30 years — will be located in the Kamloops Curling Club, at Seventh Avenue and Victoria Street.
That means spectators and partiers will likely spend at least a little bit of time on foot downtown, and Pooler said that will be good for business.
“Our downtown is the type that out-of-town visitors like to walk around in,” she said.
“So, it works. People will definitely be going out and walking around downtown.
“It’s good for our businesses, it’s good for the visitors — it’s good for everybody.”
According to Morris, one of the biggest benefits of Kamloops hosting the Brier will be the media coverage — hours and hours of high-definition beamed to millions of TVs across Canada for eight straight days.
“That’s a really important part of the reason we [Tourism Kamloops] came on board as a sponsor,” she said.
“And, there’s a commitment to them doing vignettes and that kind of thing as well, so that will be good for Kamloops.”
Read more about the return of the Brier to Kamloops here.