Liverpool gets ready for World Junior Curling Championships to sweep into town


Organizers are hurrying hard to get ready for the World Junior Curling Championships that will be hosted in February 2019 in Liverpool, N.S. 

There's a litany of things to do.

Business sponsorships need to hunted down, an inventory of all the accommodations on the South Shore needs to be completed and volunteers must be found, according to Donna Hatt, who has been working with the local group responsible for the event.

"It isn't often that the World Junior Curling Championships even come to Canada," said Hatt. "In 2019, it will mark the 10th anniversary that that event has even been in Canada. It's always in Europe."     

The Liverpool Championship Host Society has been busy sorting out all the details. It has already secured $300,000 from three levels of government to get the tournament off the ground. 

The Region of Queens Municipality has put in $50,000, the province gave $100,000 and the federal government dished out $150,000, according to David Dagley, the mayor of the municipality.

"World junior curling will not only put Queens on the world map but it will spin off into Lunenburg County, Shelburne County for accommodations. It will be a large event with a huge number of attendees," said Dagley.

Thousands of people are expected to descend on Liverpool to see the world's best curlers under the age of 21. Teams from China, Great Britain, Germany, the U.S. and other countries are expected to attend.

Their presence could result in at least $1.5 million in economic spinoffs for the South Shore, said Dagley.

"I'm hoping that many of those individuals will check us out this year prior to the 2019 world junior curling and, yes, I'm expecting that those that don't will have a look later to come back and have a nice visit."

The actual curling action will go ahead at the Queens Place Emera Centre. It houses an NHL-sized hockey rink, which will be converted to curling ice sheets for the championships. 

This won't be the first time Liverpool hosted a big curling event — in 2014 the community stepped up to host the Canadian Junior Curling Championships.

As that event wrapped up people started asking what the community could host next. Hatt said Greg Thorburn, who chaired the Canadian Juniors event, said the only way to raise the bar was to go after the world juniors.

"It was suggested to us that you probably can't get the worlds because they don't leave Europe all that often at all. I guess that was probably the one challenge that perhaps Greg Thorburn and a few others needed," said Hatt. 

In the end, the group managed to put together a bang-up bid that won over the World Curling Federation.  

To pull the event off 200 volunteers will need to come forward to help. Hatt expects recruitment to start this fall.

The World Junior Curling Championships in Liverpool will run from Feb. 17 to 24.


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