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Toronto’s TCA Goldline Men’s Curling Championships – the world’s largest curling bonspiel

curling rink

curling rink

This coming weekend the 2016 edition of the TCA Goldline Men’s Curling Championships kicks off with over 1,000 curlers at clubs across the Greater Toronto Area. A massive bonspiel, steeped in history, it is essentially the annual Toronto Open for the city’s top club curlers.

Annually contested since it kicked off in 1896

Amazing to think the TCA Goldline has been running continuously for well over a hundred years. It is the second longest running bonspiel in the world (Manitoba’s MCA spiel started in 1888). From Toronto Curling Association:

The TCA Men’s Championships are one of the world’s oldest continuous curling event. The winners of the first Championship was the Rennie Rink, from the Caledonia Curling club, in 1896. Prior to 1896, there was a city competition, but the format was different. At that time, 16 players threw 16 rocks, and there was no championship. The game was played by eight man teams throwing one rock each. As time went on the game changed and by the mid 1800’s, the most popular format of play was the Single Rink. A championship was proposed in 1895 and the first Single Rink Championship of Toronto was held in January of 1896. They played twenty-two ends on natural ice with straw brooms. The good news was you couldn’t sweep a rock until it reached the middle line. Hiram Walker sponsored the event in those early years before passing the torch to the Canada Life Assurance Company in 1906. Every January for the next eighty years, curlers assembled in clubs across the city to compete for the right to call themselves “Canada Life Champions.”

Known by many a name over the years

As discussed, the Hiram Walker distillery sponsored the spiel early on, followed Canada Life. For many years the bonspiel was known as the ‘Canada Life’.

Then in the mid nineties the Investors Group stepped in to sponsor the tournament. In 1998 a group of curlers from the Weston Golf and Country Club stepped up, until Brick Brewing Company stepped up as sponsor from 1999 – 2001.

From 2002 – 2009 the Johnson Controls company sponsored the bonspiel under it’s Energizer brand.

Then in 2010 the Goldline curling supply company stepped up to sponsor the event.

The TCA Men’s Championship today

The TCA Goldline Men’s Championships are open to all club-level teams from across the GTA and beyond. The bonspiel attracts teams of all calibres from clubs across the city. Last year it had over 260 teams participate with games hosted at 19 different curling clubs including Scaraboro, High Park, Leaside, Tam Heather, Dixie, Oakville, Cricket, Annandale, Unionville, East York and many more.

Events include 4 different competitions – Open, Senior (50+), Master (60+) and Grandmaster (70+).

For more information on the event please see the event page at TCA website:

Good luck to all the competitors!

Still struggles with the World Curling Tour

Kevin Martin

Kevin MartinInteresting reading the piece by George Karrys on the World Curling Tour about the pains still being felt despite the series rescue this past summer.

One subject of the WCT Great Debate has been blowing hot and cold for decades, and recently reared its ugly head during Tour Week 8 in early October.

Fans and Tour stakeholders alike — many of them anonymous — took to Twitter and web chat rooms to pass judgement on the supposed decline of the Westcoast Classic. The venerable Vancouver tour stop suddenly went from a 32-team men’s event and a prize purse of $80,000 to an 18-team tournament with lesser dollars, and a prime culprit was singled out: The Stu Sells Toronto Tankard, which has risen in profile (and attractiveness for top teams) in only three years of operation.

Edmonton titan Kevin Martin still went west — winning his third straight title and seventh of the last 12 years, ho hum — but a handful of other western squads, such as Manitoba’s Mike McEwen, Jeff Stoughton and Rob Fowler, chose to fly east to compete in Toronto.

Another villain, according to some, is the guy in charge of the Ontario Curling Tour: Gerry Geurts. The curling dynamo has helped build the attractiveness of the Tankard and other OCT events to the point that the same amount of Canadian Team Ranking Points (CTRS) are available in Toronto and at other OCT events as can be grabbed in other, more established WCT events — like Vancouver.

Despite the barbs that were traded in the social media space between team representatives hopefully this is something that will stabilize given Rogers Sportsnet ownership of the series. A dependable and healthy Grand Slam series is important for the sport, and hopefully it can seamlessly co-exist with other events, whether it be the Ontario Curling Tour or otherwise.
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Big year for Martin with Olympic Gold win

Kevin Martin

Kevin MartinKevin Martin and his Alberta rink sure did deliver in the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. They took the Olympic Golf for Men’s Curling and cemented their place in the hearts of Canadian curling fans everywhere.

Here’s a quick run-through of some of the memorable moments:

First off, a nice tap-back by Martin against Team USA in the round robin:

Next, Martin draws to the button for a win against Switzerland:

John Morris with a nice double in the Gold Medal game:

The crowd breaks out into ‘Oh Canada’ for the Gold Medal game:

And the Golden moment with Martin’s last shot:

Here is a better version from CTVOlympics, click here. (sorry, couldn’t embed)

Monday Night Curling

No this isn’t your Monday night rec league, but a funny clip of a classic SCTV skit with the (late) John Candy, Joe Flaherty, Eugene Levy and Rick Moranis. Great stuff – enjoy…

Observations: Day 1 of TSN Skins Game


  • First and foremost for the digital enthusiast: curling looks unbelievable in High Definition – this is marked as the first event to be broadcast 100% in HD
  • Semifinal #1: in a squirrelly game on the new ice Howard gets the breaks early and Middaugh gets them late, when it counts, and takes the first match
  • The Rama Entertainment centre ice, sitting on top of the room’s concrete floor, played as you would expect in the first game. But should be kenner by the time Sunday’s final rolls around
  • Is the best still to come for Wayne Middaugh: he seems to have just been ‘hanging around’ the high echelons on the game the past few years. Will we see Wayne take a run at a Brier or an Olympic berth in the next few seasons? I suppose he has to get out of Ontario (and by Glenn Howard’s team) first…
  • Remains to be seen is Howard’s team has the same magic as they did a season ago. maybe its time to switch up those white belts??

More later…

But was it cheating?

Calgary Herald columnist Al Cameron has launched a great new blog and today I noticed an interesting post he wrote about Russian skip Liudmila Privivkova’s team and an alleged (foot wedge) sweeping violation they committed that has caused somewhat of a stir:

Sweeping used to be the one big area where you’d find rulebreakers who used dumping techniques — in essence, moving debris in front of the rock with their brooms in an attempt to either slow it down or adjust its line — to some perceived advantage, although the big problem today, I think, is that nobody really understands the convoluted language of modern sweeping rules, so it’s tough to actually break the rules.

Here is the visual evidence from Youtube:

So, what do you think? We’d like to know.

For the record we think its looks a little suspicious and here is what Al Cameron thought:

First of all, I tip my cap to anyone who can use their foot that precisely to help make a shot, so I have an extremely hard time believing she did it on purpose. I believe it was purely accidental.

But — and this is a Sir Mix-A-Lot big but — I also have an extremely hard time believing she didn’t know her foot had touched the running stone, and therefore, it was up to Ezekh (the sweeper on left) to tell someone she’d done it. And, after a round of oh-so-Euro high-fives all around, she did no such thing. And that’s reprehensible. In Canada, a player who did that would be, quite rightly, ostracized as a cheat and would have a hard time finding a new team.

Looking for a Curling contributor!

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If you have something to say – we’ll give you the avenue to say it. Please drop us a line if you’re that person, we’d love to hear from you. This is a wonderful opportunity to talk about curling at a national level.

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