While some people may think that major events like the World Men’s Curling Championships just happen on their own, those in the know understand that there is a full team of dedicated people working to bring these events to Ottawa. Rob Kawamoto, Ottawa Tourism’s assistant director of major events and sport, works to identify these types of opportunities for our city.
“When the RFPs are released or we hear about an event that would be a good fit for Ottawa, we make sure we’re on their list,” he said.
Kawamoto knows that putting Ottawa’s best foot forward takes a collaborative effort between multiple stakeholders. It helps that he’s making those connections year round, not just when an event pops up on their radar.
Why bring a world curling event to Ottawa?
Kawamoto started putting these curling rocks in motion some time ago, successfully bidding on the 2021 championships – which were inevitably moved to the curling bubble in Calgary.
Two years in the making, Kawamoto and the city are excited to finally welcome the event to the capital.
“Ottawa’s a great curling city and the Ottawa Valley Curling Association and CurlON are great partners,” said Nolan Thiessen, executive director of marketing & fan experience with Curling Canada, noting Ottawa’s track record of success when hosting the 2016 Brier and 2017 Canadian Curling Trials.
“Come and try it!” Thiessen added, encouraging those new to the sport of curling to get involved. “It’s much harder than these athletes make it seem, but so much fun.”
Being the nation’s capital with ample space and top-tier amenities to host athletes along with their families and coaches doesn’t hurt when it comes to landing an international event.
“We worked with Curling Canada to connect with international embassies so they knew their men’s team would be competing,” said Kawamoto. “When the diplomats send the news back to their home country, they’ll be talking about what’s happening in Ottawa all over the world.”
What does it mean for Ottawa businesses?
The influx of people will bring fresh revenue to Ottawa’s hard-hit small business and tourism sector.
“Curling Canada prides itself on the economic activity our events of this scale bring,” said Thiessen. “The Brier hosted in Lethbridge last year was of a similar size and it brought $16.8 million into the community.”
Kawamoto notes the broader community impact. “Events like this have a social impact by engaging a large community of volunteers,” he said, also mentioning the immense energy and spirit an event like this injects into the city.
How can my business join the action?
With the event weeks away, Ottawa businesses still have time to get involved in the festivity.
Whether you’re in the hospitality industry or provide products and services that curlers and their fans will enjoy, it’s time to seize the day by creating a buzz on social media.
“It sends a message to event organizers that when they go to Ottawa, they’re going to get a lot of support,” Kawamoto says, making it easier to win more bids in the future.
Kawamoto also recommends looking ahead to future events, like the Masters Indigenous Games coming to Ottawa in August 2023 or even the IWBF Wheelchair Basketball World Championships in 2026. In addition to ensuring these visitors can access your business, those who specialize in serving this community can reach out to the Major Events Team at Ottawa Tourism to tell them what they have to offer.
“During the Canada Para-badminton International last year, we had a business that offers massage therapy for para-athletes reach out to us,” said Kawamoto. “I was able to connect them with the event organizers.”
With Kawamoto and his team planning 10 years ahead, he encourages businesses to do the same.
“The goal is to attract the events that produce the best benefit to our community,” he added. “Any business or organization who wants to suggest an event can reach us through our online portal.”
Get your tickets for the World Men’s Curling Championship today!