REGINA - It has been announced that Regina has been awarded the Brier in 2024. The event will take place March 1-10 2024 at the Brandt Centre.
The announcement was made Tuesday morning at the AGT Lounge in Mosaic Stadium, just across from the Brandt Centre, by Al Cameron, Director of Communications and Media Relations for Curling Canada. In making it official he noted the success of the previous Brier in 2018.
“The City of Regina, they knocked it out of the park the last time the Brier was played here four years ago,” said Cameron. “And they made it pretty obvious pretty early on that they wanted to bring a major event back here.”
This will be the sixth time the Brier has been hosted in Regina, which has also had experience hosting several other major curling events including the Scotties and World Championships. It was obvious the success of the last Brier was on the minds of curling officials.
"Curling fans are passionate in Regina, and in fact in the whole province of Saskatchewan," said Cameron. "You've got great ice, so a good facility to work with, so that's going to produce good curling that brings in fans."
It was also obvious Regina's ability to host events, particularly winter events, was a factor as well.
Regina has just come off the successful hosting of the 2022 Grey Cup and have had ample experience hosting events in recent years including this year's Federation of Canadian Municipalities convention and the annual Canadian Western Agribition. The city pointed to that experience as they pledged to provide a warm welcome to those attending the 2024 Brier.
“If you take care of the curling, we’re going to take care of everything else,” said Deputy Mayor Bob Hawkins representing the City. “Our hotels will show you the most comfortable of accommodations. Our wonderful volunteers will make sure that you know the way around, they’ll be there to greet you with a smile and every step along the way.”
The previous Brier had about 600 to 700 volunteers and the expectation is there will be a similar number for the 2024 event.
The plan is for the Brier to take over the Brandt Centre for two weeks and for other facilities at the REAL District to hold the associated social events and food all under one roof. The Brier Patch will be located in the International Trade Centre and there will be plenty of space for fans to go back and forth indoors.
The successful bid was a triumph for the Curl Regina Bid Committee who backed the effort to land the 2024 Brier.
“We were tremendously excited,” said Bernadette McIntyre, Chair of the Curl Regina Bid Committee, to reporters. “Coming out of COVID(-19), we want to have and host sporting events in Regina. I was on the leadership team for the 2022 Grey Cup. We need to keep this going, Tourism Regina, Tourism Saskatchewan, the City of Regina are all so supportive. We were just jumping up and down.”
She said one of the differences next time will be the engagement of the Indigenous community. "This is something we're all working towards because of Truth and Reconciliation," said McIntyre. "We're all looking forward to having and enhancing that cultural side of a major sporting event."
The event is expected to generate major economic activity for the City of Regina. It was noted this year’s Brier in Lethbridge generated $16.8 million in economic activity for that city. It is also expected to generate major exposure to the city on television through the coverage on TSN.
“Just 15 months from now, the Brier returns to the province that has the most diehard and loyal curling fans as well as the most dedicated and hard working volunteers,” said Jeremy Harrison, Minister Responsible for Tourism Saskatchewan. “Today’s announcement is great news for the tourism sector. Getting live events back on track and attracting out of province visitors are fundamental to building a strong visitor economy.”
Regina beat out a number of other Canadian cities bidding for the Brier; it was known Victoria, B.C. was among the bidders. As for why they came back to Regina so soon after the 2018 event, Cameron said it wasn't unheard of.
"They put in a great bid," said Cameron. "We were looking for the best possible bid and Regina put in the best possible bid."
In making the choice, Cameron pointed to the "great facility" in the Brandt Centre; as well, he noted significant support behind the bid saying that the City and the province had also stepped up.
Cameron also pointed to Bernadette McIntyre and the bid committee. "They know the ropes, so there's not a lot of training we have to do to put on an event."
For those interested in tickets or volunteering, it was also announced Tuesday that information will be released in early 2023. The expectation is the full event packages will be launched around February.