People around the world know how important the game of hockey is to Toronto, but there is another ice sport that also gets a great deal of attention in the city and across the rest of Canada…Curling. Curling in Toronto is a huge past-time.

Both the Scots and Europeans have claimed they established the curling craze, yet history shows that Canada has produced some of the world’s best players. 

In fact, Toronto has been the home base for many high level competitors training for big bonspiels. World and Olympic champions like Edie Werenich, Paul Savage, John Kawaja, Jeff Ryan and Garth Smith have all played the game here in the city of Toronto.

What is Curling

For those who are new to the sport of curling, here’s how it works; 

* Players slide special curling stones across a sheet of ice towards a target area. 

* Each team has 8 stones or as some people call them, rocks. 

* You must accumulate the highest score in order to beat the opposing team. 

* Points are scored for the stones resting closest to the centre of the target at the conclusion of each end. 

* Curling games consist of 8 to 10 ends. It takes a great deal of teamwork and careful strategy to play this game well. 

The website www.mycurling.com can teach you how to play, will explain the science behind curling, and lists televised games. It can be a helpful site for newcomers to the sport.

Where to Learn & Play

There are many Toronto curling clubs where you can learn and play the game. The Toronto Curling Association has a mandate to promote the sport in the city and throughout the GTA. 

TCA clubs can be rented out to any groups who want to curl. For more information on the association go to www.torontocurling.com.

Since the sport has grown in popularity, there are great opportunities to learn through the clubs, as well as schools in Toronto. For example, one of the best known institutions in the city, the University of Toronto, accepts beginners all the way up to varsity level. Visit www.curling.sa.utoronto.ca for more information. 

Curling Clubs

Almost every corner of the city has a designated curling venue. Below is a list of the better known curling clubs, but to get an extensive list you can check out www.curlingrink.ca

* Donalda Curling Club

* Leaside Curling Club

* Granite Club

* Tam Heather Curling and Tennis Club

* Royal Canadian Curling Club

* Toronto Cricket, Skating and Curling Club

* York Curling Club

* Brampton Curling Club

* Oshawa Curling Club

* Unionville Curling Club

In addition to clubs and directions, the site publishes the latest news on the sport of curling and curling events.

Curling Gear

If you are just starting out in the sport, you might want to consider using a friends curling gear. This way you have a chance to check out the required equipment and get a sense of whether or not you want to invest more time and money in the game. 

Curling gear includes brooms, bags, grippers, brushes, gloves, pants, shirts and jackets. There is also a large supply of accessories for the sport of curling. 

Supplies should not be difficult to find in a city that is passionate about the sport. Toronto’s Spokes and Sports is a popular source for curling gear and you can also check out www.goldline.ca; a Mississauga based curling equipment provider.  Some Toronto clubs sell gear as well. 

Like any sport, Toronto curling or as some refer to it “Chess on Ice”, can be an expensive sport. Some Toronto sporting goods stores also sell used curling gear.

Curling Common Terms

To be involved in the sport in Toronto you have to become familiar with some common curling terminology. The word bonspiel is used to describe tournaments. 

Bonspiel comes from the Scottish Gaelic term league or match. One of the biggest bonspiels is called the Brier; the Canadian Men’s Curling Championship. The Canadian Women’s Curling Championship bonspiel is called Scotties Tournament of Hearts. 

There are over 100 different terms used in the game of curling, some of which are more common than others. A few examples are listed below.

* Across the face

        (Refers to the shooter hitting the object stone from where the broom was placed)

* Back Board (The border at the extreme ends of the sheet of ice)

* Buried (A rock that is hidden behind another rock)

* Cashspiel (A tournament with large entry fees and large prizes)

* Coming Home (Going into the final end)

* Die (A call from the skip of the team to the sweeper to stop sweeping a rock)

* Hack (A foothold device where the player that throws the rock pushes off for delivery of the rock)

* House (The 3 circles where points are scored)

Toronto curling players have often described the sport as physically demanding and psychologically challenging. If you have an interest in the sport of curling, Toronto offers you many great opportunities to enjoy the game.