Melfort ready for Curling Day in Canada

Don Healy/Regina Leader-Post. Pat Simmons, shown here playing for Team Saskatchewan at the 2006 Brier in Regina, will be in Melfort on Feb. 24 to celebrate Curling Day in Canada.

Carol Baldwin, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Wakaw Recorder

Taking a page from Hockey Canada’s playbook, Curling Canada is ready to celebrate with Curling Day in Canada on February 24, 2024, in Melfort. The day will include curling celebrity meet and greet opportunities along with numerous free events and a chance to participate in Melfort’s “epic” funspiel. 

This national celebration of the sport of curling will also be broadcast as a special live event on TSN. A reporter and mobile cameraperson will be capturing the festivities throughout the afternoon before Bob Weekes starts the live on-air broadcast at 4 pm. Organizers are encouraging people to “fill the background” in the Northern Lights Palace to show people across Canada just how much Melfort loves curling.

The official festivities get underway at 2 pm at the Northern Lights Palace and at Melfort’s Memorial Gardens where crokicurl, sleigh rides, and hot chocolate will be available. Other free activities will include bouncy castles, street curling, photo opportunities with the Brier Tankard, live music, and a Scotties watch party. At 2:30 pm at the Northern Lights Palace, there will be a special send-off presentation for the Melfort Special Olympics team as they prepare to head out for the Winter Games in Calgary.

Celebrity curlers making an appearance in Melfort include Jill Officer, the current chair of the World Curling Athlete Commission. Of course, Officer also has a few championships under her belt. As second on the Jennifer Jones team, Jill Officer won an Olympic Gold medal, claimed a world champion status twice, and was a six-time Scotties Tournament of Hearts champion.

Two-time Brier champion and Grand Slam Champion, Pat Simmons, will also be in Melfort on the 24th. Both Jill Officer and Pat Simmons will be on the ice for the Try Curling! clinics being led by Curling Canada’s Bobby Ray and Dustin Mikush, which will cater to all ages and skill levels.

As of Feb. 9, spots in the Two-Person Stick Clinic were filled, but there were still spaces available in the Youth and Adult Clinics. Contact the Melfort Curling Club for more information.

At 3 pm, in the Bourgault Curling Centre, the Community Curling Showdown will gear up featuring six matches between twelve businesses and municipalities. In a fun four-end curling game, competitors will face off and try to take home the bragging rights for winning the showdown. The Festival Funspiel will take over the pebbled surface at 5:00 pm. With no experience necessary, the emphasis will be on fun with short four-end games and music on the ice. Registration is open for teams of four or individuals wanting to join in the fun.

The day rounds out with a cabaret at Northern Lights Palace. The band Rock Candy will take to the stage to provide live music. The doors open at 8:00 pm and the band will start at 9:00 pm.

Do not miss a chance to get in on the 50/50 Raffle with a $10,000 guaranteed jackpot, sponsored by Worley Hoppers! The maximum jackpot is $100,000 and the draw will be held at 4:30 pm at the Northern Lights Palace. The winner does not need to attend the draw time to qualify. Tickets are available in-person at the festival, or before the festival by calling 306-921-6897, or by sending an e-transfer to

Funds raised from the 50/50 will go towards the front entrance accessibility and washroom renovation project. First announced in June of 2022, the complete Revitalization Project focused on the replacement of the ice plant, a roof retrofit, the reconfiguration of the front entrance and installation of a lift, a lighting upgrade to LED lights, interior renovations, and a mural project that saw the youth curlers leading the fundraising.

Phase 1 involved the replacement of the ice plant and the roof retrofit. The Bourgault Curling Centre and the Melfort Curling Club are independent of the City of Melfort, but partner with schools and the Special Olympics as a community hub where numerous local organizations host their fundraisers, and special events like wedding receptions are held. Having been approved for a $100,000 federal Enabling Accessibility Fund Grant, renovations will need to be completed by October 2024. Highlights of Phase 2 of the Revitalization Project include reconfiguration of the front entrance and installation of a vertical lift, renovations to the washroom and lounge, reconstruction of the ice surface ramp, and LED lighting and sound system upgrades.