Thunder Bay has won the right to host the 2021 Scotties Tournament of Hearts.
Curling Canada made the announcement official on Tuesday after a successful bid process. The event will be held at Fort William Gardens, Feb. 19-28, 2021. It’s the first time the Lakehead will host the Canadian women’s curling championship in 25 years.
“It does come down to the bid,” said Curling Canada executive director Katherine Henderson at a press conference. “It’s a great venue, a great community, tremendous volunteers and a really great business community that wants to support us and of course the history and the heritage of the curlers from here just made it a real natural choice for us.”
Organizers are expecting crowds to pass the 45,000 mark over the nine-day bonspiel, which will be broadcast around the country on TSN.
Thunder Bay last hosted the Tournament of Hearts in 1996. Ontario’s Marilyn Bodogh won the championship that year. Since 2015, Northern Ontario has had its own representative at the nationals. Thunder Bay’s Krista McCarville has guided her teams to the Scotties in three of the last four seasons.
The winner of the 2021 Scotties will receive a direct berth into the 2021 Tim Hortons Roar of the Rings in Saskatoon, where teams will attempt to qualify for the Winter Olympics in Beijing being held the following year.
The last major national or international curling championship in Thunder Bay was the 2006 Canadian Juniors.