‘It’s truly transformative’ — Curl Sudbury cuts ribbon on new concrete floor

Facility can now be used all year round

From left, Jason Bissonnette, president of the board of directors for Curl Sudbury, Kevin McCormick, a member of the Ontario Trillium Foundation grant review team, and Jamie West, the MPP for Sudbury, take part in a ribbon-cutting ceremony to open Curl Sudbury's new concrete floor. Ben Leeson/The Sudbury Star/Postmedia Network

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At a quick glance, one would hardly have known that Curl Sudbury had undergone a major transformation.

Upon closer examination, details of the club’s off-season renovation began to command notice — new doors on the ice room, paint on the rink walls, rebuilt and newly carpeted walkways, even a new scoreboard.

Under the ice sheets, however, the key to Curl Sudbury’s change from a winter to a year-round facility remained hidden from view — a brand-new concrete floor, the product of a summer’s worth of hard work, as well as a substantial grant from the Ontario Trillium Foundation.

“A lot has happened since the final rocks were thrown in April,” said Jason Bissonnette, president of the board of directors at Curl Sudbury, shortly before a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Tuesday morning. “It has been an incredibly busy summer at Curl Sudbury, and not for the events that have taken place in the lounge here, on this side, but for construction that happened in the rink all summer long.”

The club was awarded a $150,000 development grant through the OTF last spring, to replace its sand floor with concrete. Construction began in May and the floor was poured in late August.

“Old pipes were removed, sand was excavated and compacted, new insulation was laid and a bit of rebar, pipe and wire mesh were put in place, before the concrete pour which took place on Aug. 20,” said Bissonnette, who also detailed several cosmetic upgrades to the building.

“Quite the transformation took place and our facility looks absolutely stunning.”

He made a point of thanking the volunteers whose efforts made the project possible.

“A lot of blood, sweat and even a few tears were shed this summer,” Bissonnette said. “There was a few misty eyes on the morning that concrete truck showed up to pour the concrete, covering up all our hard work.

“Whether you were here for one hour or spent most of your summer here, thank you.”

Aside from curling itself, facilities at the former Sudbury Curling Club are used by a variety of community organizations for meetings, celebrations and fundraisers. Now, thanks to the OTF’s financial support, the building’s floor can be used all year round to host a variety of clubs and leagues, including those catering to youth and seniors.

“The impact of the Ontario Trillium Foundation Grant cannot be underestimated,” Bissonnette said. “This grant has effectively turned us from a six-month facility to a 12-month facility and will allow us to promote physical activity to our community all year long. OTF has allowed us to serve our community better.”

Bissonnette was joined for Tuesday’s ceremony by members of the Curl Sudbury staff, including manager and chief ice technician Tom Leonard, as well as Kevin McCormick, a member of the OTF grant review team, and Jamie West, the MPP for Sudbury.

“When you see all the volunteers and the volunteer hours and the effort that went into it, it really highlights the community of Sudbury and how we come together,” West said. “And really, the secret ingredient to this floor is love. It sounds corny to say, but it really is, to put that many hours in and to put your heart and soul in it, and to help improve a community centre like this, it really comes down to community caring about community.”

McCormick said facilities such as Curl Sudbury not only create and sustain community, but also an opportunity for physical fitness at all levels.

“The Ontario Trillium Foundation is committed to ensuring, in giving out over $100 million in communities across Ontario, that these types of initiatives are supported,” McCormick added. “When I see the many volunteers, who put in the hour to the full (summer), I see people who give up their time, and they’re not giving up their time because they’re being paid and compensated, but they’re doing it because they care about this organization. And I think, in speaking with Jason and the other board members today, what’s truly amazing is that what you have done is transformative. It’s one part moving forward, but it’s truly transformative. I understand this surface will provide opportunities for other kinds of community events, and that’s what’s important, when the Ontario Trillium Foundation is looking to support truly inspirational organizations and initiatives, that it transforms the lives of individuals and the communities in which they exist.”

The Ontario Trillium Foundation is an agency of the Government of Ontario, and one of Canada’s leading granting foundations. It awarded $108 million to 629 projects last year. For more information, visit www.otf.ca.

For more about Curl Sudbury, head to www.curlsudbury.ca.


Twitter: @ben_leeson