Curling in Toronto is a great activity with your friends in the winter
Now this is a little bit of a departure from my usual travel posts but since I’ll be spending a lot more time in my home town this year I’ll be writing a bit more about all the things I love about Toronto.
Usually I’m not the one amongst my friends to be organizing events. Usually someone else brings up an idea and coordinates it and I just tag along. In years past as a consultant, it was always tricky coordinating when I’d actually be in town and when stuff was happening with my friends. As a result, I missed my share of birthdays, cottage outings, camping trips and other hangouts.
The beauty of working on my own startup and more importantly being more planted at home here in Toronto, I thought I’d try to coordinate something a little different with my friends. And so this is where I ended up geting the idea to book a few sheets of ice to try our hand at curling.
Curling is one of those sports that in theory seems ridiculously boring but a few of us found out how exciting it actually could be watching curling during the Vancouver Olympics in 2010. Now it was our turn to try it out. Here’s a bit of a breakdown of how it was.
I started looking around and a friend recommended the Leaside Curling Club so I called them up first.
Smart tip: Book your sheets early. Because most of these clubs only open sheets to the public on weekends for the season, they fill up very fast…faster than you think.
Leaside Curling Club Details:
- 2 sheets for 2 hours = $257.07
- 1 instructor = $40/hour x2 (recommended 2)
- Total = $337.07
- Per person = $21
Another friend then recommended the Richmond Hill Curling Club so I called them up too.
- 2 sheets for 2 hours = $260
- 1 Instructor = $50 (they said 1 was good enough)
- Subtotal = $310
- HST = $40.30
- Total = $350.30
- Per person = $21.89
Eventually we ended up choosing the Richmond Hill Curling Club just because they had the dates that worked for everyone. You’ll find the prices are more or less the same across the board. Looking back at the price comparison here, I think Leaside would have been cheaper.
Gathering the Troops
This was probably the hardest part. What made it hard was that each sheet requires 8 to make a 4 on 4 team. I sent out a group email and got responses that tipped past 8 which meant that in order to accommodate everyone and make it work, we’d need to recruit 16.
It took a bit of hustling but eventually I was able to get 16 to commit to curling at least 2 months in advanced. My original e-mail was February 6 and we didn’t go until April 6. Huge lead times but that’s just how it’s gotta be done because of how quickly the sheets get booked up.
In 2 words…hella fun!
There were only a few of us that had done it before so most of us were complete noobs. Our instructor started us off with a basic introduction to the game, sweeping technique and then throwing a rock.
Literally after that we split into teams of 4 and started playing a real game. The rest our time there was filled with rocks thrown too hard, too soft, slipping and falling on our ass and brushing that seemed to do nothing. Oh let me tell you curling is actually pretty damn hard. You have to finesse the rock down the sheet and then the sweeping is nothing like using a Swiffer. You have to put your whole body down on it and sweep like an insane robot gone berserk. Watching our instructor do it, I still had no idea by the end of it all how they were able to sweep with so much force and speed. My arms capped out at a certain speed and locked in.
Our instructor stayed with us the entire time and she must’ve recognized how terribly our team was playing because she helped us get some points on some plays. Dan and Stephen were definitely the two pros of the group. Our team got rocked by Stephen’s team.
Smart tip: Make sure you tell everyone to wear indoor shoes and comfortable pants. They get pretty anal about dirty shoes so bring those indoor gym shoes. You’ll also be doing a lot of bending with sweeping and throwing so wear sweatpants. It could also get a bit cold so definitely bring gloves and a fleece layer or jacket.
We all definitely had a blast through our trial and error. It’s not something you get to play everyday, is actually quite challenging but allows for enough goofiness that you can have a godo time with a bunch of friends.
A few friends noted that they were feeling a bit sore the next day so expect to be exerting some good energy out there.
See if your own city has local curling rink and book a sheet!