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Scottish curlers coming to Victoria to continue 120-year tradition

The Strathcona Cup Tour is returning to Canada in January, with one stop in Victoria
Pictured is the original 1903 Scottish curling contingent which toured Canada during the first Strathcona Cup Tour. On Jan. 15, 2023, a Scottish contingent will come to Victoria to play a test match at the Victoria Curling Club. (Courtesy of Andy Jarzebiak)

A curling tradition more than 100 years old is set to return to Victoria for one day only in January - for the first time since 2013.

On Jan. 15, a team from Scotland will play eight ends at the Victoria Curling Club as part of the 2024 Strathcona Cup Tour, which will see three Scottish contingents play at curling clubs across the country.

“It’s grown over the years, and this year is the first time there have been three contingents coming to Canada,” said Victoria tour spokesperson Andy Jarzebiak. “The western contingent is starting in Vancouver, plays at a number of clubs on the lower mainland, then they move over to Qualicum, and then Victoria for the 15th.”

The tour has been held since 1903 and takes place every five years, with Scotland and Canada taking turns hosting the other, and most stop taking place at the same clubs year after year to help strengthen ties. The tour features a mixture of test matches and social events at each stop, and is rife with traditions.

“They will come to our club, we’ll feed them lunch, and we have to perform a song, since there is always a song performed by the host club. We are doing a funny tune to Queen’s We Will Rock You,” said Jarzebiak. “After the first four ends of play, we’ll also be taking a break to go up to the lounge and taste some local whiskey.”

Jarzebiak said having the tour return to Victoria is exciting for the club and for the sport in general, as it helps grow the sport locally each tour year, and tightens the already close ties between the Canadian and Scottish curling clubs which have hosted tour stops over the years.

The Victoria match is scheduled to start at 1 p.m. on Jan. 15, 2023, and all are invited to attend. There will be no admission cost to watch the test match, however 50/50 draw tickets will be available for sale.

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Justin Samanski-Langille

About the Author: Justin Samanski-Langille

I moved coast-to-coast to discover and share the stories of the West Shore, joining Black Press in 2021 after four years as a reporter in New Brunswick.
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