We were fortunate enough that this year the Scotties were being held in Kingston which is less than 2 hours away. It was our chance lots of curling being played by some of the finest teams from across Canada on beautiful fast arena ice. Luckily the weather on the first weekend cooperated. We were able to go see the first two draws on Saturday and one draw on Monday (family day).
A couple of comments on the venue. The arena is right downtown Kingston; right beside the Food Basics grocery store. It is a new arena. However, the “patch” was a good 10 min drive away. Yes, there were shuttle buses but it was hard to get people to go there when most of the hotels and restaurants and bars were downtown. Another problem was that the shuttle buses mostly only ran before and after each draw.
Tickets for each draw were advertised as 20 dollars…well if you tried to get tickets online, with admin fees and convenience fees…it added up to a whopping 28 dollars. 8 dollars on a 20 dollar ticket…that is criminal. Needless to say, we took our chances and got the 20 dollar tickets at the box office. The only draw that was busy was the first draw.
Merchandising at the Scotties could have been done better…it was mostly very expensive jackets and tops with two tables of knicknacks such as mugs, glasses. The hot item was the fleece curling rock hat at 30 dollars which sold out the first Saturday night. Unfortunately, we heard that they were not bringing in anymore. I’m sure that they could have sold 3 times more hats during the week and the final weekend.
The best food for the money at the arena was the handcut fries at 4 dollars. Add cheese and gravy at 6.50 or chili and cheese at 6.50. Best to get them upstairs above the seats as you get a much larger portion for the money. The worst value would be the small popcorn for 3 dollars. Premium tall boys (Creemore springs etc) set you back at 9 dollars.
One nice thing about the venue is that it is close to many restaurants. Our first dinner was at Olivea at the corner of King and Brock. Rick’s lamb shank was excellent; my arctic char was done perfectly on top of puy lentils. Kai’s pasta with butter sauce was perfect. The service was excellent. For dessert we shared a creme brule.
Our second dinner was at Le chien noir bistro on Brock street. The burger I had with an easy over egg was huge and extremely tasty ( a guy’s burger). The lobster meatballs on spaghetti was heavenly. The ice cream sundae with maple syrup and caramelized walnuts over homemade maple ice cream was great to share.
Oh yeah..the curling was very entertaining. I enjoyed watching 4 games at once (really it was three games as we knew we were taping the tv game) and being able to hear many of the comments between the front and back ends. The different practice regiments were of interest to (coach) Rick.