Contact us

Strathcona Cup 2023 - 1

The oldest international curling event* in the world is the Strathcona Cup, which is now contested between Scotland and Canada every 5 years. If the year ends with a “3”, a touring party of Scots travel to Canada, if it ends with an “8” Canadians travel to Scotland. On each occasion the tourists travel extensively in the host country, play a series of matches at different curling clubs and rinks and the Cup is awarded to the country that scores more points overall.

* Excluding internal UK “international” matches between Scotland and England which precede the Strathcona Cup.

Why is it called the Strathcona Cup? It is named after the Scottish emigrant to Canada who started his career as a fur trader and worked his way up to become one of the most influential and celebrated Canadians in history. See,_1st_Baron_Strathcona_and_Mount_Royal

The call for the 2023 Scottish tourists went out in late 2021, and with Elaine’s blessing I applied. I had to submit a “curling CV” indicating what I had contributed to the sport, as opposed to any actual successes on the ice. I was surprised and delighted to be invited to participate in the 2023 tour, following in the path of my own father John’s selection for the 1993 tour. In 1993 there were two sections of the Scottish tour, East and West, with each starting at the coast and meeting up in Ontario at the end. Due to the increased demand for places and the interest in hosting in Canada, in 2013 the Strathcona was enlarged to add a Central section too. So there were 60 places up for grabs, and I was allocated to the Central tour which was to visit Ontario and Quebec provinces. Here we had 20 curlers and these were divided into 5 teams A to E, which by popular acclaim were renamed with Scotch whisky distillery names: Auchentoshan, Balvenie, Craigellachie, Dalwhinnie and Edradour.  Craigellachie distillery was chosen to coincide with the name of the town in Canada where Lord Strathcona hammered in the last spike to complete the Canadian Pacific Railway in 1885.


The Strathcona Cup, in Edinburgh, January 2023. Team Edradour, Central tour. L-R Willie Paterson, John Stevenson, Alastair Fyfe, Iain Buchanan.

During 2022 there was much work done by the various planning committees. This included travel and accommodation to meet the schedule our Canadian hosts had established for us, uniform design and ordering, equipment, gifts for our hosts etc.

The Scottish tourists arranged a series of get-togethers during 2022, and with me being in Riyadh I was not able to get to any of them. So the first time I met my own team was in an hotel in Edinburgh on the eve of our departure. This was a celebration dinner where we were shown the actual Strathcona Cup (very impressive), and given a send-off pep-talk by the 2023 Tour Captain, RCCC President Mike Ferguson. 

The tour was also supporting the charity Doddie Aid (Motor Neurone Disease), and Eve Muirhead who is its Scottish North/Midlands ambassador came along to wish us all the best too. We wore our tour “No.1s” (RCCC blazer and tartan trews combination for official photographs.


A rose amongst thorns...Eve insists on a team photo

I learned later in Canada that MND is known there as Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), or Lou Gehrig's disease. Overall, we have managed to raise over £4,500 (so far - if anyone else wishes to donate to Doddie Aid  please go to ).

So off to Toronto via LHR on 6th January and we arrived there in a blizzard. The East tour then flew back to Halifax, and the West had gone separately to Vancouver. We were met by a welcome committee and after many missing bags issues had been sorted we set off by bus for our first night in the city.


Part of the welcome committee at YYZ: L-R Ken Armstrong (back turned), Andy Shatilla, Mark Inglis, Bill Baker (and a stray tourist).

These guys on the welcome committee (and others who had been on the 2018 tour to Scotland) invested a huge amount of time on our tour, and welcomed us to their own curling clubs, met us at official functions, accompanied us as hosts and couriers, and were so helpful and obliging. Thank you so much!

To be continued...

Contacting us is straightforward

* Email:

* Call Alastair Fyfe directly on 07785 370074 (UK) or +966 503095212