Carrying on Linda’s Dream

Woman holding plush toys

Fun women’s bonspiel continues to support a serious cause

A committed group of women are keeping up the fight against breast cancer in honour of Linda Buchan, who started the Bearskin Airlines Hope Classic curling bonspiel 19 years ago.

In 1996, Linda Buchan, who had undergone breast cancer treatment, was approached by Barb Crooks, a breast cancer survivor, about starting a women’s bonspiel to raise money for the Breast Cancer Support Group. After a year of planning and with support from Cliff Friesen of Bearskin Airlines, the first annual Bearskin Airlines Hope Classic was held at the Fort William Club on 1997.

Linda passed away on December 11, 2002 just before the 7th Annual Bearskin Airlines Hope Classic, and although it was extremely difficult for the organizing committee members, they all agreed to carry on with Linda’s dream.

To date, the event has raised over $2.5-million for state-of-the-art breast imaging equipment to ensure that the women in Northwestern Ontario have access to exceptional breast screening and assessment services close to home.

This bonspiel is one of the most popular women’s bonspiels in Thunder Bay and all money raised is donated to the Linda Buchan Centre for breast cancer screening and assessment through the Exceptional Cancer Care Campaign of the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Foundation.

“This weekend event is more about fun than the sport of curling,” says Sue Childs, longstanding Chair of the organizing committee. “The party lasts from the first games on Friday to the closing ceremony Sunday night.”

Spots are still open for teams to join the fun in the 19th annual Bearskin Airlines Hope Classic, being held February 6th-8th, 2015 at the Fort William Curling Club. Teams can register at the local curling clubs. Registration forms are available at the clubs and online at

For more information, contact Sue Childs at