By Nathan Ross
There will be no repeat hosts for any major event in Quidditch Canada (QC) for the 2017-18 season.
On May 12, Quidditch Canada released its finalists for the host cities for the National Championship as well as the Eastern and Western Regional Championships. There are six finalists for the National Championship, and five and three finalists for the Eastern and Western Regional Championships respectively.
An interesting note is that most bids have different weekends attached, meaning that while Canadians can start fantasizing about which city they might travel to, they still don’t really know what their upcoming season will look like.
Every province from British Columbia to Quebec has a bid, save for Saskatchewan. Maybe one year Quidditch Canada will get to experience Regina, but not this year.
After the high bar that Victoria maintained during its turn as host, six cities look to carry the torch for Quidditch Canada’s biggest event. There are three proposed weekends across the six cities, so the National Championship will take place sometime between March 17 and April 1.
Should the event decide to make life difficult again for eastern teams, there are two British Columbian finalists in Kelowna and Abbotsford. The city of Abbotsford is no stranger to QC events, having hosted the 2015-16 Western Regional Championship. That same year was the last time Kelowna saw any official action as well, with the Rocky Mountain Rumble being held there earlier in the season. While the two are both in British Columbia, they are about a four hour drive apart making them distinctly separate bids.
However, the tradition so far has been to alternate host cities between the east and west, which makes it unlikely that the bid will go back to British Columbia. As far as the eastern bids go, Hamilton, Kingston, and Montréal have all cracked the top six. It would be odd to have Kingston host again after doing so in 2016, but perhaps there is a chance that Quidditch Canada liked what it saw and want something familiar.
If QC was looking for something new, Montréal is likely the sexiest pick on the list, and could draw out more teams looking to also visit and extend their time beyond just coming for the National Championship. However, Canadian Football League fans – all 17 of them – might push hard for Hamilton, as one of the proposed field locations in that city is the brand new Tim Hortons Field: home of the Hamilton Tiger Cats and upwards of 24,000 (which is just what Quidditch Canada needs because of how many fans swarm these events). Perhaps QC could get the Arkells to sing the anthems?
And yet, the last option is the most intriguing. For years, players from both east and west have suggested that Quidditch Canada should make travel inconvenient for everyone, and there is a chance that comes true this year should Winnipeg host the Quidditch Canada National Championship. Just maybe, everyone will have to pay $350 CAD round trip for their flights instead of hoping that two brave teams will shell out $550 CAD (if they’re lucky) for a flight across the country. (What I wouldn’t give for this country’s reign of oligopolies to end, but this is a piece about quidditch and not my dreams of socialism). It would give the chance for the Winnipeg Whomping Willows – one of Canada’s forgotten teams thanks to their proximity to no one – to be a part of the conversation in Canada and potentially rise to the occasion as we saw with the growth and improvement of the Valkyries when Victoria hosted and for Winnipeg to get a reputation other than being the most racist city in Canada.
My totally unfounded prediction: Winnipeg
EASTERN REGIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP
Will the road to the National Championship lead through Toronto, or at least the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), again for eastern teams? With the majority of the bids coming from that area, there is a good chance that Toronto remains the centre of the (quidditch) universe, although there are no guarantees Quidditch Canada will not change things up.
First, let’s start with the GTA. Should Quidditch Canada decide it wants to only slightly shift the location of the Eastern Regional Championship, it has options. Not only have Oshawa, (not to be confused with the nation’s capital) and Brampton placed bids, but specifically “Downtown Toronto” has also placed a bid; “Suburban Toronto” didn’t make the cut. All of the proposed Toronto locales have their regional championship in November, so if that is the case, teams could hope to take advantage of Ontario’s gorgeous autumn.
Not to be outdone, Kingston has also placed a regional bid to go along with its national bid, hedging its bets in hopes of getting one of QC’s major events. However, Kingston’s proposed regional championships take place in February, which would leave little turnaround time for teams before the National Championship, should they want to change their gameplay or tweak their rosters.
Finally, should Quidditch Canada decide it wants to have an autumnal regional championship but spurn Ontario, Montréal rounds out the finalists. Similar to Kingston, this is a repeat finalist, so there are plenty of chances for teams to find the best poutine in the city and to debate whether St-Viateur bagels or Fairmount bagels are the better Montréal bagel. (Just kidding, it’s no debate, it’s Fairmount!)
My totally unfounded prediction: Bagels (Montréal)
WESTERN REGIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP
Last season, we saw the Edmonton Aurors join the Edmonton Eskimos and this boy band as teams who make Edmonton the “City of Champions.” What better way for the Aurors to start their title defence by hosting the Western Canada Regional Championship? Since every Western Regional after the first one has been held in British Columbia, it would be nice to see Alberta get a chance to host. One big difference between Edmonton and the other bids is that Edmonton is like Kingston in that its proposed dates are in February, which could be the difference-maker here.
If, however, the Western Regional Championship stays in British Columbia, the options are Abbotsford and Kelowna, rounding out the cities who have both a regional and a national bid. Seeing as travel has become an unfair advantage to the teams in the Lower Mainland, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Kelowna get the edge over Abbotsford. One thing to take note of regarding Kelowna’s bid, though, is that it is the earliest of any bid, proposing the last weekend in October. That is a very quick start to the season for teams who are going to get new players and will have to catch them up to the level of the Aurors and the UBC Thunderbirds Quidditch Sport Club.
My totally unfounded prediction: Abbotsford, if only because October and February do not seem like the right months for regional championships.
Stay tuned as Quidditch Canada releases who has won all the bids on July 15.