Toques & Mittens bonspiel returns

Ethan Hobbs, pictured, and his mother Judy Woodrow host the fifth annual Toques & Mittens Bonspiel at the Chatham Granite Club Feb. 25. It’s a fundraiser for Shriners hospitals.

There is no expiration date on gratitude, according to a Chatham family that remains committed to thanking the Shriners Hospital for the care provided to two boys more than five years ago.

Judy Woodrow said without the care given her sons Eric and Ethan Hobbs, life would be much different today.

“We’ve been so fortunate,” she said. “Without the Shriners, Eric would have been facing major life-altering surgery and Ethan would have had difficulty walking.”

Instead, Eric became a recreational volleyball player, a sport he still enjoys at McMaster University, and Ethan is a curler on the Chatham-Kent Secondary School team.

Shortly after Eric’s successful treatment for scoliosis, Ethan, then in elementary school, raised money for the Shriners through a lemonade stand.

For the past four years, Ethan and his mom have held a Toques & Mittens Bonspiel at the Chatham Granite Club. The fifth annual event will take place Feb. 25.

To date, the family has raised more than $16,500 for the Shriners Hospital for Children in Montreal.

“The bonspiel has been a great way for us to thank the Shriners,” Woodrow said. “We’ve made so many friends and heard so many inspiring stories. We’re truly blessed.”

Ethan, a Patient Ambassador for the Shriners Hospital, has given speeches in support of the care he received.

“Shriners are dedicated to helping children,” he said. “I can’t say enough about the good they do.”

The one-day bonspiel is strictly a fun affair with curlers from ages seven to their mid 70s competing.

“We have families, old friends, high school students and people who just want to take part,” Woodrow said.

The event features two six-end games, lunch, dinner and entertainment. There will also be meat prizes and a silent auction.

This year the popular “Dueling Pianos” performers from last year’s Festival of Giving will be playing throughout the afternoon.

Non-curlers are welcome to come to the club, enjoy the music and bid on auction items. A limited number of dinner tickets are also available for $25.

“We still have a few places left for teams and individuals,” Woodrow said. “If you want to curl but don’t have a team, we will find you one.”

Registration, which closes the week before the event, is $55 per person or $220 per team. Donations are still being accepted for the silent auction.

For tickets and for more information, contact Woodrow at 519-365-1939 or


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