A new annual award will makes its debut tonight at the North Bay Sports Hall of Fame Induction and Awards Dinner taking place at the Best Western.
Doris Toswell will present the inaugural John Toswell Memorial Award to someone who has contributed significantly to the sport of curling in North Bay over three decades. This person is a builder, an instructor, and a competitor; but most of all is a friend of curling.
Mark Robin Brown was born and raised in North Bay, Ontario; is a father of three and is an alumnus of Chippewa Secondary School and Canadore College.
Presently the owner of MRB Finance, Mark enjoys spending his leisure time curling and playing golf. Mark is also a super volunteer donating his bookkeeping services to the North Bay Granite Club while acting as Treasurer (2015 – 2016) and currently President of the Board of Directors. In the 2015-2016 curling season alone, Mark was also chairman of the club’s Management Committee, chairman of the 2016 Traveler’s Northern Ontario Men’s Curling Championship (featuring Olympic gold medalists Team Brad Jacobs), and was a volunteer instructor with the club’s Adult Learn to Curl program which introduced over thirty-five new curlers to the sport over a twelve-week period.
Having been a member since 1974, Manager of the club from 1983 – 1997, bookkeeper from 1998 – 2010, and administrator from 2010 – 2013, Mark remains the “go-to” person at the club. He knows the answers to everyone’s questions and gets whatever is needed done quickly and done well.
For as long as Mark has been involved professionally in curling, he has always gone beyond his job description to be an exemplary volunteer at the club and within its supporting non-profit organizations.
In 1992 Mark took on his first volunteer role outside of the club as the Marketing Delegate for Curling Canada (Canadian Curling Association at the time). He also contributed four years of service to the Northern Ontario Curling Association Board of Directors as Vice-President (1994 and 1995) and President (1996 and 1997).
Mark would go on to chair four provincial championships hosted by the North Bay Granite Club: one Junior, one Senior and two Men’s Provincials (2001 and 2016); and when the Granite Club had the privilege of hosting the Canadian Mixed Curling Championships in November 2014, Mark was Secretary and Head Statistician.
The Granite Club’s famous Jamaica Bonspiel, which ran up until 2014, had always generated one of the club’s largest sources of revenue and Mark was the chairman of (what he claims is) too many to count.
And for every title Mark has ever held, he’s accomplished twice as many jobs behind the scenes. A little unknown fact about Mark is that he finds painting walls to be therapeutic, so if you ever walk by an area of the club that looks like it got a fresh coat, you can thank Mark, and whoever stressed him out.
Mark is also an accomplished curler having reached association level junior playdowns in 1975, as lead for Don Studhome, and a men’s provincial as vice for Gilles Allaire in 2001. Mark has also skipped teams to a men’s association in 1988 and five senior men’s provincials (in 2010, 2012, 2013, 2015 and 2016).
Locally Mark is a three-time champion of the Scott Patterson Memorial Cash League Trophy, which is awarded to the winning team in the club’s most competitive league.
When asked to reflect on his fondest memories and final thoughts on over thirty years of service to the North Bay Granite Club, Mark says he had always considered himself fortunate to work in what he felt was a dream job. It led to so many opportunities on and off the ice, in addition to meeting so many great people and lifelong friends. His most memorable moment: attending four Briers as a delegate for the Northern Ontario Curling Association.
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