Valentine’s Day event draws 650 people

Speed datingIt’s Valentine’s Day, and hundreds of men and women mill around the Telus Spark science centre awaiting the first event of its kind in Calgary — the world’s largest speed dating session.

Cathy Brewer, founder of Calgary Speed Dating, says she hopes to celebrate her 500th event by breaking the Guinness World Record for largest speed dating event, which was broken last year by 484 participants in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.

“I think that we can beat it here in Calgary,” Brewer says. “It’s going to be fun, super high energy. I mean 650 people are going to get to break a world record. How many times in our life do we get an opportunity to break a world record?”

But record-breaking requires following a strict set of rules. There are 20 rounds of speed dating each three minutes long, and no participant is allowed to leave or break away from the event, even to use the washroom.

Produced by: Anna Brooks and Allison Drinnan

It’s 8 p.m., and participants launch into 90 minutes of rapid-fire dates. People are crammed in shoulder-to-shoulder, and the noise of over 650 people trying to shout over each other is almost deafening, but everyone is smiling and high-fiving as they move from one date to the next.

“It was a lot of talking, but it was fun,” says speed dater Kayla Royce after the event. “It’s great though, because you just know right away if you’re compatible. I’d do it again, maybe not of this size, but I would do it again.”

While Calgary has Vietnam beat in terms of speed dating participants, Calgary Speed Dating owner Brewer has to accomplish a few more tasks if she wants to seal a world-record deal. The entire event must be videotaped and photographed, and then all footage is sent to Guinness World Records. But it shouldn’t be long before we find out if Calgary will wear the speed dating crown.

What do you think about speed dating?

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