Around the House
It’s championship season on the Canadian curling scene, and even though every championship isn’t a juggernaut like, say, the Tim Hortons Brier, each one requires a tremendous contribution by organizing committees, volunteers and, in some cases, curling facility staff and club members.
The Scotties Tournament of Hearts is coming to Kingston, and one of its biggest fans can’t wait. He’s a competitive curler, a fundraiser for the Sandra Schmirler Foundation, as well as the author of a blog devoted to this year’s Scotties. He’ll also be marching onto the ice at the K-Rock Centre as one of the event’s Junior Stars. Meet Bilal Islam, age 13, and hooked on curling.
Curlers and community members, including 27 past presidents of the Chatham Granite Curling Club in Chatham, Ont., gathered on Nov. 10 to celebrate and reminisce about 150 years of curling tradition that began simply with a few players throwing stones on the frozen Thames River .
When Ontario’s Ayr Curling Club recognized that energy consumption generated the most costs to the facility, the club’s Board of Directors decided it was time to take action. With the aid of an Ontario Trillium Foundation grant – and the efforts of many club members who volunteered their time and energy – Ayr CC set about making significant improvements that will have long-term benefits to its members.
The National Hockey League may still be out of action, but a group of NHL hockey players with some free time and a fundraising goal recently turned up in British Columbia to play on a different kind of ice – at the Kelowna Curling Club.
When Carl Delaney took over management of the Silver Fox Curling and Yacht Club in 1991, his mandate was to make the club profitable. Using some creative ideas for a big-ticket fundraising draw, and some terrific partners, volunteers, and participants, he found a way.
Centennial celebrations continue at the Vancouver Curling Club, and the season has already been busy with bonspiels and banquets. Among the highlights was a special photo shoot: VCC members assembled on the ice in an effort to recreate a 1949 image from the club’s archives.
For regular curlers, the season often kicks off with a club bonspiel to get everyone back on the ice and ready for action. At North Bay Granite, in North Bay, Ontario, an October funspiel brings the local community together for a whole week of curling activities and ensures anyone with an urge to start curling has a positive first exposure to the sport.
Boy grows up in a small Saskatchewan town and, of course, learns to curl at the local rink. Boy moves to big city, where he completes university, lands a job as an ice tech and, eventually, becomes a curling club general manager. Boy, all grown up now, moves back home to raise his young family. Where does he head? Straight to the local curling club, of course.
Since April, members of the Annandale Curling Club in Ajax, Ontario, have been at work preparing for the 2012-2013 season. Yes, there will be curling. But more importantly, there will also be lots of celebrating: Annandale is entering its fiftieth year. It’s time for a season-long party!
They may have moved to a variety of different addresses, and yes, they may have been forced to take a few breaks (World Wars will do that to a schedule). But curlers in Vancouver have been finding ice for one hundred years, and this season they’re planning to celebrate that milestone.
As the closing banquet for my Wednesday night league at the Guelph Curling Club wrapped up last spring, I remember looking at the pools of water covering the melting ice in the darkened ice house. The end of the season. Time for summer.
For many curling facilities across the country, April is the month of closing bonspiels, awards presentations and – for some – lacing up skates (instead of sliders) to destroy a season’s worth of pebbled ice.
Ask Leslie Glova, Manager of Program Development at Moose Jaw’s Mosaic Place, about the past curling season and then stand back: the all-out excitement and enthusiasm she shares about the city’s new 210,000 square foot entertainment/sports facility is impressive. Equally impressive is the role the community played in getting this project rolling and, after many years, completed.
Lots of curling clubs host bonspiels, right? The process is simple: advertise for teams, stock the bar, arrange the food, organize the prizes and entertainment, maybe do a bit of decorating, and you’re all set to go.