The History of Curling in Whitby, Ontario

The earliest record of Whitby having a curling club was in 1877. It was part of the Royal Caledonian Curling Club which was a curling association until 1892 when the Ontario Branch broke off and formed what is today now called the Ontario Curling Association.  The first curling club was located on the north-east corner of Mary and Byron Streets. It was a low frame building containing two sheets of ice. The curlers purchased their own granite rocks and they were of different weights and sizes. People playing in the lead positions would try and get rocks that weighed about 45 lbs so that they were hard to remove once in play.  In 1891 the club moved from Mary St. to the new ice rink on the corner of Green and Gilbert. Two sheets of ice were provided on each side of the skating rink. There were one foot boards and ropes separating the skaters from the curlers. Water for pebbling the ice was made from melted snow. It was placed into a 10 gallon pail and then attached to "The Old Piddler". The Old Piddler is currently used as the trophy for the Monday Night Men's section champion.  Around 1912 the rink manager decided that the ice rink was to be used for skating and hockey and eventually curling in Whitby took a hiatus.

 

In 1957 Claire Rich decided that Whitby needed a curling rink. On January 9th, 1958 a meeting was held in the Whitby Community Arena. Forty one men and two women attended. A petition was signed and sent to the Province of Ontario for a charter for a curling club. On June 4, 1958 a charter was signed by the Honourable George Dunbar, Provincial Secretary, for a corporation without share capital to be known as The Whitby Curling Club. Claire Rich was elected the First President of the Club.

An acre and a half was purchased from Allan and Arthur Bradley for the sum of $4000.00. An option of taking another half acre to the east was taken also. Plans to build a curling club at a cost of $35,000 were made and a mortgage was obtained. On March 10, 1990 this mortgage was burned.

The curling club was constructed and the building was completed in time to start the 1958 – 1959 season. Due to lack of funds the clubhouse was only built to look out over sheets four, five and six but there was a basement
locker room and an upstairs lounge. The membership was so pleased with the leadership of Claire Rich he was re- elected president for the 1958-59 and 1959-60 seasons.  In 1958 the Whitby Curling Club was built and up and running at its current location. It was not long until a reputation of fellowship, fun and good curling was established. This was probably due to the fact that the small clubhouse had people practically sitting on each other's laps. The furniture in the lounge was a mixture of member's cast-offs. Down in the locker room was the 'snake pit" where people would enjoy a beer for a quarter.

In October of 1959 it was decided to stucco the outside of the clubhouse at the cost of $310.00. The money was raised by having a cocktail party. The curling fees for 1959 were set at $50.00 for men and $25.00 for women.
In 1960 the roof leaked and the basement flooded. In the 1961-62 curling season there were 206 members.

In July 1964 work began on a new club house. Donations were collected from members and sufficient money was collected to have the beautiful fireplace built in the main lounge. Construction was completed in time for the opening of the curling season on October 30, 1964. On December 7, 1964 the club received a liquor license.

Over the first few curling seasons, the club was plagued by ice that heaved (expecially on the outside sheets). In the summer of 1965 the curling rink base was replaced. Four inches of styrene foam was laid. The cooling pipes were place above the foam insulation and then covered with sand. The sand base remained until the late 80's when it was replaced with the current concrete pad.

 

In 1965-66 the Business Girls section was formed. In 1967 the club constitution was amended to state that the President of the Whitby Curling Club must always be male, however the Executive could include up to 3 women.

 

In the early 1970's, Junior curling was started.  During the 1976-77 curling season, a safety check of the building turned up over $40,000 or repairs. In 1978 ladies were recognized as full members of the Whitby Curling Club.

 

In 2003 the parking lot was paved. In 2006 the roof leaked and the basement flooded. The roof was redone in 2007. By 2007-08 there were 387 members.

 

The basement flooded again in 2011 resulting in the basement being totally renovated. 2011 saw the Senior Men's League joining the club.  In the winter of 2013-2014 an ice storm and subsequent snowfall combined to create conditions that led to the outside sheets of ice being flooded.  These sheets had to taken out of service for a time which caused the cancellation of several games. In response to the flooding issues, in the summer of 2014, a sub-drain system was installed to help collect surface run-off and direct it the existing storm leader system.  In addition a concrete walkway, graded away from the building deflect surface water was also installed.  Also, the summer of 2014 saw the replacement (after 16 years of service) of the ice scraper and the 3rd version of the Club website was launched.  In the summer of 2015 a couple of improvements were made to the Club infrastructure.  A new condenser replaced an aging unit and a new Power Management solution was added to help manage the electricity consumption and costs. 

 

 

 

                             WHITBY CURLING CLUB – Past Presidents  

 

58-60  Claire Rich

86-87  Murray Moynes

60-62  Bert Foote

87-88  Winston Muschett

62-63  Perry Lawrence

88-89  Jack McCorkell

63-64  Jack Doughty

89-90  Andy Wintonyk

64-65  Jim McClelland

90-91  Darrel Munirhead

65-66  Ralph Risebrough

91-93  Bob Winters

66-67  Jack Beaton

93-94  Doug Foot 

67-68  Bill Legros

94-95  Andre O’Bumsawin

68-69  Wilf Butts

95-96  Dave King

69-70  Vic Ames

96-97  Paul Barnett

70-71  Rob Burns

97-98  Joe McLauchlan

71-72  John Davies

98-99  Tom Worsley

72-73  Ernie Douglass

99-00  Elaine Forshaw

73-74  Bill Jenkins

00-01  Tom Finora

74-75  Ron Teal

01-02  Paul Adair

75-76  Charlie Fisher

02-03  Dave Stringer

76-77  Doug Hird

03-04  Dennis Noakes

77-78  Ron Ennis

04-06  Gerald Normandeau

78-79  Bob Ashby

06-07  Jim Coles

79-80  Rob Morton

07-09  Linda Green

80-81  Jim Clancy

09-10  Colleen Goodchild

81-82  Dave Werry

10-11  Tracey Macaulay

82-83  Ted Birchard

11-12  Bob Winters

83-84  John Kunetsky

12-14  Andrew Gray

84-85  Mark Burch

14-16  Tracey Macaulay

85-86  Don Paradine

16-17  Bryce Jordan

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