Quebec History Marianopolis College

Date Published:
March 2005

L’Encyclopédie de l’histoire du Québec / The Quebec History Encyclopedia


Curling in Canada


[This article was published in 1948; for the full citation, see the end of the text.]


Curling, a game played on the ice with heavy circular stones, which are projected along a defined space called a "rink" toward a mark called a "tee", the object being to place the stone as near as possible to the "tee". The game originated in Scotland ; but it has been for more than a century popular in Canada. It would seem to have been played on the St. Lawrence river at Quebec in the later years of the eighteenth century; but the first organized curling club was formed in Montreal in January, 1807. A club was organized at Quebec in 1821; and in 1835 a match took place between these two clubs at Three Rivers. Games were played on the ice of Toronto bay as early as 1825 ; but the first club organized in Ontario was that of Fergus, in 1834. The Toronto Curling Club followed in 1836. Many of the early games were played with hickory blocks, fitted with iron handles; but by 1839 curling stones were being manufactured in Toronto. In 1859 the first great bonspiel, or competition, ever held in America was played on Toronto bay, twenty-one rinks of four players each competing on each side. Rinks came from as far east as Montreal and as far west as London . In 1865 an international bonspiel was held at Buffalo , at which the United States was represented by fifty rinks. Competition between Ontario and Quebec was rendered difficult' by the fact that the players in Montreal and Quebec used "iron" stones, whereas those in Ontario used granite. The Ontario clubs were formed into a branch of the parent club in Scotland, the Royal Caledonian Curling Club, in 1874; and in 1888 a similar branch was formed in Manitoba and the North West Territories. There are now associations in each of the provinces of Canada, with the exception of Prince Edward Island and British Columbia. As yet there is no Dominion Curling Association; but there have been competitions for the championship of the Dominion for many years. As long ago as 1875 the Earl of Dufferin, when governor-general of Canada, offered a cup for competition among all clubs in Canada, known as the Governor-General's Cup; and in 1927 the Macdonald Tobacco Company of Montreal inaugurated a Dominion championship competition for the "Macdonald Brier Trophy", to be held annually at the Granite Club, Toronto. In this competition are annually entered 120 rinks; and its success has been assured by the introduction of artificial ice in recent years. For an account of the history of curling in Canada, see J. Kerr, History of curling (Edinburgh, 1890), and Curl ing in Canada and the United States (Edinburgh, 1904).

Source  : W. Stewart WALLACE, ed., The Encyclopedia of Canada, Vol. II, Toronto, University Associates of Canada, 1948, 411p., p. 158.


© 2005 Claude Bélanger, Marianopolis College