The Rideau Curling Club: 125 Years of Proud Curling Heritage

The 2014 Canadian Mixed Curling Championship is a marquee event that will help the Rideau Curling Club (RCC) in Ottawa to celebrate a major milestone in its history: its 125th Anniversary!

The RCC was established on November 10, 1888, and has played a central role in the development of the sport of curling on a local, provincial and national scale ever since. Governor General Lord Stanley (yes, the same Lord Stanley!) was its first Patron, and Sir Sandford Fleming its first President. It began with 120 members renting a building on Waller Street from the Rideau Skating and Curling Co., with three sheets of natural ice and sparse facilities. Annual dues were only $10, and games lasting 21 ends was normal for major events (only 16 ends for club matches!). The weather was a constant worry in a facility with no refrigeration capabilities, and curling seasons were short. Ladies were invited to become members in the 1902-1903 season.

In 1916, the Waller Street premises were requisitioned for war purposes and the RCC rented its second home, also with three sheets of natural ice, at 96 Vittoria Street, located approximately where the Supreme Court of Canada now stands. In 1930, the Federal Government gave notice of appropriation, thus prompting an alliance of badminton players and curlers under the name Rideau Winter Club Ltd., and erection of a four-storey building in 1931 at 277 Laurier Avenue West. This facility boasted four sheets of artificial ice and was the envy of our sport in Ottawa. In 1949, this building was sold, and the RCC established its fourth and current location.

Construction of a one-storey building with five sheets of ice began at the corner of Percy and Cooper Streets in July 1949, replacing a coal yard and blacksmith shop. In 1953-54 granite stones officially replaced irons. In 1965, a second-storey was added, including a kitchen, dining room, and meeting room. For the club's centennial in 1988, the mezzanine was adorned with a complete series of portraits of RCC Presidents and the many Governors-General who have served as the Club’s only Patrons, as well as many other historic photographs. A unique display of over 100 tartans on the walls of the lobby recognizes the country of Scotland as the origin of our sport, a special connection for many of the RCC members.

Today, the RCC has a state-of-the-art ice-making plant and a newly-renovated club house. It enjoys a national reputation as home to a number of championship rinks, including the 2013 Canadian Masters Ladies Champions and 2006 Canadian Senior Women’s Champions (and World silver medalists) skipped by Joyce Potter; the 2013 Ontario Senior Men’s Champions (and Canadian silver medalists) skipped by Howard Rajala; and the 4-time Ontario Women’s Championship rink skipped by Anne Merklinger. The RCC proudly displays its many championship banners on the walls of the ice shed.

RCC members play key volunteer roles for a wide range of club events, from little rock bonspiels to national championships. In addition to hosting the Canadian Mixed Curling Championship, the RCC has previously co-hosted the 2003 Canadian Junior Championships, the TSN Skins Game, and numerous Ontario Women’s and Mixed Championships. The membership is full and thriving, and there is a great sense of camaraderie among members who are diverse in age, skill, and social standing, but who share a love of the sport of curling.

Please visit the RCC website at www.rideaucurlingclub.com

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© 2013 Rideau Curling Club