The history of our club begins over 75 years ago, in the weeks leading up to Christmas 1935, when three organizational meetings were held at the Town Hall. Click here for a celebratory 75th-anniversary pamphlet that marked the occasion.
Club Charter Members 1935-36
On Dec 10 the Secretary of the N.S. branch of the Royal Caledonian Curling Club spoke at the first meeting and also provided the loan of rocks to get the new club up and running. He also extended an invitation for a visitation to the Halifax Curling Club for a future match. During the last of the organizational meetings on Dec 20, the first club executive was approved.
On Oct 15 1936 there was a well-attended meeting, likely the first one at the newly constructed club facility. At that meeting, the constitution was approved.
On Feb 23 1938 a team from the Windsor club visited Wolfville for evening play. Team Wolfville consisting of E.P Linton, Pete Jadis, Otto Forshay, and Clifford Farin won the game after scoring an eight-ender, likely the first at the Wolfville Club. A trophy was scrounged up within minutes and presented to the Wolfville team by the Windsor Skip.
On March 4 1938 the Wolfville Club visited Bridgetown and competed in the McLellan Cup. After 14 ends of competition, each of the 3 games ends in a tie. It takes an extra two ends to decide the matter. Bridgetown wins by one point.
Club Co-Founder + Historian
Burpee Wallace, Magistrate
Breakfast closing bonspiels were popular in the early years, and a report by club historian Burpee Wallace indicates that one took place on Mar 28 1938.
He made a more detailed report the following year for the 1939 event:
“At 5:45 AM on April 11 divers telephone bells rang in sundry homes, drawing various responses from householders. The message was crisp, intriguing, and irresistible: Breakfast Bonspiel at 6:30 this morning: Good Ice. Many were called and 19 showed up. Ten ends were played, bacon, eggs, and coffee bread were devoured; history was made.”
They followed a routine where they all played until 8 AM then took a break for breakfast. After breakfast those who had to work left at that time, leaving the retirees to keep on curling to around 11 AM. One might find it interesting to read that ice conditions were good. Keep in mind this was around mid-April before the days when there was a refrigeration plant.
Meetings in the 1940s were usually well attended. There were usually 50 to 75 people at the two general membership meetings held every year. The routine would see a chicken or baked rabbit dinner followed by a sing song then the meeting. There were no ladies at the meetings; they had their own separate ladies club at that time. It’s apparent that there must have been a few ladies around because the minutes show that meetings were often interrupted by the ladies who presented donations of funds raised over the season in various endeavours.
The curious practice of interrupting meetings to present donations went on for many years, even until the 1970s. The ladies asked little in return for their efforts; only some consideration for more ice time. The request for additional ice time was not always well received.
On Nov 21 1945 the ladies requested two mornings a week, plus one afternoon plus Saturday night. The motion was narrowly approved by a standing vote of 18 in favour, and 16 against.
On Apr 7 1948 the ladies requested (by letter) more ice time. The request was deferred for some reason and not dealt with.
On April 10 1946 members agreed to a proposal from Acadia University to accept a refrigeration line extension from the old Acadia rink. Artificial ice is therefore introduced for the first time in the following year. After 1947 Acadia University would bill the club annually for the “cost of frost”. The increasing amounts every year eventually created some discussion and controversy.
Wolfville Ladies Curling Club Charter Members 1945-46
On Mar 22 1950 the minutes show that a “new stone” committee is organized. Also at that meeting, A.R. Stirling provided a report on travel to Scotland to participate in the Strathcona Cup.
On Nov 15 1950 the minutes indicate that the new stones are supposed to be shipped from Scotland on Nov 30.
On Apr 4 1951 the death of Past President F.G.Herbn was reported in the minutes. Also on that day, members of the 1951 Briar Champs, the Oyler team from Kentville attended a dinner and meeting here at the club. Each team member was given the opportunity to speak. Our club President at the time was future Town Mayor Longley. Special ashtrays made by the President’s wife were presented to each of the members of the Oyler team. In conclusion; during Oyler’s speech, he talks about the possibility of amalgamating the Wolfville and Kentville clubs. This idea would come up for discussion again in future years.
On April 15 1953 Chet Small pulls the bow tie off another member and auctions it off for $7.25. Funds are being raised for a memorial plaque to recognize members who have passed away. The plaque idea was discussed on and off for years but we don’t think it was ever completed.
On November 18 1953 problems with the “cost of frost” (refrigeration) from the Acadia came to a boil. The idea of having our own ice refrigeration plant was brought up.
On November 18 1959 a discussion was held about the merits/benefits of a Freon vs Ammonia refrigeration system. It looks like they reached the right decision in the end because a Freon compressor system was installed the following year.
1960 was a landmark year for the club. Not only was the first ice plant and compressor installed, but a bar (called a red room at the time) was started for the first time, it was located upstairs. At that time beer was selling for 35 cents. Nevertheless, there were problems with some ladies at the bar, and therefore rules had to be made.
On January 24 1961 at an executive meeting, it was reported that ladies were frequenting the bar on men’s nights. A motion was therefore passed restricting the ladies' bar access to Saturday evenings and “mixed” nights only.
On May 2 1962 a cave in of the ceiling in the furnace room was reported by House Chair Hubert Sullivan. As a result; there was no heat in the club and the ladies interrupted the meeting to complain.
On April 17 1963 the idea to amalgamate the curling club with the golf club is discussed at a meeting. The plan was to amalgamate and build a new facility at the Kenwo golf course (They actually got to the point of drawing up specifications for the new club facility at Kenwo). There was a motion to approve the idea in principle but for some reason, there was no further action after that date.
On April 21 1965 a motion was moved by Hubert Sullivan and seconded by Jack Herbin that we put the club up for sale for $40,000.00. The motion was defeated. It appears that the club was going through some rough times. The bottom line was that we really needed to upgrade the facility or move out. Later that year there was action to replace the ice shed.
On Dec 1 1965 the club met at the Parish Hall. Apparently, they could not meet in the club because renovations were going on. The new ice shed/sheet expansion project was not ready and the club accepted an offer from the Berwick Curling Club to curl there for at least a month.
On April 1 1978 at the semiannual meeting, it was agreed to strike a formal joint subcommittee of the men’s and women’s clubs to cooperate on various projects and issues. This was obviously a precursor to the formal amalgamation into one club. It took another two or three years for this to happen.
The 1980s saw the club go through another period of troubled times, similar to what occurred in the 1960s Very little can be recalled from the 1980s because club records from 1984 to 1991 are lost. This is the only information gap that exists in the club’s 75+ years of history.
Perhaps the most significant event of the decade was the amalgamation of the Men’s and Women’s clubs. The amalgamation must have happened in 1980 or 1981 because we have a record of the first female president, and that was Marty MacKay in 1981-82
Late in the year 1989, the club installed a dehumidifier. It was hoisted into place on a platform using block and tackle. The cost of the unit was about $11,000.00. This brought about a significant improvement in ice conditions. Up until that time, condensation due to changing temperatures caused considerable dripping water on the ice surface.
The most significant event that took place during the 1990s was the ongoing discussion and controversy concerning what might be done with the old badminton hall. Some members wanted to renovate and develop the hall, others wanted it demolished.
On Sept 9 1997 a special meeting was called to discuss the hall. The issue was; to save the hall or demolish it.
On Sept 21 1998 a decision was finally made to demolish the hall over the coming summer. Instead of paying for the cost of demolition, the salvageable materials were turned over to the contractor.
On Oct 17 1996 at the Semi-Annual Meeting, Hugh Curry reported on plans including fundraising endeavours for the Nova Scotia Men’s Tankard to be held at the club in February 1997.
On May 23 2000 at the annual meeting, it was decided to install a new concrete floor in the shed. The cost to do this was estimated to be $37,000.00. Considering contingencies, the club approved a final amount that CIUKD be $40,000.00 to $45,000.00. The plan was to have the work completed in time for the coming 2000-01 season.
On Oct 25 2001 at an urgently called executive meeting, members addressed the issue of the compressor that failed during start-up. That machine was installed in 1960, so it served our needs for about 41 years. It was agreed to install an old used compressor at a maximum cost of $7000.00, which we would use until a new compressor could be ordered and installed. Instead of selecting a smaller 16 Ton system, we opted for a Vilter 22.5T unit at a cost of $58,800.00. The club was fortunate to receive an insurance settlement which partially compensated for the loss.
On Dec 9 2004 a special meeting was held to approve and kick-off club renovations and expansion on the west side. The cost of the project was expected to be $170,000.00 to $175,000.00; detailed as follows: $120,000.00 for the addition of men’s and women’s changing rooms, $30,000.00 for the upstairs lounge/club room and $20,000.00 for club room washrooms and bar renovation. Because of government grant funding, the debt to the club was expected to be less than $80,000.00
On May 22 2008 at the annual meeting, Brian Boutilier (Chair of the event) reported on the Nova Scotia Tankard held here in February. The event was possibly the biggest event ever held by the club. Out of club membership of about 140, about 80 volunteers helped in some manner.
Nova Scotia Tankard 2008
On October 21 2010 at the Semi-Annual Meeting, it was reported by Tony Stirling that a new E Ceiling in the shed was installed over the summer. Under a separate energy-saving program, new T8 light fixtures were installed as well, in September. Furthermore, at that Semi-Annual Meeting on October 21, the result of a special competition was announced. Members had been asked to submit a design for the club’s 75th Anniversary Logo. Of the 6 designs submitted by members, the one submitted by Stewart Bishop was selected as the winner.
In 2011 the Wolfville Curling Club celebrated its 75th anniversary. Click here for a celebratory pamphlet that marked the occasion.