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Our History

History of Curling in Orillia

The history of the game of Curling in Orillia dates to 1865 when two Scottish brothers, John and James “Stonewall” Jackson fashioned curling stones out of wood and tossed them back and forth on the frozen surface of Lake Couchiching off the shores of Couchiching park.    Between the two brothers they managed to entice other townsfolk to participate in this pastime.

From these modest (and cold) beginnings, sprang the oldest continuing club in Orillia.   In 1873, the frostbitten curlers, after having spent approximately 8 years on open ice, moved indoors and formed the Orillia Curling Club.

1st Site – It appears that the curlers spent approximately 12 years at the first covered privately owned curling rink located at Coldwater Street East where the Salvation Army was located at one time.  Shortly after the building was sold to the army about 1885 it burned down.

In 1874 the group of men (women weren’t allowed to share the premises until 1957) joined the Ontario Curling Association.     Over the years there were separate curling groups such as the Orillia Ontario Hospital School Curling Club (1914-1966) and the Owaissa Lodge Curling Club (later Orr-Walton Sports camp) (1962-67)

2nd Site – Another privately-owned curling rink was built at the Southwest corner of Coldwater and Peter Streets, where Canada Trust now stands.    It too faced the wrath of nature’s torch.

3rd Site – The Agricultural building at 135 West Street North on the Oval property became the next home of the curlers and also burned down.   Posts were located down the centre of the natural ice surface with one side for skaters and the other for curlers.   It was lit by oil lamps.  It was rebuilt as Orillia Armories, then Georgian College and now an apartment complex beside the Catholic Church parking lot.

c1950 occ

4th Site – The Curling Club then built and owned its own building on the north side of Elgin Street, just a short distance west of Peter Street.    No more fires, however in 1886, this was the site of the roof collapse from the heavy snow load.  That occurred the morning after the club was packed with 200 spectators.    Thank goodness no one was in the building at the time.   The building was re-built and was used by curlers until 1925.

5th Site – In 1925, a new 4 sheet club was built at #16 Andrew Street South where the City parking lot is now located, between Mississauga and Colborne Streets.   It used natural ice until 1945 when artificial ice was installed.   On a side note, the club ordered matched stones from Ailsa Craig Scotland in the mid 1940s, but it is believed that the ship carrying the rocks was sunk in the Atlantic by the Germans.  A second order arrived safely in 1950.    Prior to this, stones were purchased individually.    This building was used in the summer months as storage for the Tudhope factory.

1967 occ

6th Site –The new 8 sheet club at 450 West Street North (where Century 21 office now stands) was opened in November 1964 and was quite the envy of Ontario clubs.    In 1988, two weeks after the start of the season, the Ontario Ministry of Labour closed the doors to the West Street rink.   Due to structural concerns the building needed extensive repairs before it could re-open and there was just not enough money to do this, so the club closed after 24 years of occupancy.    Many members joined other clubs or quit curling completely.    It was not anticipated that it would take 11 years to resume curling in the City of Orillia.  

The Orillia Curling Club Ltd corporation (often referred to as the Company) was close to dissolving in 1990 based on the indication that Hawk Ridge was going to be built as a golf and curling club.

By 1993, when it appeared that the Hawk Ridge Golf and Curling facility would not be built (mainly due to the recession) the dissolution of the Club was postponed allowing the newly elected directors, Harold Holmes, Dave Lankin, Al Scott, Charlene Ley and Paul Williams to investigate new partnership possibilities.     This was the first of a few postponements where shareholders were given the opportunity to redeem shares.

Over those six years there were a number of proposals entertained with two being pursued at length, one of those being The Couchiching Golf Club.   There was a high level of complexity in the partnership given the various organizational structures.    Every effort was made by both parties to try and bring a solution to fruition but the timing, circumstances, respective shareholder influences, and other hurdles were not conducive to achieving an end result.    

In 1996 the shareholders supported the Directors in proceeding with the joint Hawk Ridge, City of Orillia, Township of Severn proposal.  

A tremendous amount of energy and work was put into this initiative by all involved, and although the fund-raising campaign was able to generate the initial target amount, the costs kept escalating and technical problems involving construction of a single building with separate owners of adjoining pieces proved insurmountable within the construction timeframe and the joint initiative came to an end.

In March 1997 the City of Orillia who had been very supportive in establishing curling again in the city, announced that they would construct a 6-sheet curling facility attached to the community centre at the Lions Oval.   This was welcomed news for the curling community however with extensive concerns raised by neighbours, the location was changed to Tudhope Park.  

7th Site – Brings us to the Barnfield Point Recreation Centre.  

 clubexterior

With the support of the City Council, leadership of the City of Orillia, and the hard work of Michael Monteith Enterprises Ltd., the current building was completed in time for curling to start by October 15, 1999.

 

The Orillia Curling Club Ltd. corporation was dissolved, and the balance of funds transferred to the City of Orillia to partially fund construction.    The Orillia Curling Club operates as a lessee of the City of Orillia much like they did with the Orillia Curling Club Ltd.

The plaque that near the entrance is a commemoration to the Orillia Curling Club Shareholders who donated their shares to assist in the construction of this building.       These contributions helped tremendously to re-establish curling in Orillia.

Since 1993 and up until the opening of this club, an Orillia Curling Committee comprised of the Directors and other interested members were heavily involved with the many activities involved in re-establishing curling in Orillia.       Spearheading this group was Harold Holmes.   Without his leadership and drive, we wouldn’t be curling here today.

Lastly, the curling community acknowledges the City of Orillia for the years of support that they provided as we worked on many different initiatives and partnerships and for having committed to building this fine facility that has allowed curling again in the city of Orillia.

Through two world wars, the Boer War, three fires, one roof collapse, a building not meeting code, several mortgages, over 100 presidents, many different executives, and volunteers, and an eleven-year hiatus where there was no physical curling facility in the city of Orillia and curlers travelled to various local communities, the Orillia Curling Club has survived with everyone involved and we will continue to do so.

Good curling everyone.


Daily Schedule

19 Aug 2022
04:00PM - 08:00PM
Orillia Recreation Centre Grand Re-Opening
15 Sep 2022
08:00AM - 02:00PM
OCC Golf Tournament
17 Sep 2022
10:00AM - 02:00PM
OCC OPEN HOUSE & In-Person Registration
18 Sep 2022
10:00AM - 02:00PM
OCC OPEN HOUSE & In-Person Registration
08 Oct 2022
09:30AM - 03:00PM
OCC Opening Weekend Clinics & Practice Ice

Hosted Events

OCC Golf Tournament
09-15-2022 8:30 am
Price: $75 / person

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Thanks to our Sponsors!

League Schedules

League schedules, teams and results can all be found in the members section of the website once you LOGIN.

Our Location

Barnfield Point Recreation Centre
500 Atherley Rd.
Orillia, ON

DIRECTIONS

 

Contact Us

The Orillia Curling Club
200 Memorial Ave, Unit #3
Box# 313
Orillia, ON  L3V 5X6
[email protected]

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About The Club

Founded in 1873, the Orillia Curling Club  includes six sheets of professionally maintained ice, a full service lounge with viewing area, change rooms with locker space and shower facilities. We welcome all skill levels to come out and enjoy curling.