The History of Curling in Grimsby, Ontario
Curling in Grimsby has roots as far back as 1908. The first known “rink” was a big wooden structure located on Elizabeth Street in the area approximating the entrance of the parking lot of today’s Giant Tiger Store. Curling enthusiasts had to rely on natural ice, straw brooms and mismatched stones.
Many years later there was curling in the Niagara Packers building on Livingston Avenue; the venue was used for packing and storing fruit in the summer then skating and curling took place in the winter. There was artificial ice but curlers still used mismatched stones that could vary in weight from 35 to 40 pounds and during that time each curler had to supply their own stones. This building burned down in the late 1940’s. For the sum of one dollar Earl Marsh of Niagara Packers made a generous donation and deeded land to the Town of Grimsby for a Community Arena.
n 1950-1951 when the town community arena was built (approximately in the area of the parking lot and Shopper’s Drug Mart location) on Livingston Avenue; curlers were approached to utilize the ice. Sparked by an avid northern curler, S. H. Mills who had just retired to Grimsby from Thessalon, a group of local curlers formed a Club. This nucleus was the beginning of today’s Grimsby Curling Club. In December 1951, 21 ladies met and became organized to bolster a Ladies Curling group and the ladies used borrowed stones from the men in order to curl. As of January 1952, the club grew to 79 male and 47 female members by close of that season.
By 1956, the Curling Club membership was investigating possibilities of building their own designated curling rink. It was years later in May 1960 that a land purchase was finalized; finances raised; including members signing personal notes at the bank and others borrowed the club monies. On August 20, 1960 members turned the sod for their new building at 277 Kerman Avenue. The Club Charter was received on September 20, 1960.
Finally in January 1961, the building was completed with club members and invited guests celebrated the official opening. The property also accommodated lawn bowling greens and for many years both summer and winter recreation was the focus at the Club. The hospitality of the Grimsby Curling Club became well known in curling circles and this reputation still holds after hosting 50 years at the same location.
Today, the Grimsby Curling Club has a dynamic membership that supports active curling leagues/programs for youth and adults alike.