Our History

 Our History

Richmond Curling Centre

In May 1958 four men (Jack Morrison, Ken Ball, Bill Smith, and Cliff Cunningham) got together and laid the foundation for one of the most successful and friendly curling clubs in existence. The first organizational General meeting was held on October 8, 1958 and a Board of Directors was elected to get things rolling. Just one week later they met and decided to purchase 3.4 acres of land on Cambie Road for $20,000.

The original plan called for a 6 sheet curling complex with an upstairs viewing lounge at the home end. However, once tenders came in from various contractors and the lowest was $175,000. This exceeded the financial capabilities so it was decided to cancel the viewing lounge and ask for a resubmission of tenders. This brought the cost down to $120,000 and a massive drive for members began with Art Jackson as the committee head. Almost 300 members were recruited at a fee of $100 and many of these signed 6% debentures (mostly for $200) through the Royal Bank. With this accomplished, the Richmond Savings Credit Union agreed to a $60,000 mortgage at 8% and we were on the way.

Finally, two and one-half years after the initial meeting, the Grand Opening of our quansit style building was held on January 1, 1961. Bill Anderson was the acting manager and Ice maker. Harold Smith was the first President and Merle Smith was the Secretary/ Treasurer for the building. The original plans included future expansion to include skating and racket sports… hence the original name of the Richmond Winter Club.

During the first off-season, Duff Campbell was hired as the Club Manager, a position he capably filled for 22 years. The Richmond Ladies Curling Club was formed in 1961 and have been an active and vital part of the club ever since. It soon became obvious that more space was needed for social activities so another fundraiser was started, to add a lounge area. The lounge was completed along sheet #1 side of the building in 1963 and resulted in our Club being the first in the Lower Mainland to be awarded a lounge liquor license. This year also saw the inaugural Grey Cup Bonspiel. It included 128 teams (many of them visiting the game from the prairies) and had as its Honorary Chairman Willie Fleming of the BC Lions.

In 1965 the parking lot was finally paved. 1967 saw the junior curling program started and the Senior Men formed a league of their own. In 1969 the first “paid” bar tenders were hired. In 1971 a badly needed new roof was installed and in December 1972 we held our Mortgage Burning Ceremony right out on the ice. In 1977 our growing membership pressed for even more space for social activities and so we doubled the size of our lounge along the side of the building. 1978 saw even more expansion as the curling pro shop was added to the building.

Throughout these growing years there were many leagues formed and different types of bonspiels were created. The club became a social center for curlers of all ages and those who preferred a highly competitive venue were offered competitions of various modes. Over the years several new colorful names such as the Guys and Dolls, the Bombay Bonspiel, the Lulu Spiel and the Spring Fling.

Soon after the Club paid its last debentures the idea of expansion once again took hold. The Club could no longer meet the growing demands for curling ice time, major repairs were needed so a Planning and Development Committee was struck to explore various options. The club make a deal with the City of Richmond, whereby the City would own the land and the Club would build, maintain and operate the facility.

A lease agreement was reached with the City for 3 acres beside the Landsowne Shopping Center. Site plans were drawn up the site was preloaded with sand. Final plans were assembled, ready to be put out for bid, but then the city proposed an alternate site to the Club. The city proposed the Hollybridge site which was accepted by the Club, with a 5-year lease with 5 additional 5-year options.

The Club then sold the Cambie property.The cost of the project was $2,290,000, because the sale of the old property plus the government grant was not sufficient to cover all the costs a Chattel Mortgage for $100,000 (to be repaid over a 5 year period) was negotiated.

The tree planting ceremony was held with members donating trees, time and money to finish off the site’s landscaping. Donationsduring the next season allowed the Club to invest in new furniture in our lounge. Overthe next few years, additional donations from our Ladies and Seniors Leagues helped to complete the upstairs kitchen, the lower viewing area and provide office equipment. Early in 1996 a second mortgage burning party was held relieving the Club of its last major indebtedness.

The Club offers a league to suit Everyone: Junior, Mixed, Men’s, Women’s, Seniors’, Social, Novice, Commercial, Asian, Super League, Special Olympics, Schools… The Club welcomes Everyone.

Two Open houses are held every season so newcomers can try out curling and inspect our premises. We also have a curling school each fall to upgrade curling skills and to teach the latest strategy, delivery, and sweeping methods.

Over the years the Club has had more than its share of Provincial, Canadian, and World Champions. Names like Greg McAulay, Kelly Law, Julie Skinner, Georgina Wheatcroft, Diane Nelson, Jim Armstrong, Ken Watson, Bernie Sparks, Heather Kerr, Brent Giles, Bob McCubbin, Jack Tucker, Marla Geiger, Lisa Walker, Greame Franklin, Julie Provost, Shelley MacDonald, Kristy Lewis and Chuck Kennedy are sure to bring back some fond memories to curling fans across Cananda.

The Club is now a modern 8-sheet complex, complete with players’ dressing rooms with lockers, a restaurant, a curling pro shop, meeting rooms, excellent viewing areas, and a luxurious lounge complete with dance floor, shuffleboard, table tennis, and a pool table. The lounge area can accommodate up to 200 people at a banquet and (beside the many Club functions) it is often rented out to the general public for weddings, anniversaries, and other social or business occasions. We have our own on-site caterer. The Club is well integrated with the community. It is an active member of the Chamber of Commerce, The Richmond Sports Council, Richmond Tourism and works closely with the School Board for the Schools curling program.

Coaching clinics, High Performance Clinics, and Curling Schools are all held at the Club. The Richmond Curling Club is Curl BC’s choice as the High Performance Training Centre for Provincial Curling, and the Canadian Curling Associations Wheelchair Training Centre for Canada.

The Club continues to host more than its share of championship and special bonspiels. Regional and provincial playoffs for different categories have been held at the Club as well as National Wheelchair events, commercial and association championships and since its inception in 2000 the Pacific International Cup.

There have been a multitude of Directors, volunteers, and staff who have all contributed greatly to the success of this Club. We cannot name them all but we have been fortunate to have had excellent ice makers such as Stu Patterson (18 years), Larry McTaggert, and until recently Tom Wilkinson (23 years). We have also had fine managers such as: Duff Campbell (22years), Kim Browning, Madge Robinson, Joel Berglund and our current manager Doug Bradley, to look after our affairs.

Keen Volunteers are the key to successful curling clubs and Richmond is fortunate to have several groups donating their time and talent to running and maintaining the Club. Each year a special Volunteer’s Night is held to thank all those who have served on the wide range of committees that have contributed to the well being of the Club. Members have also made many off-ice contributions to curling by serving as representatives to the various provincial and Canadian associations. We recognize that the prosperity of the sport of curling depends upon these volunteers who continue to develop, teach, promote and support this great game.

 

 

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