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In 2020, the Niagara Falls Curling Club's long history and involvement in the community was recognized by Curling Canada as host club for Curling Day in Canada: https://www.curling.ca/blog/2020/03/02/unreal/
We are proud to be an international club with members from Canada and the United States of America with members who have participated at the United States Championship (Patti Lank and Maymar Gemmell) and the Canadian Championship (Gloria Sorley, Lynn Coull, Jackie Lococo and Marg Newton).
Here's an overview of the Club's history:
The City of Niagara Falls has a long curling history. The first curling club in Niagara Falls dates all the way back to 1891 when they were part of the Niagara Falls Skating and Curling Rink Association. A group of seven well-known local citizens applied for and received a charter in October of 1891 to build and operate a rink for the residents of Niagara Falls.
The structure to be built was 1.5 stories in height, with a framed construction and shingled roof. The site selected was rented from the Grand Trunk Railway for $10 a year. The lot was located on the west side of River Road immediately north of the lower suspension bridge. Two sheets of ice were to be used for curling, and the curling club paid a rental fee of $40 per year. In addition to this fee, the club was also responsible for its share of the electricity bill to illuminate the five arc lights and six incandescent lamps.
The rink was so popular with residents that in 1893, its owners added to the size of the skating rink and also added swimming baths. As well, an additional curling rink was added to the building’s north side. The club generated additional income from renting out the building for hockey games and practices, band concerts, and even basketball games. Local organizations such as the Fire Department and the Women’s Hospital Auxiliary used the facilities to host special fundraising events.
In 1909, the Ontario Hockey Association determined that the skating rink’s ice surface was not large enough to accommodate their new rules and regulations. This led to the building’s demise as they lost one of their largest sources of income. The Curling Club took over the complete operation and curling and skating continued until 1916 when Dick Smith converted the building into a planing mill. Unfortunately, this was short lived, as the building burned to the ground in the early 1920s.
The sport of curling was absent in the city for almost 40 years. In early 1954, local curling enthusiasts applied for and received a charter for a new club. A site for a rink and clubhouse was purchased on Morrison Street between Stanley Avenue and Portage Road and construction began in late 1955. Despite losing the east wall and entire roof of the building in a massive windstorm in March, repairs occurred quickly and the new building opened on April 6, 1956.
It is interesting that women have been in on the action since 1954 when 58 women curled at the Stamford Arena while waiting for the new club to open. The original ladies were wives of members. In 1966, there were more than 140 women who, according to a Niagara Falls Review article, “happily traded their warm kitchens a few hours every week for below freezing temperatures in which they walked several miles and threw hundreds of pounds of rocks”.
In 1978, the club underwent an expansion and improvement of the existing facilities. On July 7th, a gala celebration and official ribbon-cutting ceremony took place. Dancing and films on curling rounded out the festivities.
Today, the Niagara Falls Curling Club is thriving at the same Morrison Street location. In 1999, the club hosted the prestigious Ontario Ladies Curling Championship, which is also known as the Scotties Tournament of Hearts.
More information on the history of the NFCC is provided in the following NiagaraThisWeek article: https://www.gottarent.com/news-story/7155255-niagara-falls-curling-club-still-going-strong-after-125-years/
Enjoy the spring and summer and looking forward to seeing you back in the fall.