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    January 2022
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    Scots Gives the Game of Curling to Canada



    Mairiuna, did you know that one of our most popular competitive sport here in Canada is curling?

    “To Curle on the Ice, does greatly please,
    Being a Manly Scottish Exercise,
    It Clears the Brains, stirrs up the Native Heat,
    And gives a gallant Appetite for Meat.”

    James Bicket


    It was the lowland Scots who brought this game with them when they emigrated, and soon found that it was ideally suited to Canadian winters. The Hon. Adam Fergusson, founder of Fergus, formed a club in that village during its first winter of existence.


    Toronto wasn’t very far behind Fergus, forming its first club in 1836; it is from this club that we find in the University of Guelph’s collection a reprint of a slim volume of interest to Scots and curlers alike:


    Bicket, James. The Canadian curler’s manual; or an account of curling as practised in Canada; with remarks on the history of the game . Toronto: Office of the British Colonist, for the Toronto Curling Club, 1840. 40p.


    Port of Menteith, Trossachs, Scotland


    On one of our numerous trips to Scotland, while touring the idyllic Trossachs region,  just a  couple of miles east of Aberfoyle, near the Port of Mentheith, we took a ferry to the substantial ruins of the Inchmahome Priory where Mary, Queen of Scots, was kept safe there as a child during Henry VIII’s ‘Rough Wooing’.

    As we came back, we took time to visit the lake of Menteith Stirling Country Area. They had many informational and historical boards and on one of them, we could read the following:


    Casting Stones

    In harsh winters, when the ice is at least seven inches thick, hundreds of curlers from all over Scotland descend on the lake for the Grand Match, or Bonspiel, of the Royal Caledonian Curling Club. Snow is cleared, rinks are set-up and curlers slide their stones along the ice to the music of bagpipes and the eerie ‘pinging’ sound of ice expanding and contracting.

    Imagine…hearing the ping of the ice…wow…it must have been just marvelous!

    Even though I had and idea on how the game plays, I still went to Wikipedia and got the complete definition to learn more about the “lingo”. 🙂

    ‘Curling is a sport in which players slide stones across a sheet of ice towards a target area which is segmented into four rings. It is related to bowls, boule and shuffleboard. Two teams, each of four players, take turns sliding heavy, polished granite stones, also called “rocks”, across the ice curling sheet towards the house, a circular target marked on the ice.


    Each team has eight stones. The purpose is to accumulate the highest score for a game; points are scored for the stones resting closest to the centre of the house at the conclusion of each end, which is completed when both teams have thrown all of their stones. A game may consist of ten or eight ends.

    The curler can induce a curved path by causing the stone to slowly turn as it slides, and the path of the rock may be further influenced by two sweepers with brooms who accompany it as it slides down the sheet, using the brooms to alter the state of the ice in front of the stone. A great deal of strategy and teamwork goes into choosing the ideal path and placement of a stone for each situation, and the skills of the curlers determine how close to the desired result the stone will achieve. This gives curling its nickname of “Chess On Ice”. ‘ Source: Wikipedia

    Curler Martin exorcises Olympic ghosts

    “Canada’s men’s curling team (left to right) Adam Enright (alternate), Ben Hebert (lead), Marc Kennedy (second), John Morris (third) and Kevin Martin (skip) celebrate and wave to fans after winning the men’s Olympic curling gold medal game against Norway at the Vancouver Olympic Centre on Day 16 of the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver, BC. Canada beat Norway 6 – 3 in ten ends.”   Photograph by: Ric Ernst – Canwest news Service


    Gold slips away from Bernard

    “Canada’s women’s curling team (left to right) Kristie Moore (alternate), Cori Bartel (lead), Carolyn Darbyshire (second), Susan O’Connor (third) and Cheryl Bernard (skip) show off their silver medals after losing the women’s Olympic curling gold medal game to Sweden at the Vancouver Olympic Centre in Vancouver, British Columbia, Firday, February 26, 2010. Sweden beat Canada 7-6 in 11 ends.”   Photograph by: Ric Ernst, Canwest News Service

    More than 5 millions Canadians are of Scottish descent [myself included], almost the same as the entire population of Scotland.

    Scots over time have made such great contributions towards the building of our country, our history and our culture
    that it is not easy to draw a line where Scotland ends and Canada begins! 😉

    Yours aye,

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