Banff Curling Clubhouse
About the Banff Curling Clubhouse
On the prairies in 1900, curling was second only to hockey in popularity. The game came to Canada with Scottish settlers during the 18th century, but it achieved even greater popularity in Canada than it had enjoyed in Scotland.
In 1888, Scottish settlers started curling in Banff. Their first rink consisted of a strip of ice in front of the Brett Sanitorium Hotel. In 1896, Bill Mather, who ran the boathouse and skating rink on the south bank of the Bow River, decided to clear a small, frozen lagoon next to the River for curling. This gave enough room for 4 curling rinks. In 1898, the Banff Curling Club was officially organized. It is assumed that this Clubhouse was built either when the Club was formed, or when the patch of ice was first used in 1896. The Clubhouse’s base is made of widely spaced parallel logs, which would make it easy to slide on the ice and change its location. It has five large windows that allowed people waiting for a turn to play to watch the action while keeping warm. Its heavy shutters protected the little building from vandalism when it wasn’t in use. In 1973, Heritage Park acquired it from the Government of Canada and, with a generous donation from Macdonald Tobacco Inc., restored it to its original appearance. Starting in 1975, curling matches were held at the rink, although they have not taken place there for several years now.