Bradford has a long history in the world of curling, and you could be a part of it too.
The new curling season is just weeks away from starting in the historic building at 125 Simcoe Rd.
President of the club, Brian Febel, overlooks the iceless rink as staff prep the foundation for flooding, a three-week process from start to finish.
While the club already has an active membership of over 200 curlers annually, anyone between the ages of six to 99 is welcome to join the club.
There offer men’s, women’s, and mixed leagues throughout the season which run from
mid-October to the end of March, as well as senior and kids leagues. Summer sessions, unfortunately, aren’t possible due to the lack of insulation in the building; the heat from outside would simply melt the ice.
The building has seen generations of avid curlers and was built in 1959 at the price of roughly $50,000 (equivalent to just over $500,000 today). But at the earliest years of the club in 1880, the members would have to curl on the Bradford Canal. Eventually, they moved indoors where they set up a rink on the third floor of the Co-operative Storage on Bridge Street, as well as underneath the bleachers of another arena that has since been removed.
It’s clear that curling culture has been strong in this town for the last 120+ years with people going to great lengths to play the sport, which has likely inspired today’s generation of rock-throwers.
The sport was invented in Scotland in the early 16th century and has been fully embraced by Canadians, with roughly 75 per cent of all professional curlers coming from Canada. Notable highly decorated Canadian athletes, such as Glenn Howard, John Morris, Pat and Jane Perroud, have all played curling within the four walls of the Bradford Club.
Febel emphasizes that anyone can play, no matter what age or body type.
“It’s a sport you can quite easily play, having never played before, and that’s why we’re inviting people from all walks of life to come and try it here at the club," he said.
The lanes at the Bradford Club are also wheelchair accessible.
Febel’s path to curling also has historical significance. His grandfather played the sport, and although Febel was curious about it at a young age, he didn’t have the means available to play. He was reintroduced to it after moving to Bradford and discovering the Club at Carrot Fest in 2011. He signed up for a free curling clinic, where he was able to try the game at no cost with experienced curlers and was instantly hooked,
It wasn’t just the game that kept him coming back, but also the people involved. “It’s such a great environment,” he explains. “It’s the people that make the place, and these are great people.”
Febel went on to join the board and eventually earn the title of president five years ago. The club’s social circle is solid even when they’re not on the ice as Febel and 40 other members enjoy a golf league together in the warmer months.
If you love the sport of curling or if you’re looking for something new and unique to try, now is the time to register. The club is having its annual Free Curling Clinic on Oct. 15,18, and 20. No experience is necessary, and equipment is provided.
Visit www.bradfordcurlingclub.ca for more info.