The following is a brief history of our Club assembled by Gord Clark from newspaper clippings, minutes of meetings and financial statements. Most of the information was found in a box of material that included a briefcase belonging to Harry Armstrong. We hope you enjoy reading the material and while it is as accurate as possible much of the information is difficult to verify. If anyone has corrections or additional information please forward to Gord Smith for update.
Curling in Barrie originated on the frozen waters of Kempenfelt Bay of Lake Simcoe. In 1877 a club was formed and a charter was granted. Today we are a seven sheet not-for‐profit curling club owned and operated by members of the Barrie Curling Club.
Over the years the Barrie Curling Club was located on several sites. In 1899 the first Club was constructed on the current site of Barrie Collegiate on the side of the skating rink. In 1902 the Barrie Curling and Athletic Club was incorporated and built a 165x68 foot frame rink on the corner of Clapperton and Sophia Streets and the users paid rent for the use of the facility ($200 for the season in 1932). This appears to have been a four sheet facility shared with the Barrie Thistle Club using two sheets and the Barrie Curling and Athletic Club the other two sheets. On December 5, 1931 following the Thistle Club proposing the amalgamation of the two Clubs to be known as The Barrie Curling Club, the Executive of the two Clubs adopted the motion giving both Clubs equal representation.
In December 1945 a motion was passed at the Annual General Meeting that a constitution be drawn up for the Barrie Curling Club outlining the duties if the officers and committees. At the same meeting a presentation was made on the status of a new rink. Mr. E.W. Jones reported that they had consulted with the architect in Midland and plans were being drawn up for a five sheet rink “up to date in every way” and somewhat similar to the Midland rink. Following considerable discussion a motion was passed that the Committee of Way be given the power of means to proceed with finances for the new rink. Progress was slow in raising funds and members were encouraged to sell more shares in the new rink. It appears that the plans included the Bowling and Tennis Clubs also using the new rink but they would operate as separate entities. By December 1946 between eleven and twelve thousand dollars had been pledged to the new rink and following considerable discussion a motion was passed that a new committee be appointed and proceed with the new rink. On May 1, 1947 Harry Armstrong was appointed chairman of the Barrie Curling Club Building Fund with a mandate to make plans and raise funds for new and modern curling rink. By November 1947 $24,450 had been promised. On Jan. 16, 1949 the Club approved a request from the ladies of the Town who were interested in forming a Ladies Curling Club and that they be allotted time to curl. In March 1949 the Executive initiated plans to build a new rink and also proceed with forming the Barrie Curling Club into a limited company so that action could be taken to sell shares covering the construction of the new curling rink. On August 19, 1949 the Building Committee had a credit of $25,000 in the Building Fund and proceeded with plans for the erection of the new curling club. In September 1949 the Building Committee approved the expenditure of $12,000 to the Structures and Foundations Co. Ltd for the purchase of the steel and sheeting that was removed from the Barrie Arena (built in 1934). In November 1949 the Committee reported to the Directors that a tentative price of $60,000 had been submitted by the trades to cover the cost of the new rink based on the blueprints provided by the architect.
On December 1, 1949 Letter’s Patent incorporating the Barrie Curling Club Limited was granted to the provisional Directors of the Company (Harry Armstrong, James Wilbur Harris, John Reiner Boys, Arthur Reginald Girdwood and Anthony Saso). When the site permit for the planned new site was rejected by the Town Council, the shareholders approved the offer by the Barrie Agricultural Society (BAS) on June 15, 1950 to lease the Club a site on their newly opened fair grounds at 175 Essa Road provided Town Council would bear the expense and assume the risk of moving the steel girders and lumber that was on the site adjoining the arena and providing the Council would co‐operate with the Curling Club and the BAS regarding assessment of the proposed new building for taxes. In May 1952 Bertram Brothers started construction of the 24,500 square foot (ice, basement and two levels) seven sheet curling facility (102.5ft.x180.8 ft.) and the Club opened later that year as a result of countless hours of time and effort by many dedicated people led by Club President Harry Armstrong and Vern Adams. On October 21, 1952 attendees at the annual meeting approved a motion that the Barrie Curling Club be dissolved and the Barrie Curling Club Limited carry on all future business. The Examiner reported the demolition of the curling rink at 76 Clapperton on June 21, 1954.
Amongst the numerous changes from today, the members owned their own rocks and that the Club maintained an insurance policy for the stones. We believe some of the stones are still at the Club, but despite some rumours to the contrary they are no longer in use.
The Club endured numerous problems in its infancy, mainly having to curl on “natural” ice during the first year of operation when the season was only three weeks long but 1953 brought artificial ice. On July 3, 1953 the Board approved the purchase of 43,800 feet of one inch pipe at a price of $7,129.36 and the contract be awarded for artificial ice equipment to J.H. Locke of Toronto for $16,300 once satisfactory financial arrangements had been made. In August 1953 a by‐la w was passed approving a loan by way of mortgage of $35,000 to pay for the artificial ice surface. The loan was to be guaranteed by a minimum of ten of the shareholders, 60% of whom shall comprise the Board of Directors until such time as the loan is repaid. Future Directors were required to sign off as guarantors of the mortgage until it was paid in full in 1958. At the same meeting the Secretary‐Treasurer of the BAS announced that the Club would receive a minimum of $15,000 from the Government through the BAS when the building was finished in accordance with government specifications. On November 19, 1953 the building was officially opened by Mayor James Hart throwing the opening stone. Wi l Harris and Tony Saso engineered a draw to provide funds for Matched Rocks which were in purchased and in use during the 53/54 season. Financial statements from 1969 identify the value of the stones at $3,705. On May 26, 1954 the BAS advised the Club that the Club would receive a $20,000 grant related to the building of the new club. It is also noted in these minutes that the Directors were authorized to sell old curling stones at their discretion with the consent of the owners and that the proceeds from the sale would be applied towards the new stones. In November 1954 the steel roof was installed at a cost of $4,000. In 1958 the dehumidifier system was installed at a cost of $8,325 by Linde‐Hall Canadian Refrigeration. Ten years later a 9400 square foot basement and two story addition to the front of building was constructed (30ft.x104.4 ft) and the coal stoked boiler was replaced with a gas fired boiler. In 1975 the condenser was installed and in 1977 the stones were resurfaced at a cost of $1600. In 1976 renovations were completed including construction of the offices.
In 1980 two 350,000 BTU furnaces were installed at a cost of $6,132 above the lounge for heating the ice area. The 1985 Barrie Tornado removed a major portion of the roof and damaged the lounge and kitchen. During the reconstruction a fire ignited by a welding torch caused significant damage. Throughout the disasters the members prevailed and no curling time was lost.