A Brief History
The origin of this little known but grand old game is a bit vague.
Some believe it had its beginnings as "childs play" on
the frozen ponds and streams of the Continent. Others insist that
the "roaring game" is Scottish through and through. With
such words as bonspiel (meaning good play), channelstane, hack,
and hog - one would say that the continentals had an argument. On
the other hand, it is a known fact that the fascinating game of
curling appeared in Scotland in the early sixteenth century - as
evidenced by a curling stone, bearing the date of 1511, which was
unearthed near Stirling. There is also evidence that at about the
same time, the inhabitants of Kilsyth formed one of the first curling
organizations, followed soon by other clubs. It was not until 1760,
however, that the famous Edinburgh Cannonmills Club was established.
Both Robert Burns and Sir Walter Scott refer to the game as the
"manly Scottish exercise."
In 1838, the Grand Caledonian Curling Club was formed for the sole
purpose of fixing standardized rules of the game for use wherever
curling was played. This organization is still in existence, but
is now known as the Royal Caledonian Curling Club, having been granted
this title by Her Majesty the Queen in 1843. Most curling clubs
worldwide, through their local associations, are affiliated with
this "Mother Club."
Many other countries enjoy the sport - such as Switzerland, where
there are upwards of 80 clubs. Here in the highest altitudes, keen
natural outdoor ice is found - especially during the months of December
and January. England, Sweden, Norway, France, Italy, Austria, Germany,
New Zealand, Denmark, Finland, China, Japan, and Austrialia are
among the countries also having curling clubs.
In Canada, the game has flourished since the beginning of the 19th
century when the Scottish regiments found themselves in Quebec where
the climate in the winter was such that it could be played on the
frozen lakes and rivers. Because of the difficulty in obtaining
granite stones from Scotland, cast iron "stones" originally
made from melted down cannon balls were used. Up until 1955, "irons"
were still popular, in fact, many of the natives preferred them
The Royal Montreal Curling Club, organized in 1807, confines its
activities to curling only and has the distinction of being the
oldest club for any kind of sport o the North American continent.
Curling now thrives in all the provinces of Canada, there being
over 3,000 curling clubs where over 500,000 men, women, and children
enjoy the sport. During some of the championship matches at the
Regina Stadium, over 54,000 spectators have gathered to enjoy watching
Curling has been played in the United States since about 1830 when
it crept down across the Canadian border into the New England states
and into the northern part of Michigan. The first association, known
as the Grand National Curling Club of America, was founded in 1867
and is still in operation. The game was revived in the central states
in about 1936, having been dormant for almost 30 years. The game
also spread to the northwest and Alaska - the Fairbanks Curling
Club was formed in 1906, and the Anchorage Curling Club in 1954.
The U.S. Curling Association was formed in 1958, and now there are
affiliated associations and over 135 curling clubs and over 15,000
curlers in all parts of the United States!