Curling is one of the world's oldest sports. The first recorded curling match was played in February 1541 in Scotland.
In the 1860s, James "Stonewall" Jackson began organizing curling on the frozen surface of Lake Couchiching. Kitchen brooms with wide heads would be used to sweep during the game. Many farmers would play throughout the winter as they had more leisure time than during the rest of the year. Curling continued to be played on Lake Couchiching into the 1930s, even though it was also played at indoor rinks.
The Orillia Curling Club was established in 1873, having its first rink on the north side of Coldwater Road between Peter and Matchedash Street. After three of the early buildings caught fire, the club was forced to relocate to 450 West Street North.
At the Elgin Street location in February 1886, teams from Orillia, Collingwood, Waubaushene and Churchill played to determine who would represent the County in the Ontario Tankard. With heavy, wet snow threatening to bury the town, many spectators left early, afraid that the roof might collapse! It didn’t…that evening…and the remaining fans watched Orillia win an exciting match in the final end. But about 9:30 the next morning, the whole building came crashing down, with heavy wood beams and tons of snow descending on the area where curlers and spectators had been just twelve hours earlier! A new rink was built on Andrew Street where it served the curlers until the new West Street location was erected in 1964.
In November 1988, two weeks after the start of the season, the Ontario Ministry of Labour closed the doors to the West Street rink. Their report stated that, due to structural concerns, the building needed $200,000 in repairs before it could reopen. There was just not enough money to do this, so the club closed permanently. Many members joined other clubs in towns nearby or quit curling completely. However, with the rink closed, the club's rocks could be used in the 1990 Blue Light Tankard Ontario Curling Championships.
Women began curling in Orillia in the 1940s, with their own leagues being developed as part of the Curling Club's schedule and mixed teams were established in the 1950s.
In 1999, the Barnfield Point Recreation Centre was opened by the City of Orillia, giving the Curling club a permanent home.
Over the years, the Orillia Curling Club has relied heavily on volunteers from the community for its league organization, its schedulers and its executive committee.
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