Ottawa Curling Club Through the Years
1851-1933
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada


April 20, 2005:
Thanks to David Smith for the following interesting material:

Alan Gilmour was the founder of the Ottawa Curling Club along with his
nephews the Manuel family lived on Vittoria Street (the present site of the
Supreme Court of Canada.

I was at one time the president of the Ottawa Curling Club which originally
had as benefactors, the Gilmour and Manuel families.

I know very little about these people except that they were an intricate
part of the club donating at least three sites for a clubhouse. 

The Ottawa Curling Club Through the Years
1851 Curling begins on the Rideau Canal. The Bytown Curling Club is formed with 14 members and Colonel Allan Gilmour as founder and president. The first curling club in Ottawa (by 37 years) and 19th-oldest club in Canada begins over a century of play with "irons." 1852 The Canadian Branch of the Royal Caledonian Curling Club is established, and the Bytown Curling Club is the first club to be admitted. 1855 Bytown changes its name to Ottawa on January 1. The Bytown Curling Club becomes the Ottawa Curling Club. 1858 A shed on Lisgar Street by the canal provides a single sheet of ice, with water hauled from the canal. 1860 Colonel Gilmour provides a lumber shed with one sheet at the corner of Kent and Vittoria on the cliffs overlooking the Ottawa River, near the present site of the Supreme Court of Canada. 1867 The Club builds a frame rink of its own on Albert Street between Metcalfe and O'Connor, providing two sheets in the year of Confederation. 1875 The double-rink Governor General's Trophy is inaugurated by the Marquis of Dufferin. The Ottawa Club has since claimed 30 Trophy victories in this premiere Canadian Branch event, including holding 4 out of 5 Trophies gifted by Lord Stanley, and one gifted by Earl Grey. 1878 The Albert Street rink is moved to a new location on the south side of Vittoria Street, just west of Kent Street, at a cost of $510. 1879 Membership includes Sanford Fleming. Alexander Mackenzie, who was Canada's second Prime Minister, is elected Honourary member year after year. He and the Governor General, the Marquis of Lorne, are leads in a friendly match against the Ottawa held on the ice at Rideau Hall. 1889 Along with the Governor General's Trophy for 1889, Lord Stanley presents to the Ottawa a Silver Medal dated 1888, the year he assumed office as Governor General. 1899 The Royal Victoria Jubilee Trophy is gifted by the Royal Caledonian Curling Club to commemorate the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria. The Ottawa wins the inaugural trophy, but does not win it again until 1939. 1906 John Manuel, President of the Club since the death of his uncle Allan Gilmour in 1895, erects at his own expense a modern three-story brick building with three sheets of ice on the Vittoria site. Described as the finest club quarters in Canada, it is officially opened by Governor General Earl Grey, who throws the first stone. Opening day also features a match between Ottawa and Arnprior for the Quebec Challenge Cup, which was initiated in 1874 and is still being contested today. 1909 The Ottawa and Rideau curling clubs compete 20 times for the Ottawa-Rideau Trophy over the period 1909 to 1913. The challenge was revived in 1987 and has been held annually since. 1914 John Manuel dies and is succeeded by nephew and heir James Manuel, who was a main force in the establishment of the Royal Ottawa Hospital. The Vittoria site is expropriated by the federal government. A similar building is begun by James Manuel at 440 O'Connor Street, with a bowling green alongside for the Vittoria Bowling Club. 1916 The new building on O'Connor is ready for full use, with four sheets of ice. 1921 The Manuel family line ends with the death of Dr. William Manuel, a brother of James. The Club property is turned over to a trust company for management. 1929 Letters patent are granted under the Companies Act of Ontario, incorporating The Ottawa Curling Club, Limited "to promote the games of curling and bowling." The Club is acquired from the Manuel estate by mortgaging the property and with proceeds from a stock issue (425 shares at $50 each). 1931 Artificial ice is installed (the first Ottawa club to do so), and a fifth sheet of ice is added. 1933 A motion is adopted inviting lady curlers to join the Club and share all its facilities, and Mrs. Hugh Carson is elected first President of the Ladies' Curling Division. The Vittoria Bowling Club, which had been paying taxes and rent on the OCC property it used, ceases operations during the Depression. There is also a history of the club on their premises which you may be able to get a look at. The club had a historian for many many years. I hope the helps a bit, The Gilmour's did a lot of lumbering in two areas that I am aware of and that is at North Nation Mills on the Nation River and of course up the Gatineau River near Maniwaki. I hope this is of some use to you; D.A. Smith
January 28, 2008: For more sports history in the Ottawa area, see our Ottawa Sports History page.
February 4, 2008: Thanks to Bruce Hurley for the following photograph by Topley of curling at Rockliffe Park. Source: Library and Archives Canada, Digital Photograph Collection.
Topley Photo of Curling at Rockliffe, Ottawa
Note the width of the brooms !
July 31, 2008:
Photo Source: Hurling Down the Pine, page 46 Allan Gilmour, 1816-1895 Allan Gilmour, 1816-1895

February 11, 2010:
Rideau Curling Club, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, in 1908 Source: Our Times, A Pictorial Memoir of Ottawa's Past, page 73
Rideau Curling Club, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, 1908Ottawa Curling Club 1908 Names for search engine: Boyd, Macpherson, Brittain, Haycock, Sir Sanford Fleming, McInnes, Jenkins, Sherwood, Sutherland. also temperance, Governor General's Trophy

E-mail David Smith, Bruce Hurley and Al Lewis

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