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Club History

Colonel Allan Gilmour (1816-1895) along with is brother-in-law James Manuel established the curling club in 1851. Both men were rich lumber giants in Bytown (Ottawa).

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Allan Gilmour
Born in Scotland, Gilmour came to Canada in 1832 to take a position in his family's established lumber services company. He eventually grew the company into a conglomerate that allowed him to devote some of his fortune to curling and the club he established. In his February 1895 Ottawa Free Press obituary it said "For many years Mr. Gilmour has been president of the Ottawa Curling club and in the games none took a greater interest than he." He was also an accomplished rifleman, had one of the finest art collections in Canada and was a world traveler. When he died he left the largest will ever probated in Ottawa estimated at $1,452,824. His heir was James Manuel's brother, John, who resided with Gilmour until Gilmour's death.

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Beechwood cemetary plot.

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Fast Facts:

  • Starting with just 14 members, the Bytown Curling Club is the oldest club in the area by 37 years. It began on the Rideau Canal.
  • 1855 – The club name switched to the Ottawa.
  • Members didn't use rocks. They each brought their own “iron” rocks to play and did so for a century.
  • 1858 – A shed on Lisgar Street provides for 1 sheet of ice.
  • 1860 – Gilmour pays for a lumber shed for 1 sheet of ice where the Supreme Court is and close to his home.
  • joseph currier
    Joseph Currier
    1861 – For a cup donated by Joseph Currier, the Ottawa and Buckingham Curling Clubs begin an annual competition that continues today. Another rich lumberman, Currier, after suffering the death of 3 children and 2 wives builds a stone mansion called Gorffwysfa (Welsh for 'place of rest'). The mansion is located at 24 Sussex Drive.
  • 1867 – A frame rink for 2 sheets of ice is erected on Albert Street.
  • 1875 – The long association of Governors General begins when the Marquis of Dufferin donates the first Governor General Trophy for a double-rink iron competition. The Ottawa eventually wins 31 including 4 of 5 gifted by Lord Stanley and 1 gifted by Earl Grey. The Ottawa has its own Stanley and Grey Cups!
  • 1878 – The Albert Street rink is moved south to Vittoria Street at a cost of $510.
  • sanford fleming
    Sanford Fleming
    1879 – Some illustrious members join:  Sir Sanford Fleming, the engineer of the CPR and time zone inventor as well as Canada’s second Prime Minister, Alexander McKenzie.
  • 1888 – Lead by Sir Sanford Fleming, disgruntled OCC curlers form their own club because of the Ottawa’s temperance policy.
  • 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. The Jubilee was for many years the most prestigious curling event to win in the country.
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    Vittoria Street
    1906 - John Manuel, President of the Club since the death of his uncle Allan Gilmour in1895,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.
  • 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.
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    O'Conner Street Facade
    1916 – The 4 sheet O'Connor Street building opens; that same year the Centre Block of Parliament burns down.
  • 1921 – The end of an era. 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 – The first artificial curling ice in Ottawa is installed and a fifth sheet added.
  • 1933 – Women are allowed to curl in their own division and the Vittoria Lawn Bowling Club ceases operation during the Depression.

 

CLUB PRESIDENTS

  1. 1851-1895: Col. Allan Gilmour
  2. 1895-1914: John Manuel
  3. 1914-1917: James Manuel
  4. 1918-1921: William Manuel
  5. 1922-1936: George F. Henderson, KC
  6. 1936-1942: Hugh Carson
  7. 1942-1950: Darcy Finn
  8. 1950-1952: Olin Beach
  9. 1952-1955: W.E. Hodgins
  10. 1955-1958: Ted Moffat
  11. 1958-1961: B. Brocklesby
  12. 1961-1963: Howard Grills
  13. 1964-1966: Alan Brown
  14. 1966-1968: Gordie Perry
  15. 1968-1970: Harold Scrim
  16. 1970-1972: Bill Davis
  17. 1972-1974: E. Macdonald
  18. 1974-1976: Don MacKinnon
  19. 1976-1978: Dick Rich
  20. 1978-1980: Dave Smith
  21. 1980-1982: Stan Grover
  22. 1982-1984: Ted Root
  23. 1984-1986: Pat Craig
  24. 1986-1988: Bob York
  25. 1988-1990: Rod Matheson
  26. 1990-1992: Sandra Chisholm
  27. 1992-1994: Brad Shinn
  28. 1994-1996: Steve Mitchell
  29. 1996-1998: Eric Johannsen
  30. 1998-2000: Barbara Brown
  31. 2000-2002: Terry Clark
  32. 2002-2004: Gord Perry
  33. 2004-2006: Gayle Greene
  34. 2006-2008: Gord Kritsch
  35. 2008-2012: Geoff Colley
  36. 2012-2014: Michael Loewen
  37. 2014-2016: Tom Sinclair
  38. 2016-Present: Matthew Kellett

© Ottawa Curling Club 2017