Name: North Grenville Curling Club
Year: 2017
Category: Builder

Early Beginnings
The Ottawa Valley has been a hotbed of the sport of curling for over a century and many communities around the Valley have had active clubs and facilities for years. Folks from the Kemptville and area have participated in curling for years but not in their own community. Between the late 1970’s and the beginning of the new millennium more than one group tried in vain to either build or acquire a structure for curling and establish a full fledged curling club in the community.

The Kemptville Curling Association (KCA), formed in 1988 under the leadership of the ardent curlers, Gary Pickard, Terry Whalley and Lloyd Bildson. With the support of more than 150 members, they tried for a number of years to see their dream of a curling facility for Kemptville realized. Its members rented ice time initially at the Nepean Sportplex, and later at the Smiths Falls Curling Club while the many Association members raised funds through major raffles, pledges, etc. to build a substantial down payment towards their goal. In addition, KCA was able to acquire curling stones and other equipment from the closing of a military club which were stored for years in anticipation of a new club. Heather Pitt, Lori Reason, along with past presidents of KCA, Tony Gundy and Robert Stevenson were instrumental, along with the three mentioned above, in keeping the dream alive.
By 1995 curlers of KCA began dispersing to other clubs in the area but a small ad hoc group remained active. It sought financial help through the Wintario Gaming Commission and banks to no avail and ultimately went dormant with the funds raised safely deposited in the bank.

Good fortune came to this ad hoc group early in the new millennium when Mayor Bruce Harrison, an active curling enthusiast in his own right, met with the group to discuss the Municipality’s plan for a new municipal facility which would include two ice rinks. His idea was to have the curling group give consideration to adapting the existing rink for curling and lease it from the Municipality. The curling group arranged, through the Canadian Curling Association, to have Shorty Jenkins, considered the world expert in the use of hockey rinks for curling, come to North Grenville and assess our rink in terms of conversion to a curling facility. His report was very positive and workable so the curling group proceeded to the next step which included a memorandum of understanding with the Municipality to undertake an arrangement regarding KCA’s financial contribution towards the new Municipal Centre and, ultimately, a lease agreement. Those involved in this interim period included Gary Pickard, Terry Whalley, Lloyd Bildson, Chal Conn, Brian Cassidy, Bill White, George Blake, Robert Stevenson.
Establishing the Club

By 2004 discussions were advancing to the point where it was felt a whole new curling executive needed to be formed under the name of North Grenville Curling Club (NGCC). George Blake played the lead information of this new entity. The first NGCC executive committee included: Brian Cassidy, President, Bill White, VP, Lori Reason, Sec./Treasurer, Mary McClory, Chal Conn, David Brown, Norma Fisher, Don Straby, Winston Kinnaird. Brian Cassidy and Bill White were charged with representing the executive in the negotiations relating to the lease agreement with the Municipality.

North Grenville Curling Club
The North Grenville Curling Club opened its doors with nearly 400 members (including 75 social members) in the fall of 2005 after tremendous efforts by numerous volunteers, working collectively in excess of 4000 hours, to prepare the ice shed, ice plant, changing rooms, and convert the foyer to a club lounge for the opening day.

NGCC recently concluded 12 years of successful operation, averaging about 300 members annually. There are curling leagues functioning October to April five nights a week and four daytime leagues. Youth curling is held Sunday afternoon and has been very successful. Schools have brought groups to learn the game since our opening year, and continue to participate in this opportunity. The Club hosts bonspiels, “in house” and invitational, friendlies, and has hosted the Provincial Wheelchair Curling Championship. NGCC has entertained Rotary Club touring curlers, a mixed curling tour, and the Strathcona Cup curling tour; all tours from Scotland, in friendly competition.

NGCC has gained international acclaim resulting from two major events. Firstly, as host of the prestigious Ottawa Valley Curling Association Ladies Fall Classic, which has seen the best women curlers from Canada, USA, Europe and Asia compete in this World Curling Tour event for major prize money.

Jim Dolan, one of our best curlers and organizers, acts as Chair of this event in which the present World Champion, Rachel Homan’s Team, has won the event twice. In May of 2016 the World Curling Summit was hosted by NGCC. This event was sponsored by the World Curling Federation (WCF). Curlers from around the world were here to help render a decision on the type of brush permitted for use in sanctioned competitions conducted by the Curling Associations as members of the WCF.

The leadership provided to our Boards of Directors by our Presidents has taken North Grenville Curling Club to new heights each and every year.

Brian Cassidy 2004/06,
Bill White 2006/08
Gary Drawson 2008/10,
Barb Gour 2010/12
Ralph Taylor 2012/14,
Rob Kluke 2014/16,
Ernie Fafard 2016
As with all organizations their those who spear head, builders who commit extraordinary time and interest and perseverance and to that end tonight we will recognize the following: Bill White, Gary Pickard, Brian Cassidy, Lloyd Bildson and Terry Whalley for their efforts to establish, cross hurdles and commit to bringing curling to North Grenville.