The Forest Curling & Social Club is a public facility dedicated to providing the best possible ice conditions and social environment at a reasonable cost for all area residents. With four sheets we strive to provide great casual and competitive curling opportunities to all ages and abilities through house leagues and bonspiels.

For information on how to participate or on ice rental please contact our Club Manager and Ice Technician, Mac Webster.

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Click on the pictures above to view photos of the club inside and out

A Brief History of the Club

Although the club was formed in 1884, the first written minutes on file are dated December 21, 1888. Minutes through the early years recorded election of officers, appointment of skips and the appointment of a patron and Patroness. There is no indication what a patron did.

Early meetings were held at the Franklin House, a hotel, which was located on the site of the new post office. Fees for many years were $4.00 to $5.00 with new curlers at $3.00.

Curling was on natural ice. From an assessment notice we learn that the rink was located on lot 4, East James Street. This lot is now the site of the town’s underground water tank. According to a write up in the 1972 Centennial Book, it states that open air curling took place prior to 1884 on a pond at Hillsboro.

In 1914 club rooms were built to the east of the James Street rink. Several years later the building suffered severe wind storm damage and was abandoned in 1920. For the 1920-21 season curlers transferred to the Prince Street skating rink. The rink was located to the north of the present Central School.

There was no curling done locally during the 1921 to 1924 seasons.

The late Hector Cowan organized a drive for a new curling rink that was built in 1924 on a lot next to the United Church. This was a frame building with two sheets of natural ice. It served curlers continuously until the 1953-1954 season when it was sold to Kernohan Motors for a bus storage.

The curlers formed the Forest Curling Club Limited in 1953 with the hope of selling shares to raise funds to build their own rink. Some curlers went to Sarnia to curl but it was later decided to rent ice for two days a week and curl in the hockey arena. This was the first curling on artificial ice. Curling on the ice was a challenge. Each week required a heavy flood to level the ice. Sometimes we had runs and many times it was heavy throwing.

On November 12, 1960 the arena burned and all the curling stones were lost. We had no insurance. Arrangements were made with the town to add club rooms to the north end of the new ice arena. A meeting in May 1961 agreed to pay the town $4,000.00 over a ten year period as the club’s share for the club room costs. In addition the club rented the ice for two nights a week at $60.00 per night. In 1960 there were thirty three men and eleven lady members.

In 1965 a fact finding committee composed of Fred Jamieson, Mike Fraser, Bob Dolmage, Dr. Mac Calder and John Fraser was appointed to determine costs and feasibility of establishing a separate curling rink. An agreement was made with the town to locate the present four sheet rink to the north of the arena and extend the club rooms upper area to provide a viewing area.

The cost for the new rink was $90,000.00. The club put up $20,000.00 and the town issued debentures for $70,000.00 to be repaid by the club over 20 years. Two-thirds of the debenture issue was required to be purchased by club members. The final payment is due in 1991. A further agreement with the town requires the club members to guarantee the annual payment and to maintain the premises.

In 1976 the name of the club was changed to the Forest Curling and Social Club. This was necessary in order to obtain a club liquor license. The new company established a ten member board of directors to be elected annually. Six members elected from the general membership and four from the ladies executive comprise the ten member board.

The first directors who incorporated the new company were Bob Dolmage, D. “Buck” Newell and Maisie Mellick, E. Nasvadi, Doris Hart, T. V. “Turk” Promhouse, Fred Jamieson, Bob Say, Bob McKellar, Kay Jones.

Through the years, army personnel, high school students, the Point Edward Servicemen’s Club and Imperial Oil Recreational Club have curling here. On Sunday mornings a men’s club league curls and has breakfast.

In 1977 a new two day bonspiel was started to recognize a long term curler, T. W. Govenlock. This is known as the “Govenlock Spiel” and is a very popular spiel of the year.

In 1978-1979 new cupboards were installed in the kitchen as well as a commercial stove. All improvements inside the club room have been financed by the club.

For a number of years a car club and TV draw helped raise funds to finance our operation. The members run the bar and kitchen which keeps the money in the club.

There have been many changes since 1884, from sixty pound stones to forty, push brooms, artificial ice and indoor curling as well as the attire of the curlers. What has not changed is the friendship and spirit of the game.

As we enter our 101st year we hope the club will continue to prosper. One of the features planned for the 100th celebration is curling on outdoor natural ice, just as our ancestors did.

Prepared by M. Yvonne Mcgregor, 1984

In the years since 1971, several upgrades took place to the arena – a concrete ice pad, a new roof, insulation and siding, and ice equipment upgrades for a total cost of more than $270,000 plus a lot of volunteer effort.

Over the years, membership and ice rental continued to grow, outstripping the capacity of the club rooms. As the facilities aged, the need for major upgrades to the club rooms was recognized in 2005, and fundraising efforts started.

Thanks to tremendous member support, generous grants including the Ontario Trillium Foundation and various fundraising initiatives, Phase 1 of our Modernization Project was completed in 2011 for $372,000. With the priority issues now fixed, we are currently fundraising for Phase 2 – a plan to add more club room space and make the facility fully barrier free.

The Forest Curling & Social Club is a non-profit, community resource, open to all. With members, pay-as-you-play curlers, renters like the Thedford Curling Club, school curling, hall rentals, guests of our 17 bonspiels and Ontario Curling Association competitions, we have a user community of about 800. Our current adult membership is 215.

Our major bonspiels are the Forest Golf Club & Inn Mixed in February and the Govenlock Spiel (Men, Women, Mixed and Seniors) in March.

Prepared by Mike Ash, 2012

About Mac Webster, our Club Manager and Ice Technician

The following article from the Forest Standard of November 2014 by Eric Nixon, will give you some insight into one of Ontario's longest-serving Ice Makers.

"A Man & His Ice"

A snipit of our history ...

1943 Members

Forest Members, Regional Winners, Governor General's Cup, 1943
Back Row from left: Bill Smith, R.E. "Bob" Lawrence, Jack Alpaugh, Stan Morningstar or Mortimer?
Front Row: W.G. "Bill" Lochead, R.S. "Bob" Fleming, T.W. "Govey" Govenlock, L.G. "Glen" Van Valkenburg

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