History of the Cornwall Curling Club, Cornwall, PEI
The history of the Cornwall Curling Club was compiled by Shirley Lank as part of a project initiated by Jerry Muzika through the PEI Curling Association. Editing, photos, and additional information by Derek MacEwen. This project involves the recording of the history of curling clubs on PEI . Any errors and/or omissions are unintentional and should be passed on to Jerry for correction.
The Cornwall Village Council in 1979 became interested in developing community recreation facilities. Gordie Hermann was the council member in charge of special community projects at that time. A survey was conducted with a skating rink, a swimming pool and a curling rink being the most popular items selected as being needed. Discussions were held with the Provincial Government, it was felt there were lots of skating rinks and that the capital and operating expenses of a pool would not make it a viable operation.
It was decided to build a curling rink. The village commission applied for a grant under the Canadian Services Contribution program, which administered grants of 62.5% of capital projects. In the spring of 1980 the residents of the village of Cornwall gave their support for participation in the program. A committee was formed and met weekly to plan and implement the project. They were Roy Coffin, Robert Burns, Ernest Stavert, Rodney Walsh, Gordon Hermann, Wylie Barrett, Robert Perrin, Bill MacLaren, Gary Cameron, David Burt, Don Gorveatt and Rupert Sweetapple.
Harland and Associates Inc. were hired to plan the building using the existing Cornwall Civic Centre building, Clubs were visited and considerable research was done to arrive at the best possible plan. The design was to use the lower floor of the community centre for the clubhouse and to build a four sheet (sand based with Styrofoam underlay) ice shed connected to the centre. The project was projected to cost $310,000.00 of which $125,000.00 was to be from a federal grant, another $125,000.00 was to be a loan from the village, and $60,000.00 was to be raised by the club.
Fund Raising committees were struck and they came up with many ways to raise needed funds. Private donations from interested people with a rebate for 20 years was one fund raiser. Dances, catering and auction sales were other ideas. Other things done were lobster suppers, fashion shows, and calendar sales.
Sod Turning: Hon. Pat Binns – Minister of Municipal Affairs, David Miles – Village Council, David Leslie – C.M.H.C.
|Tenders were called in May 1981 and construction began on July 24, 1981. When it became evident that there would be a curling club, members began by renting ice at Crapaud and Belvedere. The Cornwall club was planned primarily for social curling, mixed curling and junior curling, and also to promote new curler development. The number of provincial junior championships won by the club over the years is indicative of the emphasis placed on junior curlers.
32 pairs of curling stones were purchased from Goldline Curling Supplies in Ontario for $12,300.00 and arrived on PEI on September 13, 1981.
An Open House was held New Year’s Day 1982 and the first rocks were thrown at the opening bonspiel January 18-20.
|Ribbon Cutting: David Miles, Village of Cornwall, MLA Gordon Lank, Club President Robert Burns|
Notes through the years:
1981: The charter Board of Directors consisted of President Bob Burns, along with Gordie Hermann, Roy Coffin, Wylie Barrett, David Burt, Robert Perrin, Bill MacLaren, Rupert Sweetapple, Allan McCormac, Don Gorveatt, Gary Cameron, Ernie Stavert, and Rodney Walsh. Each Board Member made a personal guarantee of $1000.00 to back the startup loan. Initial membership dues were set at $190.00 per Couple or $50.00 Single.
The ladies association started in November under President Phyllis Lowther.
1982: The first year was tough. Lack of experience with ice-making on a sand base resulted in an improperly-frozen base, and cracks began to appear. Repeated floodings were applied, and the ice finally held. The next problem that emerged was humidity in the ice-house. Part of the building design was for plank walls and ceilings to absorb moisture. However, the wood was initially too damp to do the job. Exhaust fans were tried unsuccessfully. There was no money for dehumidifiers. Finally, three ceiling fans were installed to draw air to the ceiling, equalizing the air temperature, and controlling moisture drips.
Despite the startup woes, interest in the club grew, and many new adult and junior curlers were introduced to the game.
After several months, a used ice burner was acquired from O’Leary. Previously, ice-makers came in from Crapaud or Montague to do this.
1983: the club won its first of many provincial juniors championships. Nancy Coffin, Sharon Cole, Pam Sherren, and Heather Worth, with coach Roy Coffin represented the Island in Calgary. The Club hosted very successful provincial seniors and police events, and held a roast, an auction, and sold calendars to help with the mortage payments and ongoing expenses.
1984: Club hosted provincial Scott, and Maritime Firefighters. Fundraising included a fall fashion show, another roast, and compiling and selling a club cookbooks.
1985: More fundraising: names sold on rock handles, another roast, catered a lobster supper, held a beef barbecue.
1986: Ladies association finances the redecorating of the lounge area.
1988: Fundraising: box social and a profitable junior camp held. Little Rocks purchased for the junior program.
1989: Ice rented to figure skaters over the summer to prepare them for Winter Games. To keep the humidity down in the summer, a dehumidifier was purchased as part of the rental fee.
1993: the club had junior men’s and women’s champions: Mark Kinney, Andrew MacDougall, Erik Brodersen, and Chad MacMillan with coach Robbie Roberts; along with Angela Sutherland, Lisa MacRae, Jennifer Coady, and Melinda Kinney, coached by Scott Johnston. Fundraising included a lobster takeout, a draw for $1000, and community calendar sales. Gordon Lank arranged a deal with the bank to refinance the mortgage at a lower rate, and to allow for capital improvements, including new, more efficient lights in the ice area.
Mark Kinney won two more provincial championships for the club, in 1995, again with MacDougall, Broderson and MacMillan, coached by Blair Weeks, and in 1997, with Brodersen, Steve Barber and Chris Hodgson, and coach Bill Kinney.
1999: Under incoming President Bill Brown, the club was renovated with new carpet, paint and furniture, funded by money received from the national Scott Tournament of Hearts, which was held in Charlottetown (our club contributed many volunteers). A loan was taken out to purchase a new Ice King.
2000: The club hosted the PEI Labatt Tankard finals, putting in staging from the Confederation Centre in the lounge area, and bleachers beside the ice to facilitate viewing. There was an admission charge for seating (standing room and bleachers were free), believed to be a first at a PEICA event. Other innovations at the event included piping the on-ice sounds into the viewing area via a PA system, and giving up lockers for use by the curlers. Another first, a website, was setup for the event, with results updated every five ends. This initiative eventually led to a PEI CA website, and end-by-end results for most events. There were also printed programs, and 50X50 draws, all of which contributed to a well-attended, first-class event under the auspices of coordinator Shirley Lank, PEICA president Kevin Champion, and club president Brown.
2001-2002 season: Bill Brown won the new Canadian Curling Association Volunteer of the Year award for PEI. A “pebble-nipper” was purchased by the club Seniors, improving our ice conditions by keeping the pebble more consistent throughout a game.
The club had its first provincial Seniors champions, the rink of Shirley Berry, Sherren Morrison, Arleen Harris, and Linda Fairhurst.
Shirley Berry, Sherren Morrison, Arleen Harris, Linda Fairhurst
Other winners that season included the rink of Bev Beaton, Kelly Watts, Jean Sinclair, and Carolyn Coulson, who won the Eight Year and Under championships, along with Ryan Roggeveen, Shane Coyle, Todd MacKenzie and Craig St. Jean, who won the 15 and Under title. Teams skipped by Ernie Diamond and Roddie MacLean won gold and bronze respectively at the 2002 Canadian Senior Games, held at the nearby Crapaud Community Curling Club.
A committee was put together to celebrate the club’s 20th anniversary. Anniversary events included an anniversary bonspiel, a juniors bonspiel, a history room with memorabilia from years gone by, a banquet, and a variety concert.
The team of Al MacCormac, Gladys Wright, Sterling MacRae, and Zita Cameron won the anniversary bonspiel:
An “old fashioned” variety concert was held, with Mayor Jack Kelly as master of ceremonies. Variety was certainly the word for this event, which featured the Cornwall Curling Club chorus, a monologue by Shirley Lank, a mock wedding featuring Denis Dunne, Roddie MacLean and Valerie Acorn, a singalong by Chick Morrison, accompanied by Gary Crosby, a fashion show with several men dressed in the finest women’s fashions (sorry, no pictures available due to threat of lawsuits), with commentary by Miriam MacLean, a number by the “shady ladies”, a skit by “Dr.” Barb Duncan, Judy Richard, Tracy MacDonald, and Debby Sigwsorth, and a poem about the 20th anniversary recited by Shirley Lank (at end of Cornwall history). Phyllis Lowther and Miriam MacLean (centre front in choir photo) coordinated the concert.
Despite the blustery weather, a large crowd was on hand as piper Danny Campbell lead the “Grand March” from the Cornwall Curling Club to the United Church hall for the 20th Anniversary banquet.
Piper Danny Campbell, followed by Shirley and Gordie Lank, Premier Pat Binns, and other head table guests
After the fine food, a number of head table dignitaries, including a return visit by Pat Binns, now Premier of PEI, along with Opposition Leader Ron MacKinley, Mayor Jack Kelly, King Lion Andy Whitehead, and others who gave words of congratulations to the Club for their 20 years of success.
MLA Ronnie MacKinley presents Club President Denis Dunne with congratulatory certificate
Following this, a number of guest speakers, including founder Gordie Hermann, Ray Wenn, formerly of the Cornwall village commission, President Denis Dunne, Club manager/ coordinator Gordie Lank, Master of Ceremonies Shirley Lank, and Club Vice-President David Carmichael, recounted the history of the club, how it got started, some of the fun times, how the club revived from a slowdown in the early 90′s, and how the Club is flourishing today.
Dr. Ray Wenn
The club also played host to the Scottish men’s curlers, in Canada for the 100th anniversary of the Strathcona cup:
The club was again seeing the fruits of its very popular junior program, with the rink of Meaghan Hughes, Michelle Mackie, Sinead Dolan and Michala Robison winning the Junior Women’s title, and Tyler MacKenzie, Steven van Ouwerkerk, Matthew Piercey, and Ryan Piercey winning the Junior Men’s Championship.
Two charter members, Bill MacLaren and Rodney Walsh, passed away, as well as 78 year old Lorne MacPhail, a popular member who passed away while waiting to curl in the evening draw.
A fund raiser was held, raising $2800 for the new APM Centre, a new hockey rink and recreational facility nearby. The Paulette Richard rink won the provincial Eight Year women’s championship.
2003-2004 season: the Meaghan Hughes rink won their second junior title, with Sinead Dolan, Michala Robison and Erika Nabuurs rounding out the team. Shirley Berry, with 3rd Arleen Harris, second Linda Fairhurst, and lead Karen McIntee rink again won the PEI Senior Women’s championship. The club hosted the provincial Scott, and the Hand in Hand charity women’s bonspiel, which raised approximately $1400 for the Sandra Schmirler Foundation, and was won by the Meaghan Hughes rink, defeating Suzanne Gaudet, the eventual Scott winner, in the final. Three teams from the French islands of St. Pierre and Michelon added an international flavour to our annual Rodd/Greco bonspiel.
2004-2005 season: the Juniors again were double winners, with Meaghan Hughes winning her third consecutive junior women’s title, this time with Kendra Cameron, Sinead Dolan, and Michala Robison. Meanwhile Steve Howard, son of two time world champion Russ Howard, teamed up with Tyler MacKenzie, Peter Girvan, and Jeremy Cameron to take the Junior Men’s title. The club also hosted the Maritime Masters Curling Championships, and a return visit by Guy Hemmings.
A number of individuals and groups have been instrumental in the startup and continued success of the Cornwall Curling Club. Some of these builders included:
The club founders who put together the original funding and building proposal:. Roy Coffin, Robert Burns, Ernest Stavert, Rodney Walsh, Gordon Hermann, Wylie
Barrett, Robert Perrin, Bill MacLaren, Gary Cameron, David Burt, Don Gorveatt and Rupert Sweetapple, along with the charter Board of Directors consisting of President Bob Burns, along with Gordie Hermann, Roy Coffin, Wylie Barrett, David Burt, Robert Perrin, Bill MacLaren, Rupert Sweetapple, Allan MacCormac, Don Gorveatt, Gary Cameron, Ernie Stavert, and Rodney Walsh.
Many of these original founders, including Roy Coffin, Robert Burns, Ernest Stavert, Gordon Hermann, Don Gorveatt, Rupert Sweetapple, and Allan MacCormac are still curling at the club to this day, and continue to be involved in many ways.
The Lank family: Gordon Lank was the area MLA when the club was starting up. Through the years, Gordie and his wife Shirley have been involved in all aspects of the club. Gordon has been a board member on several occasions, has been roasted in club fundraisers, and has been the club president, and the club’s manager. He was responsible for renegotiating the club’s mortgage and obtaining more favourable terms. Shirley has been a board member, a women’s president, a coach, and has served many years on the PEI Curling Association, the PEI Ladies Curling Association, and Curl Atlantic. She has also volunteered for countless bonspiels and dinners, sold advertising on signs and rock handles, and has even been seen on stage monologuing at variety concerts. All of their daughters had their wedding receptions catered by the club, and are also avid curlers. The Lanks also hosted the Scottish curlers at their farm, and held a box social at their cottage.
The Ladies Board of Directors existed from 1982 through 1989, and was responsible for catering many events, for organizing variety concerts, fashion shows, putting together and selling cookbooks, and other fundraisers. They built a kitchen and a pantry in the back, redecorated the lounge area, and bought many items including table cloths, cooking utensils, kitchen appliances, and ice walkway carpet. The Ladies board eventually amalgamated with the Men’s board.
The Seniors have more recently come into prominence at the club. They have been great fundraisers, using the profits from their noontime snack to buy a pebble nipper, a computer, fridge, stove and microwave, and have helped out by catering at events.
There are many individuals and groups who have helped out at the club over the years. It is impossible to list them all, but suffice it to say that the club would not have been able to survive and flourish without its many volunteers.
Here is a list of club presidents, and presidents of the ladies board:
YEAR PRESIDENT LADIES PRESIDENT
1981-82 Bob Burns
1982-83 Ernie Stavert Phylis Lowther
1983-84 Gordie Hermann Dianne Wenn
1984-85 Robert Wright Wendy Grant
1985-86 Rupert Sweetapple Gladys Wright
1986-87 Dick MacDonald Miriam MacLean
1987-88 Bob MacWilliams Shirley Lank
1988-89 Gordie Hermann Marie MacDonald
1989-90 Dick MacDonald
1990-91 John Berry
1991-92 Joe Doyle
1992-93 Doris MacWilliams
1993-94 Gordon Lank
1995-96 Bill MacLaren
1996-97 Gordon Lank
1997-98 Jim Farquharson
1998-99 Dwayne MacNeil
1999-00 Bill Brown
2001-01 Ray Biagé
2001-02 Denis Dunne
2002-03 Derek MacEwen
2003-04 Ann Doucette
2004-05 Dick St. John
Cornwall Curling Club
By Shirley Lank
As anniversaries come and go,
and with them come the thought
of all the happy memories
that the passing years have brought.
And looking back through the years
it’s a joy to reminisce
For memory opens wide the door
On a happy day like this.
And with sweet nostalgia
We longingly recall
The happy times of long ago
Which seems the best of all.
Twenty years ago!
It seems a long long time
Gordie Hermann, Roy Coffin, Ernie Stavert
Are three names that come to mind
There was Al MacCormac, David Birt, Gary Cameron & Robert Perrin
As well as Wylie Barret, Rupert Sweetapple, Don Gorveatt and Billy MacLaren
Those were the folks who served as directors of that first board
Who can believe its been 20 years. Oh lord!
The ladies also formed an organization
To help buy items and raise funds was their aim.
As well as plan and organize
For teams to play the game.
Rocks were purchased from Ontario
New handles for these were to come later
As well as glasses, dishwasher, hot pots
And then an ice scraper.
We’ve raised funds for little rocks
Furniture, dishes and paderno pots
We’ve sold cook-books, tickets and had draws
We had parties, Many, some with Santa Claus
We’ve had wakes
For heaven sakes!
Over the years we’ve seen some people come and go
We’ve had good ice and some just so-so
We’ve had lots of fun
Some winning teams
We wouldn’t be here
If it weren’t for Gordie’s dream
Roasts were held
One, two, three
Gordie Hermann, Gordie Lank & Miriam MacLean
Were the three Roastees!
The future who knows
What it will hold
But we know in 10 years
More stories will be told
So as we gather for this occasion
May we look forward to many more great times
More fun, more food, more good games,
Until we meet in ten years for another celebration!
Good night! God Bless!