Discovering a Canadian Tradition: Curling

A very rich Canadian experience that many Canadians themselves don’t get around to trying is the wonderfully charming sport of curling.  This sport began in Scotland as a spinoff of land bowling in the wintertime.  Since there are deep Scottish roots in Montreal (and the rest of Canada for that matter) there are a good number of curling facilities throughout the city.  Champlain Montreal students were very fortunate to make their debut to this sport at the oldest curling club in North America, the Royal Montreal Curling Club, which dates back to 1807! 

  When inside of this very unassuming facility located in the heart of downtown, one can surely feel the history between the rich wood work and the endless black and white portraits of old gents with big curly mustaches.  First timers quickly realize that this old tradition was once the popular pastime of the more privileged class causing many of us to get carried away by talking with accents and diction that the uppity old boys club might have used back in the days when Curling’s slogan of “How Social the Game And How Manly” (seen below) was formed.

In short, the game is like a shuffle board on coarse, almost bubbly ice using a very heavy “stone”.  The name “curling” refers to the action of curling the stone (either clockwise or coutner) upon its release by the bowler (known as a skip) which creates a spin motion that enables the stone to arch which instantly opens up the game to broader strategies.  As you might have noticed on TV, the palyers who sweep in the front of the stone can improve the speed of the rock and control the direction in which the stone may curl. Curlers are also very passionate about the sport and end up having to shout out to one another increasingly as the players are separated by the long stretch of ice which creates a pretty comedic scene and also causes you to further lose yourself in the passion for the game.

 The video below is of a final shot in a game that demonstrated the technical and strategic elements of the sport and of course the shouting and infectious enthusiasm that seems to take over most players just minutes into the game. 

Curling has definitely charmed its way into our hearts at the Montreal campus and will continue to be an activity that we will curate for all future students who join us for a semester. 

Written by Duncan McKenna

Activities and Residence Coordinator