Moncton Curlers’ Association (MCA) was founded in 1881, providing curling and social activities to the Greater Moncton Area. Curling activities included men and women, seniors, youth and high school curlers.
The curling facility was first located on lower Lutz Street in a shed owned by Tuttle Bros. Funeral Home (Abram Akerley Tuttle was one of the founding members of MCA). It was then moved to Mechanic Street, only to be destroyed by fire after which it was moved to its present location, with natural ice on a small brook south of Mountain Road. Later a shed was built to enclose the two curling sheets of ice.
In the early 1950’s, a major expansion was made to the present ice shed, providing five sheets of curling ice. Steel headers distributed brine to piping to provide freezing for the ice.
In 2007, Phase I of a major up-grading at MCA was begun. This started with the removal of 30 tons of scrap steel piping and headers. Insulation was laid over a sand base and new plastic piping and headers were installed. This work was carried out during the summer and fall with over 1700 hours by 30 senior volunteers, saving the Club an estimated $140,000. The new ice-floor surface has provided a better curling surface and the insulation has resulted in energy savings as the plant is not running so much as in previous years.
In 2010, a Low-E Ceiling was installed, allowing for the raising of the ice temperature by two degrees, resulting in energy savings and improved atmospheric conditions for curlers. A water-return system through the compressor was installed in 2011, thereby reducing the environmental footprint and providing saving on water costs. One ice technician is employed for the six months of the curling season.
A recent project has been providing introduction to curling for new immigrants to the Greater Moncton Area through co-operation with MAGMA (Multicultural Association of Greater Moncton Area). Besides curling, the facility includes a banquet room with a large dance floor, kitchen and dining facilities, accommodating up to 250 guests.
In 1946, a group of approximately 20 dedicated Moncton Curling Association members met at Ralph Lister’s shoe store and decided to build Moncton’s second curling club. April 30, 1946, saw meetings at City Hall later followed by the first general meeting of shareholders in October 1946, resulting in the election of officers.
Tenders for the building construction were called July 6, 1946. The original plans called for wooden trusses from British Columbia. Due to lumber shortages following the war, the ice shed was constructed from steel trusses provided by an Amherst Company.
Curling began in the fall of 1946. The official opening bonspiel was February 1, 1947, with 300 guests in attendance at the new facility on Capitol Avenue. RT McCully was elected the first president, and he proudly mounted the stuffed “Beaver” for display in the club.
The club developed, changed and cultivated many winning teams in Ladies, Men and Mixed Leagues. Numerous dedicated volunteers gave their free time to serve the members and support the organization. The 1956 and 1985 Briers were held in Moncton. The Monctonian Bonspiel, which continues to be a successful annual event, was first held in 1960. In 1973, the Junior Program became a reality at the Beaver Club. The Silver Broom was hosted by Moncton in 1980. The Little Rock Program was introduced at the Beaver Club in 1989. In 1990, the Moncton 100 International Cashspiel, the largest ever cash spiel, was held in Moncton.
During the mid-late 90’s and into the new millennium, the tide of change began impacting the Beaver Club. The evolution of curling to become a recognized sport rather than a social pastime was significant. The Beaver Club events such as dances and dinners diminished as new social venues opened in Moncton. The removal of gaming devices from the Beaver Club created another challenge for continued financial stability.
During this same period, the Moncton business scene changed with the influx of significantly more national and regional businesses. This impacted the membership profile of the Beaver Club. Many company owners and influential senior officers that once were the backbone of the Beaver Club were replaced by professionals and office workers. Although these new members offered valuable services and volunteer time, they had more limited access to corporate resources to assist the club in its various initiatives.
Talks commenced several years ago with fellow Moncton curling officials to look at ways to streamline operations and generate efficiencies that would better meet the current marketplace. An initial partnership arrangement between the curling clubs progressed to the amalgamation of interests into Curl Moncton Inc.
In the years following World War II, many young Acadian men returned from Europe. Upon their return to “Acadie”, they had a desire as young business and professional people to get together to share thoughts and ideas.
These young men expressed a need for a French-speaking organization, similar to the Junior Chamber of Commerce, interested in studying business and the economy. As a result, these forward-thinking Acadians formed a group and created an economic forum.
A small building was purchased from the Department of National Defence and moved to a vacant lot on the corner of Essex Street and Lockhart Avenue. After renovations by volunteers, this modest building met their needs and became their official meeting place. On the 24th of April, 1947, Le Cercle Acadien was born. A Constitution was adopted and a Board of Directors elected – President, Euclide Daigle, Vice-President, Réné Léger, Secretary Émery LeBlanc and Treasurer, Jean Collette.
The 1956 Brier was held in the Moncton Stadium with many members of Le Cercle Acadien, many of whom were members of the Moncton Curlers Association or the Beaver Curling Club, working on the organizing committees for this major event. During this time, the Moncton curling fraternity felt it was time for another curling club in Moncton. After much organization and financial planning, members of Le Cercle Acadien initiated the construction of the Beauséjour Curling Club, completed in 1957.
On the morning of December 9, 1975, a fire of unknown origin destroyed the entire building and contents of the Beauséjour Curling Club, much to the dismay of 600 members of the Men’s Club, 90 members of the Ladies’ Club and 100 members of the Business Ladies’ Club. Thankfully, the Moncton Curlers Association and the Beaver Curling Club accommodated the Beauséjour curlers and their social and business commitments for the next two years.
A reconstructed, modern Beauséjour Curling Club and men’s club was opened in June 1977; however, the years following reconstruction were only moderately successful. The Beauséjour was faced with significant change in society. As well, the competition for peoples’ entertainment dollars increased with the growth in the number of bars downtown and in other areas of the city, significantly reducing the revenue and forcing bankruptcy in 2000
A group of avid members undertook the task of restructuring the Club’s finances, and, with the sales of shares, was able to purchase the assets of the Beauséjour Curling Club from the Les Propriétés Beauséjour. In 2002, Curling Beauséjour Incorporated was formed with new executive committees.
A strategic plan was implemented, marking the change from a club (drinking establishment) to a sporting environment run as a business model. This new financial model focused on the sport of curling, using Learn to Curl, training and teaching to introduce new individuals to the
sport. With the Learn to Curl program, Curling Beauséjour increased from 168 members to over 400. The resulting increase in revenue enabled the upgrading of ice making equipment, curling stones, etc., and allowed the creation of theCentre of Curling Excellence in 2004. The CCE organized and carried out summer curling camps, coaching clinics and preseason practice opportunities.
The merging of Curling Beauséjour with Wedgewood Hall in 2009 further increased revenue and elevated the image and ability to compete in the catering business. As volume increased, Curling Beauséjour was faced with having to satisfy the demands of new curlers and catering opportunities, necessitating the need to begin partnership discussions with the Beaver Curling Club. The dialogue between the Beauséjour and the Beaver, both having specific needs that could be met through a partnership, led to the creation of Curl Moncton Inc.