By Colleen Palumbo
Heavy snowfall in 1896 caused the roof of the curling rink to collapse, taking one whole side of the rink with it. Twice in Golden’s history their rinks have collapsed under snow loads, March 1972 was the second.
Negligence on the part of the caretaker was considered responsible for the roof collapsing. Captain Frank Armstrong had gone to the building to check on the progress of the work that had been done to the interior the night before and was just outside the building at the time of the collapse. It was fortunate that no one was in the building at the time of the mishap.
On Monday morning a group of the local curlers got together to see what could be done to the building. That evening a meeting of the membership voted to repair the damage to the building as long as the costs could be held within a certain dollar value.
Tuesday morning word was put out that the group wanted to repair the building and by afternoon Dan McDonald offered to do the necessary repairs within the cost set by the club. Wednesday morning saw a group of workmen on site and within a month the building was ready to start the new season.
The Golden Curling Club saw that it was going to be necessary to erect a new and more substantial building before too much time passed. A meeting of those interested in the erection of a new rink was held March 22nd 1898 and after much discussion it was resolved that the Golden Rink Company Limited be formed with a capital stock of $5000 in 500 shares at $10 each. A Finance Committee was formed and they were authorized to make the necessary steps to get a charter, have shares printed, and start selling shares.
A building committee was also appointed and were given the power to have plans drawn up that would be presented to the membership at their next meeting. The building plans were to take in consideration that the new rink had to serve both skaters and curlers and that both activities could be done at the same time. At the next and subsequent meetings, the plan was presented to the membership and agreed upon by the whole. Plans were set into motion immediately and the contract for the construction of what was too be a huge building were in place.
A visitors lounge at one end of the building was 38 feet by 12 feet. The front of the room facing the rink was paneled with glass, and had a heater in it for the comfort of the onlookers. Above this gallery was another room from which the spectators could watch the action and still keep warm. The building was very well lit with 75 windows along its walls.
In December of 1899 an addition was made to the building of 14 feet so that the area of the room could be changed. From this time on the curling would be carried out in the centre of the room and the skaters actually had an Oval around the outside of the building 16 feet wide. 11 circuits around the outside equated a mile. Along with this addition the rink company made it possible to open some of the windows to allow the cold air from the outside to penetrate faster while the ice was being flooded.
Over these first years of the Golden Curling Club many special events took place, bonspiels were staged in late January or early February of each year, and usually included a Carnival. The dress carnival was the big event of the week for the families involved. A great deal of time and thought was put into making winning costumes. Admissions into the Carnival were 25 cents if you were not a costume and it was free if you were in costume. Prizes were donated by local merchants and were awarded for best mens and ladies, best boys and girls, and best comic.
Trophies and prizes were donated to the Golden Curling Club by big name companies, merchants, local patrons, and residence. While playing in Calgary the Goldenite’s won the Burns Cup and the Brewery Cup each of which came to Golden and would remain in perpetuity, glass decanters, oak cabinets, opera glasses, shoes, shaving mugs, best sandstones. The Golden Museum has among its collection the Forester cup donated by H.E. Forster, the H.G. Parson trophy often called the Henderson trophy because of the many wins by the Henderson family, and the district metal from 1898 one by H.G. Parson.
The Club also had the Columbia River Lumber Company trophy from the local sawmill, the Kennedy and Douglas company, merchants of Toronto put up a curlers broom and the Calgary Brewing Company put up stones as prizes.