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West: Day 17 – Fort Rouge CC & Granite CC, Winnipeg

Breakfast and morning class in the hotel and on the bus for 9:15am. It’s minus 30 degrees outside. Judging by his haircut, we suspect that our new bus driver may well be an Elvis Presley impersonator in his spare time. Regardless, he is a big hunk of love, a teddy bear, someone who appreciates one night and a little less conversation. He also shuttled us to and from Heartbreak Hotel, left us crying in the chapel and all shook up. Thank you very much.

All of the main roads are completely covered in hard packed snow and ice but everyone just drives at the same speed as normal. It’s hard to comprehend how it’s done. Back home this would mean utter carnage on the roads.

We were welcomed to Fort Rouge Curling Club by President Eric Wallace. It’s a beautiful ice rink with an arched fir wood panelled ceiling. You won’t see anything as attractive as this built in the modern day. It has a lot of history to it and celebrated its centenary year in 2019. We had some really tough games in the morning and came out all even on shots – two wins two losses. Lunch was a very jovial affair with a lot of laughter. Our hosts were just sorry that we were missing out on the full Fort Rouge Saturday afternoon experience. They definitely know how to enjoy themselves.

So now it’s onto Granite Curling Club, the oldest in all of Western Canada and one of the very oldest on the entire continent

Founded in 1880. It is an establishment that deserves acknowledgement and respect.

The Air Canada Silver Broom Trophy lives here now, having been posted missing, presumed lost, after it was last played for at the Kelvin Hall in Glasgow in 1985.

We met some really stiff opposition. What else would you expect from such a significant and historic club? Our positive shot score for the tour so far took a serious dent. Granite Curling Club is worth a visit for anyone who travels to this area and has an interest in curling. The pictures on the wall and the trophies on display make you feel like you are in a curling museum or hall of fame.

Dinner consisted of borscht (beetroot soup) to start followed by some more pierogi’s and then Kubasa – a smoked garlic pork sausage wrapped in bacon. Effectively, enormous pigs in blankets. The evening with the Granite guys was truly memorable and one that will definitely stick with a lot of us. We came here to curl but we also came here to have a good time and Granite CC made sure that they delivered that. Everywhere so far has been a highlight for somebody. This was definitely mine. The history, the style, the quality and the company did it for me. I loved it. 

Stephen McClymont