On Thursday, November 12th, Southampton Curling Club paid a high tribute to three of its members when they were given ‘Lifetime Memberships’ – Art Eby, Tom Marcotte and Ed Pette.
Art Eby’s involvement with the Southampton Curling Club spans some 64 years after joining as a junior curler in 1955 for the sum of only $1 a years for membership.
In 1970 and 1973, he served as head of the Games and Bonspiel Committee and, in 1971, was a member of the By-laws Committee.
An avid curler, he was ‘on the ice’ from 1977 to 2019.
Tom Marcotte began curling on the two-sheet ice in 1968 and, then, in 1973, his wife Pat also joined.
In 1975, he was vice-president of the Men’s Club and, then, in 1976 to 1980 served as President.
He was also head of the Central Board of Management, a Southampton Council Committee (prior to amalgamation), when he oversaw recreational facilities, including the Curling Club.
As President of the men’s curling and wife, Pat, President of the ladies’ curling, the couple helped lead the fundraising efforts for the now existing Curling Annex. It became a family affair as their daughter Leeann also became President of the Junior Curlers.
Tom was one of 10 local residents who each put up $10,000 as a guarantee for construction of the then-new curling facility and he has been a member for 48 of the 52 years.
Ed Pette first joined the Club in 1983 and has been treasurer since 1985, despite being a
‘snowbird’ from November to March each year.
A competitive curler, in 1997, he was a member of the runner-up at the Ontario Intermediate Men’s competition and, then in 2000, he was a member of the Finalist team in the competition.
History of Southampton Curling Club
With its Sottish heritage and for more than a century, Southampton has been a ‘curling’ community.
The first curling facility was built in the late 1800s with three sheets of ice where today’s Southampton Fire hall stands and, in 1896, the Southampton Curling Club became a member of the Ontario Curling Association (OCA).
When in 1915, the facility was condemned and subsequently demolished in 1923, curling didn’t stop. Instead, curlers met outside on a skating rink until a two-sheet curling club was finally built. attached to the Southampton arena.
It wasn’t until 1956 that women began curling at the club and in 1957 they traveled by train to a bonspiel in Mildmay. toting their curling stone in wooden boxes with them.
After artificial ice was installed in 1960, the facility was again condemned in the early 1970s. Finally, in 1972, a new Southampton Coliseum was constructed and, through the fundraising efforts of the Club members, the Curling Annex with four sheets of ice was added.
One of the most famous curlers and, the first to be given a life membership in the club in 1940, was Donald ‘Brock’ MacAulay, a significant recognition as there fewer than 50 life members in the province at the time.
In 1917, he, John ‘moose’ McIver, Alton ‘dad’ Huber and Bill Cameron won the Dominion Championships in Winnipeg. When they returned by train, the town held a celebration that featured a parade on the main street.
Prior to the win, in 1904, the team was known to have curled 25 hours straight to win the Glen Trophy, a challenge cup contested throughout Ontario and this team defended it nine times in one year.
How the times have changed when it comes to curling teams. In the days of Brock MacAulay, local curlers had vocations in the marine heritage of the area and were sailors, fishermen and merchants who, as part of their curling teams, wore suits, ties and Scottish tams. For most, the curling club was a social second home and bonspiels often lasted over several days. The curlers owned their pair of curling stones of different sizes and weights that they carried in a wooden box. The boxes were also used during the games as ‘on ice’ spectator seats.
In the early days, when corn brooms were used, there were boxes set up so that any wayward straws from the brooms had to be picked up and placed in the boxes.
Today, Southampton Curling Club continues to be a hub of sport and social activity in the community.