June 2018 Newsletter

Hello everyone,

We finally have been getting some warm weather and it doesn’t seem that long ago that we had that final snowstorm in April then we moved right into summer and somehow missed spring?? It really hadn’t warmed up until a couple of weeks ago but it looks like we are finally getting summer weather and by looks of the gardens and fields we need some rain as well.

Let’s get started with this month’s newsletter.

Many members have registered for next years' curling season and because of their Early Bird Registration their name will be put into the draw to win back their membership at the Annual General Meeting on Tuesday, June 19th at 7:00 pm.

We had a few rentals in May and we also have a couple already lined up for over the next few months. This revenue helps us to pay the bills that we have over the summer months. Even though the club is closed, we still have bills to pay and we need the revenue generated from these rentals and the "Early Bird Registrations" as well, as they all help us with the expenses we have during the off season.

We have been busy preparing for our fundraising dance that is taking place tomorrow night. The doors will be open at 7:00 pm and the dance runs from 8:00 to midnight. There are still tickets available and can be purchased at the door. So get a group of friends together and come on out to the dance. The proceeds from the dance will go towards our accessibility project which is nearing the completion of phases one and two.

Annual General Meeting:

Do not forget about our AGM on Tuesday, June 19th at 7:00 pm. We will be reviewing the Annual Report of the Board of Directors, Financial Statements and Activities that occurred over the past curling season. Directors will also be elected to serve on the Board for the upcoming year. We will be discussing other business that is important to you as a member of our club. Please plan to attend this very important meeting. If you are unable to attend, see attached June 2016 Minutes (click the link for the minutes) and a Proxy, (click the link for the form) that you can fill out and drop off at the club.

Accessibility Update:

Just a word or two regarding the Accessibility Project. All of the outside work (insulation, siding, roof and eaves trough) has been completed. The second floor work is completely done and the main floor is nearly completed as well. The lift has been installed, however, we have to wait until the TSSA (Technical Standards & Safety Authority) inspects and signs off on it before it can be used. It has been a long process and we are ever so slowly approaching completion. The third phase, access to the ice surface with a power operated door, may have to wait a year before we become a fully accessible facility but we are getting closer to that vision we had three years ago when this process first began.

Lost Stones: (continued)


“The Finest Consignment of Curling Stones Ever…”

Written by David M. Sgriccia
Detroit Curling Club

Part 2 War

The Athenia returned to Glasgow from Canada on August 28, 1939. Over the next few days her cargo was unloaded. It was mostly foodstuffs (grain, butter, eggs), but there was aluminum and copper as well, much needed for the manufacture of aircraft and munitions. Approximately 880 tons were loaded to be transported to Canada.

During the early morning hours of Friday, September 1, 1939 German troops invade Poland. At 12:05 p.m., the Athenia is about to leave Glasgow. She is bound for Belfast and Liverpool before crossing the Atlantic for Montreal. On board are 735 people including 315 crew. At 3:45, the United Kingdom sends “a severe warning” to the German government to withdraw from Poland. The Athenia weighs anchor and sets course from Glasgow to Liverpool. Another 136 passengers board at Belfast. In preparation for wartime, she has been fitted with blackout curtains and low-wattage running lights.

Throughout Saturday, September 2, 1939, the UK and other countries try to persuade Germany to withdraw from Poland. Italian dictator Mussolini proposes a five-power conference to settle the crisis. At 4:30 p.m. the Athenia slips out of port at Liverpool and begins her 2,625-mile voyage to Canada. She is now carrying a total of 1,102 passengers and 315 crew.

Trying to locate a detailed manifest of the cargo on the Athenia has been quite difficult. Three history books (written in 1959, 2009 and 2012) about the Athenia have stated: “Her cargo amounted to 888 tons, of which 472 were simply bricks. Among the odd items were 50 pairs of curling stones, and a collection of schoolbooks for Toronto schoolchildren.” The two newer books nearly quote verbatim the 1959 book. I have never found a published cargo manifest.

Searching through newspaper archives, I found this article published in The Ottawa Journal on September 8, 1939. A similar article appeared in the Toronto Globe and Mail.

"Curling Stones Lost With Liner

Lindsay, Ont., Sept. 7. - (CP) - A shipment of 50 curling stones valued at 1,800 ordered from Andrew Kay and Company of Glasgow, Scotland, by the Lindsay Curling Club, went down with the torpedoed steamship Athenia, according to word received here today. Shipments for London, Ont., and Toronto clubs were also lost."

Now we know there were at least 50 stones on the Athenia, perhaps 50 pairs. Maybe more, with the references to clubs in London and Toronto. I figured it was time for a shot-in-the-dark – I sent an e-mail to the current offices of curling stone manufacturer Andrew Kay & Co. asking if they knew of the loss of stones with the sinking of the Athenia. I was fortunate to have piqued the interest of James Wyllie, who – as I now understand – is secretary and a director of the company. He told me that his father would have been involved in shipments in 1939. I also have learned that his grandfather had taken over stewardship of the company from Thomas & Andrew Kay in the late 1800s.

Mr. Wyllie spent hours going through old records. His findings have solved the mystery with all the proof anyone could ask for.

I had also sent e-mails to the Toronto High Park Club, the Lindsay CC and the London CC to inquire what type of information they have to back up claims that their ordered stones were lost. Their replies also helped to uncover the truth.

(Next month: Part 3 Cargo)

Reminders For Your Calendar:

  • Tue. June 19th - Annual General Meeting 7:00 pm
  • Wed. Sept 12th - Registration 5:30 pm - 8:00 pm
  • Wed. Sept 19th - Sun. Sept.23 - Lindsay Fair Gates

Just a reminder that the summer hours for the Club are from 10:00 am to noon on Tuesday and Thursdays'. All calls and emails will be dealt with during these times. Have a wonderful relaxing summer!!

Dave Nigh