Manitoba Organization: Assiniboine Memorial Curling Club
The idea of a curling rink for Assiniboia began in early 1929, when a group of First World War Veterans living there asked the municipality for a grant to build a curling rink. It was set up with funds set aside as a memorial to the war fallen. This is the reason for the inclusion of the word “Memorial” in the Club’s name.
The first club, with two sheets, was located at Portage Avenue and Banting Street behind the museum building. It was affectionately called the “Root Cellar”. The club did not operate during the days of the Second World war but, by 1946, the desire to curl was starting to take hold.
Members became involved in organizing leagues of men’s and mixed curlers, maintaining the rink and social affairs. The only life member of the first 50 years, Percy Bucknall (1895-1979) was a “jack of all trades”, acting as President, ice maker, draw master and representative to the Manitoba Curling Association through the late 1940s and 1950s.
In 1959, the club purchased 23 acres out in the prairie at Vimy Road and Hamilton Avenue. The first sod was turned in June 1962 and a building with four sheets of ice was ready for play by December. This was natural ice but artificial ice was installed the following year.
On 7 January 1972, the club was destroyed by fire with the arena portion only 60% damaged. In planning to reconstruct, it was decided to increase the club from four sheets to eight sheets.
The club has had many successes on the ice. Teams from the club have won no less than 30 provincial championships. Kerry Burtnyk skipped men’s teams to five Provincial Men’s Championships in 1981, 1988, 1995, 2001 and 2008. He won the Canadian Men’s Curling championship twice, 1981 and 1995. The 1995 team went on the capture the World Men’s Championship. Junior teams won four Canadian Championships: Mert Thompsett in 1979 and 1981, Darcy Kirkness in 1984, and Hugh McFadyen in 1986. In 2019, Colin Kurz skipped a team to the Canadian Mixed Championship.
“New six sheet club for Kirkfield Park,” Winnipeg Tribune, 15 March 1961, page 93.
“Sod turned for new club,” Winnipeg Free Press, 11 June 1962, page 23.
“Assiniboine Memorial gives us 138 sheets,” Winnipeg Tribune, 8 December 1962, page 26.
“Curling club hit by fire,” Winnipeg Free Press, 7 January 1972, page 1.
“Assiniboine clan plans palace,” Winnipeg Free Press, 14 April 1972, page 50.
Assiniboine Memorial Curling Club 1929-1979 - 50 Years of Curling, Publication.
This page was prepared by Rick Mutton and Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 25 April 2023