Founded in 1807, The Royal Montreal Curling Club is the oldest active athletic club in North America.
It was during the reign of King George III, when Montreal was a town of perhaps 12,000, that 20 merchants and a chaplain who liked to curl together on the ice of the St. Lawrence River decided to form a curling club. The group met on January 22, 1807, in Gillis Tavern, where The Montreal Curling Club was born, the oldest established sports club still active in North America.
In 1860 The Montreal Curling Club moved to an indoor rink on Drummond Street, near the present site of the Mount Stephen Club. Twenty-eight years later, a lot on St. Catherine Street between St. Mathieu and St. Marc was purchased for construction of a new curling shed. Opened in 1889, it has remained our rink ever since. The following year we sold the portion of the land fronting on St. Catherine Street and acquired a lot on the other side of the shed, then 56 St. Luke Street (now 1850 Boulevard de Maisonneuve West), to build a club house. Designed by Hyde & Nobbs, it was opened on Christmas Eve 1892, and expanded to its present size in 1912. The curling shed was built in the style of the famous Victoria Arena (where the Montreal Maroons later played hockey), on a frame of laminated wood in arched girders, permitting a large, free space unencumbered by pillars. It is the only known example of this type of structure still in existence.
On February 23, 1924, a Royal Warrant was issued granting the Club the right to add the word “Royal” to its name. Henceforward it would be known as The Royal Montreal Curling Club (RMCC).
Though the Royal Montreal Curling Club has for many years welcomed men and women members, the Royal Montreal Curling Club, Ladies’ branch, has been associated with the club since 1894 and actively continues to manage their leagues and to sponsor their events.
Over the last 30 years, many curling clubs in Montreal and Westmount have closed their doors: Heather in 1975, followed in 1982 by Montreal Caledonia and Greystone, then St George, and in 2001, Thistle. We remain the only curling club close to the downtown area still in operation, a heritage monument and, as Guy Hemmings put it, truly a shrine to curling in Canada.
If you would like to know more about the The Royal Montreal Curling Club, a history of the club from its inception in 1807 to the present was published in 2013. It contains a fascinating history and numerous photographs that capture the spirit of the club, key events, and changes over the years. It is available for purchase. Please contact RMCC for more information.