The 2020 Tim Hortons Brier is fast approaching.
The action gets underway in Kingston on Friday, Feb. 28, with the Wild Card game between Glenn Howard and Mike McEwen. The tournament, which begins Saturday, Feb. 29, also doubles as the 200th anniversary of the Royal Kingston Curling Club (RKCC).
In the lead up to the Brier, Kingston’s curling historian Fran Cooney helps us get a better handle on the game’s past.
“Scottish garrisons here in Kingston were the ones to bring the game over,” Cooney said. “They could only play it when the ice was completely covered across from Fort Frederick and Fort Frontenac, where the present-day Confederation Basin is.”
Of course, today’s game is played indoors with modern equipment. Your average rock is 44 pounds of granite but nobody knows exactly what they used when the RKCC was formed back in 1820.
“They could have been regular rocks with a handle stuck in them,” Cooney said. “We’ve got some older rocks here that may or may not have been, they probably were used in the covered ice sheds. But what they used back then, we have no idea.”
As for the brooms?
“Originally, again way back, they were just straw twig brooms, then they turned into straw brooms and then there’s a whole progression,” Cooney explained.
“Some of them looked like a broom you use in the kitchen today; others looked a little fancier and then, as the decades have gone by, the technology of the brooms has improved. But they would have been very basic back then.”