The Granite Curling Club located in downtown Saskatoon is melting the ice for good, after being unable to pay for necessary renovations.
Originally opening Oct. 1, 1929, the club has been a downtown icon for 93 years.
“It breaks our heart… it’s just sad,” said the club’s Board of Directors President, Lisa Beres.
Plenty of banners hang from the ceiling as a welcome reminder of wins and happy memories, while photos of the original club presidents still hang on the walls.
The building is in need of new flooring, a result of brine leaks, which would have cost the club approximately $500,000.
However, with a lack of revenue, dwindling membership and repair costs Granite decided to cancel their 2022 curling season.
Championship Director with CurlSask, Steve Turner, reminisced on his time at the club and all of the world and brier champions who have swept the ice.
“A curling club, whether it’s the Granite or any of these clubs, they really are part of the fabric of the community,” said Turner.
The closure is not just a sad reality for Saskatoon, as many clubs around Saskatchewan have been expressing the same financial pressures following the impacts of COVID-19.
“There really isn’t a business out here that could run for six, seven months in a year and have enough revenue to support a full season. Clubs are having to get creative.”
The space at 480 First Ave. N. is currently being used as a pickleball league called the Bridge City Pickleball Hub.
Bringing in the league was meant to keep the space occupied in the meantime, while also bringing in some much-needed revenue since there was still hope to bring curling back for the 2023 season.
Another occupant looking to keep the space alive – The Granite Kitchen.
The restaurant has also called the building home for 27 years and is known to many locals as having the best wonton soup in the city.
Allison Mah and her husband took over the business from her in-laws 15 years ago while sticking with traditional recipes — her making the wontons, her husband crafting the soup.
“We’ve tried to change things on the menu for the last 15 years — you know, up and down, up and down, you know trying new things — and everyone comes back to that wonton soup,” said Mah.
With only three hours to serve customers every day during the week, Mah assumed they serve anywhere from 30 to 60 orders of soup amongst their other menu items.
She also estimates she has made over one million wontons over the time of their ownership.
However, Mah mentioned the loyal locals are the ones who are what makes the club so special.
“It’s kind of that small town feeling in the heart of Saskatoon, you know? So we’d hate to lose that,” said Mah.
Plans to move the kitchen have been discussed between the Mah’s, but they are waiting to see what happens with the Granite before moving out.
The Granite Club will be looking to give up ownership and sell the building after pairing with a realtor.
Whether the the Granite continues to stay a curling rink in the heart of downtown Saskatoon is unknown.