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Berwick Curling Club marks last hurrah in Orchard Street rink

This group photo snapped during the recent Last Rocks Celebration at the Berwick Curling Club will be framed and displayed in the club’s new home in the Kings Mutual Century Centre. - Claude LeBlanc
This group photo snapped during the recent Last Rocks Celebration at the Berwick Curling Club will be framed and displayed in the club’s new home in the Kings Mutual Century Centre. - Claude LeBlanc - Submitted

BERWICK - It’s a bittersweet time for members of the Berwick Curling Club.

The club is on the brink of moving into a new facility that’s part of Phase 2 of the Kings Mutual Century Centre on Veterans Drive.

The impending relocation means moving to a larger rink with an extra playing sheet at a time when the club of more than 200 members continues to recruit new curlers through offering successful introductory-level events.

But it also marks the end of an era at 136 Orchard Street.

“There’s a great deal of happiness and excitement,” said Mike Larsen, the club’s president.

“There’s a little bit of sadness as well. I have a lot of memories in that building and I have a ton of friends who have the same thing.”

Berwick Curling Club treasurer Beth Easson and president Mike Larsen.
Berwick Curling Club treasurer Beth Easson and president Mike Larsen.

 

The membership hosted a Last Rocks Celebration year-end closing dinner and auction to mark their final night at the Orchard Street location that has served as the club’s headquarters since the early 1960s. The celebration aimed to honour the history of the club with an open house, a group photo on the ice, a last-rocks-thrown display, a toast to the founding members, storytelling and a potluck supper.

“That building has become a place where people can come and gather. They can come and enjoy the great sport of curling. They can come and have a great social time,” said Larsen, an 18-year member of the Berwick Curling Club who has served as president for the last five years.

“We’re a club that has always prided ourselves on being a fun place to be.”

Larsen said the Berwick club was once based out of a single-sheet rink dating back to the 1920s. That facility was attached to an old arena, and eventually destroyed by fire. The displaced curlers kept the club intact, but curled out of Middleton until the membership was able to build anew.

“The members actually built the building that we’ve been in,” said Larsen.

The Last Rocks Celebration was a time to reminisce among friends and reflect on some memories made throughout the decades.

“It’s an opportunity for folks to come out and really see the place off in a proper fashion. It’s important to us that we honour the building. It’s been a great home for us,” said Larsen.

“We’ve had married couples who have met at that curling club. We’ve gathered for numerous social occasions over the years.”

Representatives of the senior, junior and evening leagues were invited to throw the last rocks for their respective groups to honour the decades spent at the Orchard Street rink. Pictured from left to right: Cleo D’Eon, Elex Lockhart and Curt Palmer.
Representatives of the senior, junior and evening leagues were invited to throw the last rocks for their respective groups to honour the decades spent at the Orchard Street rink. Pictured from left to right: Cleo D’Eon, Elex Lockhart and Curt Palmer.

 

Club members will be bidding the current facility adieu knowing the relocation does not mark the end of the building they’ve called home for many years. There is a conditional sale offer for the property from a local business owner who intends to repurpose the building, Larsen said.

The potential for the redevelopment of the old facility is the cherry on the top of the Berwick Curling Club’s long-awaited move to a larger space, Larsen said.

“We believe we have an exceptionally bright future going into the new facility,” he said, adding that the club’s new home will be called the Larsen Curling Centre.

“We’re really excited about what the future holds.”

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