Renfrewshire Tour 1988


Archie McFarlane       Tour Captain

                                                Vice-President XIIth Province

                                                Past- President Barrhead Fereneze C.C.

                                                Treasurer East Kilbride and Haremyres C.C.


Malcolm Richardson   Tour Secretary

                                                Secretary/Treasurer XIIth Province

                                                Representative on R.C.C.C. Council

                                                Erskine C.C.

                                                Port Glasgow C.C.


John Blair                                Kilmacolm C.C.


Ann Bowes                 Kilmacolm C.C.


Jim Bunyan                 Uplawmoor C.C.


Sandy Deans               Vice-President Bridge of Weir C.C.


Sheila Deans               Bridge of Weir C.C.


Ian Harper                   Erskine C.C.


Clif Hewitt                  Past-President Barrhead Fereneze C.C.


Cath Hewitt                Vice-President Barrhead Ferenze C.C.

                                                Greenacres Ladies C.C.


Peter Kerr                                Erskine C.C.

                                                Old Glenalmond C.C.


Hugh Knox  *             Past-President Beith Morishill C.C.

                                                Past-President S.I.R. Club

                                                Dalry Union C.C.

                                                Montgreenan C.C.


Lix Knox  *                 Past-President Beith Morishill Ladies C.C.

                                                Greenacres Ladies C.C.

                                                Glasgow Ladies C.C.

                                                Eglinton C.C.











Margaret Kyle             Old Grammarians C.C.

                                                Greenacres Ladies C.C.

                                                XIIth Province Committee


Tom Lavery                 President Port Glasgow C.C.


Janey McFarlane                     Barrhead Fereneze C.C.

                                                Greenacres Ladies C.C.

                                                East Kilbride and Haremyres C.C.


Grant Mac Gregor       President Uplawmoor C.C.

                                                Vice –President Greenacres Ice Rink

                                                XIIth Province Committee


Margaret Polson  *      Kilmacolm C.C.


John Stevenson                       Erskine C.C.

                                                Owner of Greenacres Ice Rink


Matthew Stevenson    Erskine C.C.


John Walker                President Blythswood C.C.


Pat Walker                  Blythswood C.C.

                                                Glasgow Ladies C.C.

                                                October Ladies C.C.


* Members of the 1979 Canadian Tour Party


The representatives of the XIIth Province who visited the Ottawa Valley in November 1988 are extremely grateful to the following for their generous support:-


                        Matthew Gloag (Overseas) Limited

                        Kenning Tyre Services

                        Lismor Recordings

                        McConechy’s Tyre Service (Paisley) Limited

                        S.P. Tyres (UK) Limited

                        C.J. Strain & Son

                        William Teacher & Sons Limited











Tour Captain


I must say that my “appointment” as Tour Captain initially filled me with trepidation – I need not have worried. The arrangements made by Malcolm Richardson, our Secretary, and by the Host Committee in Canada were so well organised. In addition the support and involvement of the members of the tour party made things very easy for me.


Pat Walker has done a superb job in putting this diary together. It is so difficult to put into words just how wonderful the Tour was to the participants. The overall score was Ottawa Valley Curling Association   514 – XIIth Province  439 – this was a most creditable performance considering the high standard of curling at every ice rink and the combination of increasing exhaustion and the debilitating effect of the hostility suite!! Everywhere we went the enthusiasm of the members in competition and hospitality was simply terrific. The tour was indeed one of “Goodwill” and many new friends were made. We have to thank the Scottish Host Committee of 1980 for their tremendous work. We reaped the benefit.


I was proud to be the Captain of the party and honoured to be a member of it. An invitation has been extended to the Ottawa Valley Curling Association to visit here within the next two to three years. All members of this party have already expressed their wish to be involved when it takes place.



Archie McFarlane

























FRIDAY 18TH November


Malcolm had told us to be at Glasgow Airport at 8.00 a.m. prompt so there we were as excited as children on a Sunday School Trip. It was a beautiful November morning and we were raring to go.


The Ladies (hereinafter called the girls) were wearing their tartan skirts but were easily put in the shade by the sartorial elegance of the menfolk in their Black Watch trousers, Province blazers, white shirts and a fair sprinkling of interesting and historic tams. We were all carrying Sandy’s red holdalls which were to prove invaluable during the tour.


Liz and Hugh had brought the broom bags so all our gleaming new brushes were stored away for the journey.


Before leaving we were photographed as a group for the Evening Times so we put on Sandy’s grey anoraks which were also to prove useful in the days ahead. This made us look like a team – not Olympians perhaps judging by the groans when the front row were asked to crouch down – but nevertheless we were beginning to realise that we were off to represent our Province in one of Scotland’s oldest games.


The first stage of our journey was from Glasgow to Amsterdam. On board was another sportsman, Jockie Wilson the darts player. Frankly I thought we looked fitter than he did!


This was the BBC’s “Children in Need” day and after serving breakfast the crew of  our 737 decided to do some fund raising. Peter Kerr gallantly put in the highest bid for the Pudsey Bear which was auctioned. Pudsey, wearing a Biggles outfit with leather flying suit and goggles was to become our team mascot for the tour.


The flight to Amsterdam was surprisingly short and we were soon browsing round the amazing variety of Duty Free shops at Schipol. Clif had prepared a “booze list” so we all knew exactly what to buy in the drinks market. Most of us also bought perfume and aftershave which was probably just as well considering the furious pace at which life was to be lived for the next ten days!


The girls changed into trousers to avoid creasing their skirts in the long flight. Janey being short of time managed to do this in the main concourse and got a round of applause.


The departure to Toronto was delayed for an hour but it was a good time to have a drink and get to know each other.


Our flight by Canadian International was as smooth as silk with a most attentive cabin crew who served a delicious lunch and who certainly didn’t believe in small measures when pouring the drinks. There was a lot of good chat and it was felt that we had the makings of an excellent tour. It was a clear sunny day and for hours on end those of us with window seats had a sparkling view of the North Atlantic. In the late afternoon sunshine we flew in over the Canadian countryside with the lively vistas or rivers and lakes.





FRIDAY 18TH November (Cont’d)


After a short stop at Toronto we boarded the commuter flight to Ottawa. At this point we were asked if we were musicians! As we came into land at Ottawa, however, we were very thrilled to hear a special announcement on the P.A. system welcoming the Scottish curlers who were on their way to play against the clubs of the Ottawa Valley.


The host committee were at the airport to meet us and those who had been on the previous tour had warm reunions with their old friends. Introductions were made and our well organised hosts quickly allocated the Scots to their Canadian drivers who took us to the Talisman Motor Inn. This was to be our base for the duration of the tour.


Right away there was a welcome party in the hospitality room which was instantly christened the Hostility Suite. Our hosts had arranged lovely food and drinks.


In a relaxed atmosphere with lots of photographs being taken we met John and Helen Doty, Roger and Gerry Wilson, Louis and Doris Albert and Denny and Audrey Charlebois. These couples had organised the tour from the Canadian side. We also met the Moores, the Gourlays, the Perry’s, the McLeans, the McLarens an many others all of whom would become well known to us in the days to come.


John Doty welcomed us and explained that there would be two extra events on our schedule. The first was the Canadian General Election on Monday and the second was the Grey Cup a week on Sunday! The Grey Cup is a kind of Cup Final with knobs on. Boy, we knew all about the Grey Cup by the end of the week!


We were then told that the next day would be our longest and hardest. We would the Talisman at 8.00 a.m. for the drive down to Prescott and there would be four draws during the day. Were we being sabotaged!


It was now twenty hours since we had met at Abbotsinch (Glasgow) and most of us still had to unpack. Gradually we drifted off to our rooms to catch some sleep before our first curling matches in Canada.


Quote of the day


“Sic transit” -  Janey














SATURDAY 19TH November


Our internal time clocks were still on Scottish Time so we all wakened very early and it was a jovial bright eyed group which breakfasted in “The Greenery” that Saturday morning. Jim Bunyan had already managed to break his room key.


At 8.00 am we gathered in the reception hall and met up again with our drivers of the previous evening. The 60 miles drive down to Prescott in crisp frosty sunshine gave us good views of the Ontario countryside. It was a flat farming area and we all noticed the big Dutch style barns beside the farmhouses. It was a good chance to chat to our hosts and learn a bit about the life in this part of the world.


At the outskirts of Prescott we turned into the local school playground where we formed a motorcade headed by a police escort! We were all given Scottish flags which we waved during a ceremonial drive through the town. Hugh, wearing his large tam, was magnificent as he rose majestically through the sun roof of Roger Wilson’s car and greeted the locals with expansive waves of his arms. By the time we reached the ice rink he was suffering from sever frostbite!


Prescott, founded in 1810, is an attractive small town of 5,000 inhabitants. It sits on the banks of the St. Lawrence looking over to Ogdensburg in the U.S.A. on the other side. The streets are lined with neat timber houses of a great variety of styles.


On arrival at the rink we were thrilled to be greeted by a young piper, Jesse Brittle playing “Scotland the Brave”. The ladies of the club gave us coffee with shots of whisky and bran muffins – so we managed to get Hugh thawed out.


We were formally welcomed by Sandra Lawn the attractive lady Mayor of Prescott. With Jesse piping Sandra then led the first teams on to the ice and threw two ceremonial stones (or should I say rocks) to start the day’s matches. Pudsey was given

A Scottish flag and settled down to do some serious mascotting.


Curling started in Prescott in 1893 and the present rink was built in 1947. We were to learn that most Canadian rinks are owned and run by the members. The men attend to maintenance and decoration and run the bar and the ladies keep the club rooms clean and done the catering. The only person to be paid is the “ice man”. The annual subscription is about $150 (£70) and for that members can use the club rooms and curl as mush as they like. We all turned a delicate shade of green when we heard this.


The Prescott rink has 3 sheets of lovely clean ice separated by wooden pillars and there were seats in between for the players. The roof was like rough icing sugar (insulation I’m told) and gave the impression of an ice cave. Rows of real maple leaves had been laid under the ice at the hacks and there were little hogs at the hog lines. A bell, operated from the bar, was rung when anyone spotted a stone being hogged. Did we see John Stevenson taking note of this?







SATURDAY 19TH November (Cont’d)


Four draws had been arranged for the day and we all played in two of them. Those who were between games were taken out by our hosts for a drive or to visit the local shirt and glove factories.


Archie and Malcolm were interviewed by the local press who thought we were on a “cuddling” tour (problem with Scottish accent!)


An excellent lunch was provided and later when the games were finished we all changed into “evening dress” and assembled for drinks. The club members served a delicious roast beef dinner for about a hundred people.


Afterwards we had a speech from the Prescott President Jean Smith which was replied to by Archie. There was also a short welcome from Neil Dufour, president of the Canadian Branch of the R.C.C.C. . Archie presented the Province pennant, ties, a head scarf and the R.C.C.C. Centenary badge. All the Scots were given a pack containing interesting information about this historic fort town. The result of our matches today was Canada  93  Scotland  89  (not too bad considering the jet lag!)


We were then entertained by “Old Spice” a smartly clad group of Prescott club members who had us rolling in the aisles with hilarious songs and stories all most professionally performed. Roger and Grant also told stories and the Scots sang the “Tour Song” for the first time – I really mean the first time. Something will have to be done!!


Very late in the evening we parted from our new friends at Prescott and our patient drivers took us back to Ottawa and the Talisman. With one accord we headed for the hostility suite to relax among ourselves until the wee sma’ hours.


Quotes of the day


“Police escort – I thought we were being arrested!”  - Archie

“What a Saturday!”  -  Jim Bunyan


















SUNDAY 20th November


Snow had fallen during the night. After breakfast in “The Greenery” we met our drivers at the decadently late hour of 10.00 a.m. . It emerged that all sorts of things had been left at Prescott including Helen Doty’s broom and Tom Lavery’s curling shoes which were sadly never seen again. Jim Bunyan had managed to break another room key.


The snow turned to rain as we drove through the suburbs to the Ottawa Golf and Hunt Club, which is in reality now a golf and curling club. The hunt section became a separate issue some time ago. The curling rink was built in 1959 and combined with the golf course ensures year-round use of the elegant club house.


In the spring and autumn the members hold a “Curler – Golfer Bonspiel” when they play both sports in the one day (also known as “Swing and Sweep”). This marks the division between the two sporting seasons.


Among the glass show cases and winners boards in the lounge hall there was a plaque listing the names of the Hunt Club members who has recorded a “hole in one”. We were amused to see that the first name on the list was Peter Tallyhoe!


Having changed in the luxurious locker rooms we had coffee followed by a relaxed game of curling with some of the Canadian players who had been on the Scottish tour in 1980.  As this was a “non-counting” friendly match the teams all contained both Canadians and Scots. It was a great pleasure to curl in this beautiful six-sheet rink with its high wooden roof and superb lighting. Fans were used on the roof to cut down condensation. The ice was again clean and keen.


After the game we had drinks in the comfortable lounge and some of us were introduced to “Fuzzy Navels”, a deceptively innocuous concoction of vodka, peach schnapps and orange juice.


Sunday Brunch at the Hunt Club is a well known gastronomic treat and we all gasped at the amazing range of dishes hot and cold which were beautifully arranged on the buffet tables. The centre piece was a charming butter sculpture of Santa Claus surrounded by children. Later when Hugh Knox was expressing our thanks he said that Brunch here was like every possible meal in the day rolled into one!


Replete with fine food and mellow with all the hospitality we had received, we reluctantly parted from our friends at the Hunt Club and set off with the drivers for Carp which is 30 miles west of Ottawa.


There we were warmly welcomed by the Committee at the Huntly Curling Club. A notice at the entrance said “Welcome to the Scots” and there was personal welcome to each of us by name on the wall – these were later given to us to take home.







SUNDAY 20th November (Cont’d)


After changing shoes we were offered drinks and met the club member before the match. Huntly is one of the youngest clubs in the Ottawa Valley and has a most enthusiastic membership. The club started about 10 years ago with two sheets of ice. This has very recently been increased to four. It was interesting to see that the stones bore the names of local companies, who had presumably donated them.


We played four ends, stacked brooms for more drinks and then played the next four ends against new teams. This enabled Huntly to include as many of their members as possible. Reporters and photographers from the local paper interviewed and snapped away as we played. One of the Huntly members recorded the whole visit on video.


Afterwards there was a candle light supper and the ladies of the club produced delicious cold ham salads and apple pie with ice cream. Denny Charlebois paid tribute to the Huntly Club and made a very funny speech about the Scots. So far as he could see we had a disgraceful lack of self control and it was obviously going to be survival of the fittest. He was astounded at the way we seemed to fall asleep when being driven from rink to rink,


Keith Rowe, the local councillor said a few words of welcome and presented us all with a glossy brochure about the area of West Carleton. Loxley Trenholm spoke on behalf of the club.


John Walker proposed the vote of thanks and hoped that Heaven would have an ice rink just like Huntly (I’ve no doubt he was also hoping that the ladies committee would be there en bloc!) He then presented the Province Banner and the R.C.C.C. Badge to the club, ties to Keith Rowe and Loxley Trenholm and scarves to Dixie Trenholm (Chairman for the Day) and Judy Davy (President of the Club ). The result of today’s match was Huntly  33  Scotland  25.


We were then entertained by Danny O’Connell aged 9, who played the fiddle most expertly and his sister Coleen, aged 15 who gave a brilliant step dancing display.


Before we left we were each given a Canadian flag. The warm welcome at this valley club was overwhelming and will remain with us for a long while as one of the highlights of our tour.


Our host committee were now anxious to get us back to town as it had been snowing all evening and the roads were becoming difficult. They are excellent drivers and brought us safely back to our hotel in convoy.


We gathered yet again in the Hostility Suite and a hilarious party developed. Stories and songs abounded and eventually we crept along to our rooms for what was left of the night.


Quotes of the day


“Fuzzy what’s!”

“No, I don’t want another drink” – Ian

“I’m on the Calgary Red Eyes” – Grant

“What a Sunday” - Jim


MONDAY 21st November    (Canadian General Election Day)


Pale faced and fairly quiet we slipped into “The Greenery” for breakfast trying to keep our heads very still. The usual dishes were bravely ordered and even more heroically consumed!


Our drivers were on parade as bright as buttons and took us the short distance to the Navy Curling Club situated on the shore of Dow’s Lake in the heart of Ottawa.


The Navy Club was formed in 1956 and acquired its own premises in 1959. Originally intended for male personnel of the Royal Canadian Navy and Civil Servants at Naval HQ, members were later admitted from the Army and the RCAF. Over the years the structure changed and it is now an open mixed curling club. It has a reputation for friendliness and we were soon to find that this was more than justified!


Coffee was served and we were formally welcomed to the club. As this was a four sheet rink only sixteen of us could play so Vic Ridding took Peter, John W, and Grant to a shopping mall and Doris Albert invited Ann, Archie and myself for a drive. She proved to be a most interesting guide and we spent a relaxed morning touring around the main places of interest in this beautiful city. The sun came out to make thing better. I think Doris probably organised that too!


Returning to the Navy Club we found that the match was over and everyone was singing Scots songs. Navy had beaten us 35 shots to 30. This being the Canadian General Election no alcohol could be sold until the polls shut at 8.00 pm (presumably to ensure that the voters had all their wits about them!) Our generous hosts had no intention of entertaining us to a “dry” lunch and drinks and wine were there in abundance. They were however definitely not sold!!


Tommy said a Curlers Grace before a delicious lunch of Quiche and Salad followed by coffee and superb cookies. All the tables had a centrepiece of an old curling stone decorated with tartan ribbons.


John Blair gave the vote of thanks and the banner, tie, scarf and badge were presented. Jack Forrester replied for the Navy Club. Another member, Bruce Hosking had been playing the piano and after lunch an impromptu party developed. Hugh and Liz gave us a few songs and we all joined in some well known choruses. The tour song had another rendition – no comment! It was a very happy time and we all agreed that the Navy was indeed a very friendly club.


Leaving our new friends all too soon we set off with the drivers to the Granite C.C. for the afternoon match. We learned that when the Scots immigrants had started to curl in Canada they had no proper stones and “curling stones” were fashioned out of anything (wood, iron, rock etc). The iron stones were used in the Ottawa Valley until the early 1950’s. Sometimes ill matched granite stones were used later in the season. In 1953 a club was formed which would use granite stones all year round – The Granite Curling Club. A Ladies Section was formed at the same time and a mixed clubroom was built on one level. Many clubs in the valley were constructed with two clubrooms – one upstairs for ladies and one down below for the fellows. Thankfully the sexes are no longer segregrated !





MONDAY 21st November    (Cont’d)


The Granite rink was most attractive and all the decorations were green and yellow. The heads on the four sheets (or “ices” as they are called in Canada) were also green and yellow as were the club sweaters worn by many of the players. All the ladies wore short tartan kilts with kilt pins of crossed brooms or other curling motifs.


During the match it was evident that the Scots were making frequent good use of the little seats between the rinks! It was a most enjoyable game but sad to say we lost again -  39 shots to 25. The late night was definitely catching up on is!


A quick change afterwards and we were ready for dinner – again beautifully prepared by the ladies of the club. Matt Stevenson said the Selkirk Grace and afterwards Ian Harper gave the vote of thanks and presented the usual gifts to President Bill Kingston and Ladies President Pat Brigham.


We chatted at the tables with our hosts and in due course were prevailed upon to sing the Tour Song – the ratings by the O.V.C.A. Committee are getting marginally better and have now reached about 1.5  .


After a pleasant evening we parted from our hosts at Granite and returned to the Talisman. Tired as we were the hostility suite drew us to its bosom like a magnet. Some of the Canadian joined us for a few drinks and we all kept our eye on the Election results on television. In spite of their Free Trade policy which was not universally popular, the Conservatives had a decisive victory.


Not too late tonight we gradually slipped off to catch up on some sleep.


Quote of the day


“It’s the bright lights on the ice that are giving me a headache” - Grant




















TUESDAY 22 nd November


We were up bright and early to be ready for the long drive out to Perth where we would spend the whole day. The Mayor of Perth, having business to attend to in Ottawa., visited us at breakfast and gave us his good wishes for a happy day with the curlers of his home town. Archie unfortunately missed this encounter and thought we were making it up! Tut, tut Archie! Better get up a bit earlier tomorrow!


We drove out to Perth in glorious sunshine and passed farms, woodland and many lakes and rivers. Perth is a delightful town with a magnificent situation on the River Tay. It was originally a military settlement and inducements of land, tools and money were offered to settlers who would act as a trained reserve force in the area. The first group to act on the offer were mostly lowlanders who left Glasgow in 1815. More settlers from Scotland arrived shortly afterwards and also some from Ireland. To this day the Scottish influence is everywhere and Scottish names abound. The main streets with their flat fronted stone buildings closely resemble the streets of many a small town at home. Neighbouring townships include Renfrew, Lanark, Drummond and Arnprior.


We were welcomed to the Perth Curling Club by President Gordon Burke and Vice President Jackie Lord. Coffee was served and the draws announced. We would play four sessions with each Scottish player having two games. The Canadians were represented by curlers from Perth and Smith Falls and would produce new teams for each session.


Maureen Munro, the organiser for the day, gave each of us a plastic name tag which had specially prepared with our names and “Perth Curling Club, Canada Nov 22/88” printed on it.


The Curling Club was founded in 1875 and has three sheets if ice. Being one of the older rinks it has the upstairs and downstairs clubrooms. The upstairs room has a beautiful close planked wooden floor which was laid by two of the members. This year the club has experienced difficulties with some of their machinery and only managed to make their first ice two days before our visit!


In between the games the drivers ensured that we were not at a loose end. In the morning some of us visited the Silver Shop and bought souvenirs and gifts. In crystal clear sunshine we walked around the town and returned to the rink by the path along the River Tay.


Ann Bowes who is a keen horsewoman, was thrilled to be driven out to meet Ian Miller, the Canadian Olympic horseman and 1988 World Champion. She was shown round his stables and met his famous horse, Big Ben.


Others learned that last fatal duel in Canada was fought at Perth in 1833 and Cath and Ann were given very special badges commemorating this event.


Lunch of soup and sandwiches was available for everyone between games. We all enjoyed our matches on the Perth ice and yet again found the Canadians extremely friendly. The result was a win for Scotland by 92 shots to 79. At last we had won a game!





TUESDAY 22 nd November (Cont’d)


Dinner was served in two sittings and the ladies of the club dif a truly splendid job catering for so many. They had cooked four huge turkeys which were served with salad. This was followed by wedges of delicious carrot cake.


Afterwards, Gordon Burke, Murray Kirkpatrick and Craig Wormwald spoke for Perth. Grant made an amusing reply for the Scots and presented the gifts. (Incidentally it was interesting to see in the club’s display case, the banner presented by the members of the 1979 tour). The Scots were all then given and information pack about the town of Perth.


The drams began to flow very freely and a marvellous ceilidh ensued. One of the Perth ladies played lots of Scots songs on the piano. The ice-man accompanied her on his improvised “big fiddle”. Soon we had a good skiffle group going with Ann Bowes on the washboard, John Stevenson on the ukulele, Clif on the drums and John Walker on the maraccas. While this was going on Helen Doty was passing round her albums of the previous tours which were of great interest to everybody. Still the drams appeared and we heard some hilarious stories from the Canadians. Clif, wearing his Kilmarnock Bunnet gave a marvellous fire and brimstone sermon on the twelve commandments of curling. Hugh Knox produced yet more of his funny songs and poems and we sang the Tout Song and My Dingaling. (Ratings now up to 3!)


At the height of the party a strange figure appeared among us whistling “Sweet Georgia Brown”. The creature had an enormous face a huge top hat and wore a small tail suit. It was none other than Murray Kirkpatrick doing his legendary party piece. His head and arms were inside the hat which rested on  his shoulders and his body was painted with a face. He even had little ears stuck on his sides. The tail suit started at his hips. It was one of the funniest things we had ever seen!


Eventually the evening drew to a close with “Auld Lang Syne” and after many fond farewells our long suffering drivers took us back to Ottawa. A visit to the Hostility Suite was absolutely necessary so that we could talk about all the marvellous things which had happened during the day. For one thing we had a victory to celebrate!


There is a huge bed in the H.S. and each night more and more of us decide that this is the comfiest place to have a nightcap. There must be a limit before overloading occurs!


A little work was done the Tour Song, and the other chartbuster My Dingalong. Jim Bunyan (the dark horse that he is) suddenly revealed a glorious singing voice and gave us his own version of Galway Bay. This would be repeated many times before the end of the tour.


We were not too late tonight and one or two sensible people actually gave the H.S a miss. Surely we’re not admitting a tiny touch of exhaustion!


Quotes of the day.


“Oh look, Pudsey’s got a Dingaling!” (Actually it’s a key fob which says “Scotland for Me” and it’s supposed to be a sporran!)

“What a Tuesday” - Everyone


WEDNESDAY 23 rd November


There were no games this morning which gave us a reasonably long lie – bliss! The drivers had arranged to take us shopping so sporrans were open and plastic cards at the ready. Most of us were taken to the Bay Shore Shopping Mall which had various levels containing every conceivable kind of shop. There was even a Marks and Spencer! Christmas decorations were on sale everywhere.


We spent an unhurried morning wandering around the shops. It was very warm and coats were not necessary. Later on we had lunch in one of the many eating places in the Mall.


After that we had a quick trip to the hotel to change for the afternoon game at Richmond, situated about 15 miles South of Ottawa.


The Richmond Curling Club is 27 years old and has four sheets of ice. There are 240 members and the club hopes to expand in the future. There is a downstairs bar where the ice can be viewed at eye level – a new slant on curling but don’t wear your kilts boys!


We all enjoyed our games on yet another rink with clear fact ice. The ice at Richmond was extremely white and the lighting brilliant. At all the clubs there is always a small coin lying on the walkway at the end of each ice. This is for the toss. No! The Scots don’t even think of keeping them!


After the first draw we had drinks with the Richmond curlers. Margaret Kyle and John Doty both had birthdays today and two cakes (appropriately named) were presented to them while we all sang “Happy Birthday”. A nice touch organised by Doris.


The Richmond ladies had prepared a “pot-luck supper” (everyone brought a dish of something) which was absolutely scrumptious. Liz Knox said the grace.


Jim Parker, the club President, spoke form Richmond. We also heard from Warren Peddick the organiser for the day who told some stories. Margaret Polson replied for the Scots and presented the gifts. The presentation of the tie to Warren caused great hilarity as nobody could recall him ever wearing a tie!


The second draw then took place and those not playing watched from the lounge. The score was Richmond 72, Scotland 47 – a bad day for the Scots I’m afraid.


We asked Denny how Richmond had got its name and were told that a former Duke of Richmond was Governor General of Canada. He also had a reputation for being promiscuous. The Duke had canoed up the Jock River and founded Richmond (modestly named after himself). Afterwards he was bitten by a rabies fox, took ill and died in a barn. (We are not sure whether to believe you, Denny!)


We then sang the Tour Song and the O.V.C.A. Committee walked out!! Nevertheless we persisted and even gave them a rendering of My Dingaling with Malcolm singing the verses in front of the “choir”.




WEDNESDAY 23 rd November (Cont’d)


We enjoyed our evening with yet more new friends and I particularly remember one delightful lady who told us that she emigrated from Glasgow 27 years ago. She was wearing her tartan sash for the occasion and had a nostalgic evening talking to all the Scots about her homeland. She bade us farewell with tears in her eyes.


Eventually we bundled into the cars for the journey back to town. The hotel is now beginning to fill up with Grey Cup supporters. An hour or two in the Hostility Suite finished off a very pleasant day.


Janey and Archie are complaining of sore thighs – too much sweeping they say! Hugh has a sore knee and Janey managed to drag her tired legs over to the big bed to give him a massage and an ice pack.


Could we be starting to crack up?


Quote of the day


“A message from Janey – some people have all the luck!” – John Walker































THURSDAY 24th November


In the early hours of the morning the fire bell went off. Most of us slept through what was in fact a deafening onslaught. Just as well it was a false alarm!


After breakfast we were taken to the Ottawa Curling Club in the heart of the city. This club is the oldest in the area and is housed in a dignified building with a spacious five sheet rink. It has many old trophies, photographs and curling memorabilia. Everything at the Ottawa club is red and black, even the “heads”.


Coffee was served with whisky and we were welcomed by President Rod Matheson. The draws were called out and the games started. This lofty rink has roof fans and there are electric shoe cleaners on the walkway. As always tissues are provided for the players at both ends of each rink.


The ice was magnificent and easily the fastest and best we had experienced. The Ottawa members were extremely friendly and we all enjoyed the splendid conditions. We even managed to win (Scotland 42, Ottawa 30) which makes up a bit for yesterday.


After drinks, lunch of moussaka and gateau was served in the club’s well appointed dining room. Although there was catering staffs, the club ladies still helped to serve and clear the meal. The Grace was given by Sandy.


Danny Lamoureux, the Club manager spoke for the Ottawa and Clif replied for Scotland and presented the gifts. Gord and Betty Perry, who are members of Ottawa, were also each given a memento. We learned that Gord (who is now 84) is a legend in two sports in Canada – curling and football. This extremely pleasant visit was over all too soon and, yet again, we reluctantly parted from new friends.


The drivers took us the short distance to the Rideau Club which is currently celebrating its centenary. Again we were impressed by the many beautiful trophies in the showcases. The tables in the lounge have glass tops which protect thousands of curling badges arranged in patterns. Panels of various tartans decorate the walls.


Talking of badges we have now swapped pins so many times that our own badge collections are now enormous. We step onto the ice clanking and glittering with a fair weight of metal and it is beginning to look as though we are clad in chain mail.


The Rideau had prepared a special treat as Shirley Adam, a local curling historian had brought along a full set of “irons” from her collection. Gordon Perry demonstrated the “iron” delivery and each rink were asked to play one end with them during the afternoon match. It was quite an experience for the Canadians as well as the Scots.


The Rideau rink was smart and well maintained and the ice was excellent. We noticed that the score boards and stones were sponsored by local companies and individuals. There were racks where the members could leave their brooms, each slot having a little gate with padlock. The girls here also favoured the kilts. Our game this afternoon resulted in a win for Rideau by 36 to 25.



THURSDAY 24th November (Cont’d)


Afterwards the girls changed into their best dressed and we had drinks before dinner, which was to be the official dinner of the tour. Representatives from all the clubs involved in the tour were present as well as notable local’s and Ontario curlers.


A 75 lb hip-o-beef had been prepared for us – the cattle must be big out here! This is another volunteer club and the members had worked hard to make this evening very special.


There were many speeches starting with a welcome from President Ross Davey who told us about the Rideau Club and presented two centenary books to Archie. Roger Wilson spoke for the O.V.C.A. and gave a hilarious account of the “tour so far”. He reckoned the Scots had been in Ottawa for about 14 days and 2 nights! We also heard from Gordon Creelman, President of the O.V.C.A.


Peter Kerr, assisted by Pudsey, presented Archie and Janey with an engraved silver tray as a token of our thanks for their part in organising the tour.


Archie then spoke for the Province and expressed our heart felt appreciation of all that had been done by the O.V.C.A. to make this such a happy and memorable trip. He did, however, suggest that by now the Canadians probably wished we had been hijacked en route! The organisation had been so impressive and each rink we had visited had overwhelmed us with hospitality and friendliness.


Archie went on to give a short history of the Renfrewshire Province and thanked the members of the tour party for their support, for example since leaving home John Blair had even volunteered to act as our “cuddling” coach. He then presented the gifts (many more than usual) and made special presentations to the Doty’s, the Wilson’s, the Albert’s and the Charlebois. The men received miniature curling stones from the Kays along with slate curling coasters and the ladies were given silver brooches.


Archie finished by thanking Malcolm for the enormous amount that he had done to organise the tour and presented him with an engraved silver salver from the members of the tour party. Malcolm was obviously deeply touched by this gesture.


The formalities being over we drifted down to the lounge to mix with the curlers who had come to this dinner from all over the Valley. We were all extremely interested in the Curling Memorabilia Exhibition which Shirley Adam had mounted for us. Liz and Hugh even spotted a stone which had been made in Beith.


In due course we arrived back at the hotel and gathered in the H.S. The girls got together on the big bed and made up funny songs about the Host Committee, in preparation for the final fling on Saturday night. So ended a very good and long day.


Quotes of the day


“Listen fellows, us girls have done a lot of work on that bed”  - Liz Knox.

“When can I get playing with Sheila”  -  Sandy

“Can anyone tell me what a Squeeze is?”  -  John Blair


FRIDAY 25th November


This being out “free” day the drivers offered to take us sightseeing in Ottawa. We were all asked what we would most like to see and our hosts made the appropriate arrangements.


In bright sunshine we set off in various directions for what was to be a most interesting and enjoyable day out.


Ian, Peter, Matt and John Stevenson, among others, visited the National Aviation Museunm which had been opened in the spring of 1988. They saw 43 complete aircraft and countless aviation related artefacts.


Denny entertained Archie, Janey, Ann and Jim to breakfast followed by a fascinating “hard hat” tour of the Museum of Man, a futuristic building full of curves which is still under construction.


Many of us visited the National Gallery of Canada which was also opened this year. It is an enormous building with a predominantly glass exterior. White screens closed automatically if the light becomes too bright for the exhibits.


The Parliament Buildings were a favourite stop and some of us joined the excellent half hour tour and also took the lift up to the top of the Peace Tower to enjoy the magnificent views of the city. The strong links between Canada and Britain were very much in evidence and it was good to see the Scottish lion appearing regularly among the carvings and decorations. We were also shown the beautiful houses of Rockcliffe where important government and diplomatic people live. As we drove around the city we caught sight of the Prime Ministers residence, The Royal Canadian Mint, the famous Chateau Laurier Hotel, the Chaudiers Falls, the Rideau Canal, the Law Courts, the Central Experimental Farm and many more points of interest.


We noticed not for the first time the little black squirrels which scamper around the city parks and green areas. Unfortunately it was not the right time of the year to see the magnificent display of tulips which were a gift from Holland, whose Royal Family found refuge in the city during the war.


We all lunched with our hosts in different restaurants, some of us crossing the river to sample the food in Hull, which is in Quebec. As soon as one enters Quebec the French language predominates.


After lunch there were visits to shopping malls or the craft market. Everyone seems to have looked into the curling shop run by Ora Cook whom we met yesterday at the Rideau Club.


In the evening we had arranged to entertain the host committee and our drivers to dinner, so everyone gathered for drinks in the Hostility Suite at 6.30 pm. The party also included Malcolm’s son and his wife from Toronto, Janey and Archie’s friends also from Toronto and at & John’s friends the Garands from Ottawa. Soon the H.S was very full and the noise level was rising rapidly. This was when the earthquake happened!




FRIDAY 25th November (Cont’d)


It was 6 on the Richter Scale, the worst fro 50 years and felt from Calgary to New York. It produced headlines in the papers the next day and WE DIDN’T NOTICE A THING! Did the XIIth Province really manage to shake Canada?


In due course we were transported to a restaurant called “The Place Next Door” which is apparently where the “stars” dine. We could well believe it! There were about fifty of us and we all sat at a great long table where we had a “plank” dinner. After our first course the waiters brought a series of planks covered in foil which were laid end to en along the big table. These planks were loaded with lobster, Alaska crab, prawns, steak, spare ribs, chops, salads and dips. We feasted on this banquet until we were more than replete. The wine flowed and there were songs and stories and lots of photographs. Our Canadian hosts are now well known to us and this ensured that the occasion was very relaxed and happy.


Needless to say almost everyone came back to the Talisman for a nightcap. This has been another thrill packed day but how on earth are we going to curl tomorrow?


Quote of the day.


“What earthquake”






























Saturday 26th November


Our tour is sadly coming to an end but at breakfast this morning we still has a whole day curling to look forward to. It was a brilliantly sunny day. That must have been why some of our party were wearing dark glasses.


Our drivers were in the lobby punctual as always and drove us to the R.A. where we were welcomed by the Chairman for the day Keith Butler. Coffee was served with usual tots of whisky. How on earth will we cope with elevenses with just plain coffee?


The R.A. Club is part of the Ottawa Civil Service Recreational Association which occupies one of the biggest sports complexes in North America. As well as having very extensive indoor facilities there are acres of pitches for the outside games. So many sports took place here that we could not think of one recreational activity which was not catered for. There were even things like bridge, chess, photography and stamp collecting for the not-so-energetic.


The curling club was originally constructed by Federal Government employees who all made contributions to start it off. Every Government employee is a member of the Association and pays a fee if they wish to curl. Outsiders may join, but they pay a higher fee.


The ice rink was one of the largest we have seen and we were all able to play against the R.A. at the one time. Malcolm’s son and daughter-in-law (both good curlers) made up our members to twenty-four.


At many of the Valley rinks we had seen rows of little pink and blue curling stones lined up on the walkways. These are the Peewee or Baby Rocks (weighing only 17lbs) and they are used by young curlers aged between eight and eleven. This if proving a great way of introducing children to the game and provides a reservoir of young talent later on.


The R.A. had decided that we should all play one end with Peewees. For adults used to 40 lb stones this proved rather difficult as the light stones tended to make one feel unbalanced. One Canadian curler, Marion Rougier, unfortunately fell when delivering a Peewee and knocked herself out. She was taken to the First Aid Room and appeared later with a large head bandage (hopefully none the worse).


Our match ended with a win for R.A. by 48 to 31. We are definitely getting tired and the little seats on the rink were in constant use. Young Pudsey has been spending too much time in the bar and not attending to the games.


We had a good lunch of soup, sandwiches and very calorific cakes. Denny Charlebois and Gordon Creelman spoke for the Valley and Jim Bunyan gave an amusing vote of thanks. He said we had all aged ten years since last weekend. The gifts were then presented and Sharon Malott, the manager of the Curling Club took us on a guided tour of the Complex. We saw an amazing variety of top class sports facilities including another ice rink where a game of ladies broom ball was in progress (tough stuff!). We also sampled some of the equipment in the Nautilus Room where the very fit go to become even fitter.





Saturday 26th November (cont’d)


Our tour ended up at the R.A. Sports Shop where we made a lot of purchases. Some of us succumbed and brought corn brooms as mementos of the trip. John Stevenson issued an instant warning that on no account had they to be used at Greenacres!


It was then time to say goodbye and make our way to the Hunt Club for our final match. As we drove across town we could see lots of hot air balloons which were part of the Grey Cup celebrations. There was also a huge Grey Cup parade through the city although the match would not take place till the next day. We read that the Cup had been put up originally by Lord Earl Grey (presumably of tea fame).


We were given a warn welcome at the Hunt Club and were “piped” on to the ice by Helen Ridding, clad in full highland dress (she had a wee bit of help from a pipe band on the loudspeaker system!) We all enjoyed our second game st this beautiful ice rink. Although we lost by 49 to 33 the companionship during the game more than made up for the small matter of a defeat.


Afterwards we changed for the final dinner and enjoyed some drinks with our hosts. Needless to say a few of us opted for the “Fuzzy Navels” again although Hugh was actually seen with a glass of water. We heard that the rink had been shaken by the earthquake last night and those who had been curling at the time had a fright.


The dinner was indeed a memorable occasion and several of us took photographs of the loaded buffet tables. Another enormous roast of beef had been cooked for the main course and this was carved by the chef. Although there is a catering staff here they must have been working vary hard as in addition to our dinner, there was a dinner-dance in the main dining room and presumably another Sunday Brunch to prepare.


Having savoured this delicious meal and enjoyed the company of our Hunt Club friends we heard from Vice President Rick Bennett. Dave Hands, the Chairman of the mixed match Committee, then acted as M.C. for the evening.


Having watched us closely all week the O.V.C.A. had chosen the All Star Scottish Team which would consist of Grant (skip), Ann (third), Matt (second) and Sheila(lead). They were presented with Tee Shirts with their position printed on the back. Everyone else was given an “appropriate” gift and this caused a great deal of hilarity.


Vic Ridding sang a cleverly worded song which he had composed about this tour. After that his wife Helen brought on her troup of Performing Curling Elves. A stage with lighting and scenery had been set up and the Elves gave us a brilliant little show with lots of curling adaptations of popular songs (and they were such good singers!).


Denny then gave a humorous account of the tour and introduced Archie and Malcolm who expressed the appreciation and thanks of the Scots for all that the Host Committee and their helpers had done to make this such an unforgettable visit. They hoped that it would not be long before the Canadians came over to Scotland so that in some measure at least we could repay their amazing hospitality. The Province gifts were then presented.



Saturday 26th November (cont’d)


The evening proceeded with various speeches, songs and stories. Hugh acted as M.C. for the Scottish part of the entertainment and many of our party sportingly “did a turn”. The Tour song and My Dingaling were sung for the last time with the Host Committee receiving special mention in extra verses to the latter. Fir this effort the judges awarded us full marks – sheer persistence had paid off!! (Or perhaps it was just relief!!!)


This great evening ended with Auld Lang Syne and many mementos and gifts were exchanged. Eventually everyone ended up having a last dram in the Hostility Suite at the Talisman. We find it hard to believe that it will all be over tomorrow.



Quote of the day


“I don’t care what you say, you going home tomorrow”  -  Roger



































Sunday 27th November


Sometime during the few hours which were left for sleep the fire bell went of again. This time we all heard it.


A great deal of packing had been left to the last minute which made the morning a bit chaotic. Roger et cie had tidied up the Hostility Suite and we all settled our hotel bills. Some of us even managed a light breakfast in the Greenery. The service today was exceptionally slow owing to the large number of Grey Cup supporters in the hotel.


By nine o’clock, however, we were ready to be taken by our faithful drivers to the Albert’s house for the Farewell Brunch.


At this early hour we were welcomed to their charming home with powerful “Fuzzy Navels” and devastating “Orange Blossoms” (champagne, vodka and orange juice). Those of us who had not managed to have some breakfast were in thin ice!


Doris and Louis had certainly created a marvellous atmosphere for this final party. We all enjoyed the Brunch which, needless to say, turned out to be another feast (definitely breakfast and lunch together!) This was a very happy time and final gifts were exchanged and addresses ascertained.


Later on we went outside and strolled around the garden and the avenue. It was a most beautiful day and really quite warm. The Canadians told us that it was exceptionally mild for the time of year.


Soon it was departure time for us all the members of our party who were travelling home that day. The drivers packed them and their luggage into their cars and drove them to the airport. I hear that the final goodbyes were poignant and sometimes tearful.


The group had an unexpectedly long journey home and even managed an unscheduled stop at Halifax. By the time they finally reached Abbotsinch it was Monday afternoon and a long, long sleep was top priority.


Eight of us remained in Canada to take the opportunity to visit friends or relatives before making our way back to Scotland.


What a trip it was, what fun and friendship we enjoyed and what hospitality we experienced. We must ensure that these tours continue and look forward to welcoming our Canadian friends to Scotland in the not too distant future.



Diarist - Pat Walker