Welcome to the Avonair Curling Club!
While the name of our club only goes back close to 50 years, it's the history of our building and the people from two different clubs in Edmonton that makes our age much older. The Avonair Curling Club was created by the Edmonton-Avenue Curling Club in 1969, however, our roots began with the Edmonton Curling Club and the Alberta Avenue Curling Club; both of which existed much earlier.
The Edmonton Curling Club was located at the north end of the High Level Bridge. The Alberta Avenue Curling Club was at 9430 - 117 Avenue. Although records are hard to find, both clubs had been around since at least 1945. That being said, both facilities were aging and curlers were looking for a new building. In 1969, members from both the Edmonton and the Alberta Avenue clubs came together and purchased the eight sheet Menorah Curling Club which had been built by the Jewish Community in 1952 and was located at 10607 Princess Elizabeth Avenue - our current home!
The first season for the Edmonton-Avenue Curling Club was 1970/71. It operated both the Menorah building, newly named the Avonair Curling Club, and the Alberta Avenue Curling Club; 64 men's teams were registered. The president that year was L.E. "Bud" Olson and the vice president was J. Stan Symons. The Alberta Avenue Curling Club remained in operation until it was phased out in 1975.
By 1987 it was apparent that a change was needed in order to maintain the financial viability of the club. The Edmonton-Avenue Curling Club was incorporated under the Companies Act and as such was not eligible for certain grants and lottery funding. So on October 1, 1987 the Avonair Curling Association of Edmonton was formed and registered under the Societies Act. This association is able to apply for grants and different types of financial assistance. This association still operates the club under a lease agreement with the Edmonton-Avenue Curling Club.
With these new funding sources the club was able to upgrade the 35 year old building. A new chiller and condenser were purchased; new brine lines and concrete base in the ice area were installed; and roof renovations were completed. In 1992 the entire front of the building was rebuilt to enlarge the viewing area, creating the modern facility that the membership enjoy today. Recent updates include new paint, and carpets, with hopes to update our lounge in the future.
We credit the skillful leadership of recent managers for the continued success of their club. These include: Hector Gervais (1990-1997); Aaron Skillen (1997-1999); Bill Renner (1999-2011) and Matt Yeo, the current manager since 2013! We also have fond memories of notable personalities who were once members of the club including three Edmonton Eskimos: Ron Forwick, Jackie Parker and Howie Schume; as well as the late great radio personality Wes Montgomery.
The banners at the Avonair attest to the fact that we have been the home of Provincial, Canadian, World, and Olympic Champions. Among the widely recognized names are skip Kevin Martin. As well you will find a banner in honour of Randy Ferbey team who called the club home in 2003 when they won the men's Provincial, National, and World Championships. The Avonair has been home to the NAIT college teams for many years under the leadership of renowned coach and Curling Canada Hall of Fame inductee, Jules Owchar, an active member of the club.
The Avonair boasts the highest number of regular leagues of all Edmonton clubs, registering around 20 leagues that cater to all age and skill levels. Among these leagues, two are noted for their longevity. The Tuesday evening ladies league known as the "Ladies Hot Shots" has been in existence since 1965. Nine ladies teams played every Monday at the Northlands Sportex. In 1966 this league moved to the Ottewell and then to Jasper Place in 1968, but it settled at the Menorah (now the Avonair) in 1969 and remains an active league today. Another long standing league of over 70 years is the "Sportsmen League" which plays Wednesday afternoons. Of course, we also believe that supporting beginner curling is important. And while we don't have a junior program, having NAIT, MacEwan, and Concordia represent us in collegiate curling is amazing! The introduction of our Anything Goes Beginner League has been a hit since 2013. And anyone can curl in our recent Stick and Wheelchair leagues. We also believe in trying new things; that's why we created a Doubles league. Curling is for anyone and everyone no matter age, gender, skill level, ability or disability, and even the style of curling.
The Avonair Curling Club is proud to call this building its home. With close to 50 years of amazing curling and people, we say... "Here's to 50 more!"
- Adapted from Shirley Haight
Please read our CODE OF CONDUCT to ensure that you have a wonderful experience at the Avonair Curling Club!