In order to appreciate why we are known as the Granite Curling Club of West Ottawa, we should be aware of the fact that when curling came to Canada in the early 1800's, the game was played on the many frozen rivers and ponds, and the rocks were not always made of stone. For reasons of economy, transportation, or other factors, curling stones were not readily available throughout the country. Each group of curlers were left to fabricate curling stones to the best of the abilities of the local stone masons or other technicians of the day. The result was that some areas used stone, some used wood weighted with iron and others fabricated iron "stones". The use of iron was prevalent in the Ottawa-Montreal area.
As the Population of Ottawa grew, due to the influx of curlers from other parts of Canada, the new residents found that curling with irons was not their preferred game. In the early 1950's there were only 3 curling clubs in the Ottawa area; Ottawa, Rideau and Glebe, the newest being the Glebe which was formed in 1910 and operated out of rented quarters in Lansdowne Park. Together with all other clubs in the Ottawa Valley, curling was played with irons. Only in late February, and then reluctantly, would the unmatched granites be brought out for those ardent devotees of the take out game.
In January 1953, the idea of forming a curling club in the Westboro area, which would curl exclusively with granites, was conceived by Rev. Donald Bruce Macdonald, Cliff Murchison, and Percy Halpenny. By this time, Percy, who was aware of a previous plan in 1942 and put aside due to World War II, contacted Rev. Donald Bruce who, in turn, asked Cliff Murchison his view of the level of interest in such a club. Cliff assured him it was feasible and the next step was an organizational meeting. On January 22, 1953, the first meeting was held, a provisional executive was elected and Cliff Murchison elected as President. Of the 131 in attendance 35 men signed and handed over cheques then and there.
By the third meeting, progress was so great that negotiations were authorized to obtain land from the city. Ernie Jones, the clubs first Secretary, was a member of City Council and was instrumental in arranging for land to be obtained for $3,280.00.
On May 14, 1953 a permanent executive was elected with Cliff Murchison as our first President. It was decided that a 4 sheet curling club would be more efficient for scheduled curling and that the clubroom should be on the ground floor in order to provide a "friendlier" atmosphere - unlike the older clubs where ladies were restricted to the upstairs.
Harold Jarvis was retained as the architect and Fred Cummings as the contractor - both Westboro residents. The sod was turned on August 21, 1953. Not withstanding some set backs such as the fact that the shelf rock which was expected to form a firm foundation for the building suddenly disappeared towards the west end, construction went on relatively smoothly and the Club was officially opened February 27, 1954 with 176 members.
In October of 1953, Cliff called a meeting of ladies with intention of encouraging husband and wife memberships which has proven to be our strength over the years. The Ladies promptly formed an executive with Ruth Harback as President.
While most curling clubs had utilized the traditional red, white, and blue for painting houses, the Granite selected green and gold because these were the colors of the Winnipeg Granite, the home club of the Rev. Donald Bruce Macdonald. This selection was most pleasing to Lorne Murphy who felt that any color was satisfactory as long as it was green.
"The Granite" has played a very significant part in converting the Ottawa area to curling with stones as opposed to irons. the great success of our rinks had in various competitions in both Ladies and Men's events is clear from the many pictures of winners in the Ladies Locker Room and the Pool Room.
The founders of our club helped change the Ottawa curling scene dramatically - and the rest is history.