Dundas Curling Club and Skating Rink

The Dundas Curling Club

In 1858, the Dundas Curling Club was established, with many important members of the Dundas community participating in its inception. John Gartshore and his son Alex, owners of Gartshore Iron Works, one of the most important foundries in the province at its height, George Mitchell Pirie, a merchant from Dundas and the son of George Pirie Sr., esteemed Scottish-Canadian poet and one-time editor/publisher of the Guelph Harold, and James Scott, owner of the Dundas Steam Planing Mills, though he is best known for building Dundas City Hall.

Early curling matches were played on the “dam,” known today as Spencer’s Creek, or the Desjardins Canal near the Hourigan Axe Factory, which is now part of McMaster Pottery on Hatt Street. Early members George Turnbull, Charlie McDonnell, and Alec Bertram were tasked with clearing snow off the dam before games, to create space for club members. Players of all different skill backgrounds would come to try their hand, drawing in highly skilled and amateur participants alike. By the late 1860s, their need for a proper rink was answered when one was finally built at the back of Robert McKechnie and John Bertram’s manufactory store, Canada Tool Works. The space was more commonly known as John Bertram & Sons on Hatt St. 

A constitution and subsequent by-laws were adopted for the club in 1887 and 1889, and the club merged with the Dundas Skating Rink Company, which was located just down the street from McKechnie and John’s store at 65 Hatt St. In its heyday with the curling club, the rink they built was considered to be one of the largest in Ontario.

Thanks to the students of McMaster University Department of History for their assistance with this project.

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