–by Barry Slater, Guest Blogger and Historian of the Royal Canadian Curling Club
It’s safe to say that I love curling, having discovered it shortly after emigrating here in 1977. What began as a curiosity has become a passion. Beyond the physical & intellectual joy of the game, is the discovery of its beginnings, understanding its social contributions, tenets of nationhood, conveyor of the values of friendship & industry. In our third edition, we uncovered a connection between John Benjamin Vick, builder of the Provincial Legislature at Queen’s Park, with Riverside and the Royal Canadian Baseball Club. While searching for the limits of Riverside’s historic period to help the Toronto Historic Society understand its significance, I stumbled upon this interesting piece in the Globe of May 29th, 1899: a fun story that demonstrates the love of competition and sportsmanship in Riverside at the turn of the 20th century on our local athletic field, later to be called Sunlight Park.
And in the photo below, notice the halfback with the name of Vick on the 1904 Royal Canadian Football Club photo: our own George Vick.
Check out “The Mail & Empire” article (below) from April 15th, 1899. The annual meeting of the Riversides Football Club held in Dingman’s Hall, home of the Royal Canadian Bicycle Club from 1892 to 1907 (later known as Jilly’s & New Broadview Hotel, today being revitalized once more). Look at the names A.E. Walton & C. Harlock from that night’s meeting, then look at the photo of the Royal Canadian Bicycle Club Executive of 1927-1928. This group was responsible for reorganizing the old Bicycle Club and building the ice palace behind its clubhouse at 131 Broadview. It was the first artificial ice surface east of the Don River, to become The Royal Canadian Bicycle and Curling Club, on September 30, 1929.
Many of the names in the 1899 ‘The Mail and Empire’ article appear again and again in the record of the Royal Canadian, celebrating its 125th anniversary this year (2016), and it is this connection that fascinates me, leading on through the annals, back to the beginning of the Canadian idea in 1791. Self reliance and community provide security and support for anyone who follows the ideals of the game. It is a love all the world desires.
Happy Valentine’s Day Riverside!