Montreal Daily Star, 19 April 1911, page 12


I Remember….

David Guthrie


“I remember over fifty years ago when there being no curling rinks in the city, we used to clear a sheet of ice on the river and there participate in the ‘roaring game’, “ said Mr David Guthrie, who is one of the oldest curlers in the city, if not in the Dominion.  He will celebrate his 74th birthday on August 24th and the 50th anniversary of his wedding on the 12th of July. 

“Yes, in the olden days we were not so particular as to having an exclusive sheet of ice.  The river served our purpose for a time.  Not, for long, however, for within a very few years the Caledonia Curling Club and the Montreal Curling Club were inaugurated.  They started on vacant lots on either side of St Catherine street near Mountain street.  The Caledonia occupied the south side lot, which was a field of considerable dimensions, and the Montreal Curling Club were on the north side of the street.  This ground was rented, and the club houses of which we were not a little proud, were very crude buildings.  No attempts were made at elaboration, as in our present numerous clubs throughout the city.  Everything was done and carried out with as little expense as possible.  No lights were even installed in the rinks.  These were unnecessary, for in the good old olden times, we did not have to work during the winter and we could play from early morning until it was too dark to see the curling stones.

“Yes, the olden times were easy.  Prevailing conditions at that time allowed of a great deal more sport than now.  There has been a great change in the city.  At the time of which I speak the population was in the neighbourhood of only 150,000.  It did not take much to feed and keep this number alive in the winter, consequently many of the citizens spent the winter with doing hardly any or very little work.  Work was not so necessary then, and the struggle for existence was almost nil.

“I was employed in the grocery business of Alexander McGibbon on St James street, which failed.  Mr McGibbon then joined James Baird and another business was opened about where Alexander’s confectionary is now on the same street.  It only required my being down for a brief period in the morning, and then I was free for the day, as were many other citizens, and then we repaired to the curling club, or other places of sport.  At that time there were only about 30 curlers in the city.  Now I understand there are about 3,000.”