Belvedere Golf and Winter Club
This history of curling at the Belvedere Golf and Winter Club is presented as a collection of excerpts from "A Treasure Called Belvedere . . . A Century of Activity at the Charlottetown Golf Club" (with permission). Thanks to Ron H Atkinson, co-author. Thanks also to Bruce Read (retired) and Debbie Carragher, Sport PEI, for their administrative support.
The recording of the history of curling clubs on PEI is part of a project initiated by Jerry Muzika through the PEI Curling Association. Any errors and/or omissions are unintentional and should be passed on to Jerry.
1960 BIG STEP FORWARD
A devastating fire in the spring of 1960 that totally destroyed the Charlottetown Curling Club on Euston Street became one of the catalysts of major expansion at the Charlottetown Golf Club. The fire started a few hours after the Curling Club closed for the season, and among the loss were 50 chairs on loan for the winter from the golf club. The other contributing factor was, for the second year in a row, an excessive weather combination of rain and ice through the late winter that contributed to winter-kill on all Prince Edward Island golf courses. The Board of Directors of Belvedere saw, in the Curling Club's loss, an opportunity to solve a number of their own problems by perhaps considering amalgamation and constructing one large, common, all-season facility.
The initial architects of change at Belvedere were Club President W.R. "Reg" Jenkins and his Board of Directors in 1960 who grasped at the opportunity and set up a Special Committee of Doug Saunders and Club Directors Charlie Trainor and Alan"Toby" MacMillan. The new Committee's mandate was to approach the Executive of the Curling Club to discuss compensation for the lost chairs and, with a foot in the door, get a sense of their interest in the possibility of considering a future joint venture. The initial meeting with the curling Executive was one of great discussion and interest, and led to a series of future get-togethers. Both clubs were long established recreational organizations in Charlottetown, and the two communities soon realized that if there was going to be any possibility of an amalgamation it would come at a loss of independence for one or the other.
Special General Meeting
The initiative to consider amalgamation with the Charlottetown Curling Club was not going well, and developed into a competitive atmosphere between golf and curling. Many Curling Club members were also Belvedere golfing members in the summer, and it became evident that, to some, the allegiance to their favorite sport facility overshadowed common sense. Charlottetown needed a new curling rink and Belvedere needed a new clubhouse, and combining both seemed practical; but the friction between some outspoken members of both clubs made negotiations difficult. The effort to amalgamate whet the enthusiasm of most Belvedere members who curled, and it was not long before the Club House Planning Committee were hearing overtures that included the addition of a curling rink to the proposed new clubhouse, and to the Committee it made sense.
The ad hoc Clubhouse Committee called a general meeting in mid-September of 1961 to report on months of study. They resolved that it was totally impractical to consider raising money to repair the old clubhouse, and that the membership should seriously consider construction of a new building at a cost of not more than $70,000. They advised the money could be raised through a mandatory bond issue and by raising annual dues by $10. At the Annual Meeting of the Club on October 30, 1961, at the Charlottetown Y.M.C.A., Harry Bartlett made a motion, seconded by Cyril Flynn, that the Charlottetown Golf Club proceed immediately with the development of plans leading to the construction of a new clubhouse. The motion carried.
Most members of the Board of Directors attended committee meetings on a weekly basis for almost two years and, with most of the major decisions made, felt it was time to let a new group of members take the reins of office. Only Horace Jardine, Ted Miller, Harry Bartlett and Dr. Angus MacEachern remained as new President, Dr. Kent Irwin took office in 1961, leading a new Board into the administration of major change. They well realized the responsibility to implement the results of two years of discussion, confrontation, agreement and disagreement, but the residue of it all was that members of the Charlottetown Golf Club would have a renewed golf course and a new clubhouse. What remained to be done was to search out the best method(s) of achievement.
A new Building Committee was in place, co-chaired by Tom Rogers and Dr. Lloyd Cox, and before the year ended they presented plans, developed by Charlottetown architect Alfred Hennessey for a new 90' X 48' clubhouse. It was slated to be constructed through the summer of 1962 at an estimated cost of $55,000. The membership approval of the plan included a provision that the clubhouse be designed so a curling rink might be added at any future date. Final details were far from settled and ideas seemed to change with each committee meeting, but it was still hoped the new clubhouse could be completed by late August. The biggest problem was obtaining financing, given the indecision relative to the inclusion of a curling facility. After a number of financial proposals and rejections, the problem was resolved in early May when the Royal Trust Company, through the efforts of local manager Charlie Bentley, approached the Club and agreed to loan the amount required - but only if the facility included a curling rink. The offer was accepted and at a special General Meeting in June, with 150 members in attendance, it was agreed to call tenders and proceed immediately with the new clubhouse and curling rink, conditional that the total tender did not exceed $135,000. If the low tender did exceed that amount, another General Meeting would be required to address it.
With new wording being added to the Constitution, and since the Club name would no longer apply to the dual facilities offered, it was decided a name change was in order. Since its origin in 1902 it had been the Charlottetown Golf Club, more commonly known as the Belvedere Links, especially after Incorporation in 1923, when it became official. Now the Club was to be a year round recreational facility with two sporting pastimes and, after discussion of many alternatives, the name was officially changed to "The Belvedere Golf & Winter Club." The new name, like the old, was placed on letterheads and documents, but to the thousands who competed and socialized on the premises it remained simply "Belvedere."
The new clubhouse was built through the winter of 1963, and by the time golfing activity started in the spring the premises was habitable, with a lot of finish work yet to be completed. The new structure was in the same general location as the old clubhouse, but considerably different than the classic wooden structure it replaced. The two level frame was steel and the walls were concrete block. The bottom floor was at ground level on the west side and the main entrance from the parking lot was split level to the two floors. The upper floor was the dining and lounge facilities, and downstairs were the locker rooms, pro shop and a small apartment for the caretaker. The four lane curling rink was still under construction as an addition to the north side, covering the area where the old pro shop and 18th green had been located. For long time members, it was big, and a bit overwhelming.
The extended golf course was just open, and already the new Curling Committee, with the rink still under construction, began to prepare for their inaugural season. Their first effort was to design and order Belvedere Golf & Winter Club curling pins, a necessary tradition in the sport, and their monthly curling progress reports added a new and interesting dimension to Board meetings. Property Chairman Harry Bartlett officially opened the new clubhouse on June 29, 1963, before a full house of proud members.
In October, 1963, the first transition from golf to curling began. The ladies organized their own Curling Committee and, to learn the game, spent an evening watching a men's game while Frank Acorn, a member curler with notable experience, explained what was happening. Johnnie MacDonald, on staff for almost 40 years, was finally employed year round when he was given the position of Club Icemaker, and his assistant for the winter months would be his right hand man on golf course maintenance, Roy "Frog" Doiron.
Cecil Dowling's interim management contract expired and, with the Club preparing for its first winter of business, applications for Club Manager were solicited. Lloyd G. MacNevin was introduced as the new Club Manager at the Annual Meeting in early November, and he was set up for business in a temporary office that was slated to be the junior lounge. The new ice plant in the rink had been installed but was not working properly, and it was realized that, although November 30th, 1963, had been the target date to begin curling, they would be lucky to open within the calendar year. By mid December, Canadian Ice Machine technicians arrived in Charlottetown when the Club refused to pay for the new plant. There was some ice down, but it would not "hold", and was totally unsuitable for competition. Treasurer B.H. Cooke was forced to resign for personal reasons and Chartered Accountant John Mulligan took over his position on the Executive Committee as the Club reflected on the most eventful year in its history, with the first season on their extended golf course and the openings of both a new club house and a not yet functional, curling rink. They were also preparing for a new social adventure which, when announced, sold out almost immediately - a gala New Year's Eve Ball.
Ice problems were solved and competitive curling did get under way as the year changed. The Canadian Men's Curling Championships, "The Brier", was being held at Charlottetown in March, and Frank "Duck" Acorn of the Belvedere Curling Committee was prominent on the Brier Organization Committee. He had been involved in curling for many years, and more than once represented the Province at National competitions. Frank Acorn involved some Belvedere members in Brier volunteer work, and the very successful hosting of the big bonspiel had a positive effect on curling enthusiasm at the Club. The first year in the new rink was limited to fun games and local competitions, and it became obvious that if Belvedere was to maximize the sport it would need more curling members and someone to organize and administer the draws. When the curling season was over, Williams Murphy and MacLeod was contracted to build a platform over the ice pipes in the rink for the use through the golf season as storage area for golf clubs, pull carts and the latest innovation in golf transportation equipment, the gas operated two person golf car, which was just beginning to make an appearance on Belvedere fairways.
The Curling Committee determined to make some changes for the Club's second year of curling operation. They wanted much stronger promotion of schoolboy curling, the promotion of a championship club bonspiel and the hiring of someone to promote the game and manage the draws. The relationship between the Belvedere Golf and Winter Club and the Charlottetown Curling Club remained one of arms length co-operation. There were common members, but there was an evident undercurrent of restrained toleration between the two clubs who were forced to compete against each other for curling prominence in the City. The Charlottetown Curling Club had a long established membership and a proud competitive history, while Belvedere was considered an upstart of more prominent citizen golfers who were now being challenged to spend the off season throwing stones. One cynic suggested most stones thrown at Belvedere were either hogged or went through the house.
In early November of 1964, Frank "Had" MacInnis was hired as Belvedere's first curling drawmaster, for $17 a week plus full membership privileges. His first job was to get more curling members and more members curling. When the ice making machine was turned on in November it would not function properly, requiring Canadian Ice Machine technicians to once again be rushed to Charlottetown to get the plant operational. To enthuse members moving from one season to another President Ted Miller announced at the Annual Meeting that a new electronic organ had been ordered for the lounge at a cost of $1,400.00. He suggested the Club should not worry about paying for it because the coin machines were showing an average profit of $100 a week, often to the detriment of members playing them and the Provincial Government who were trying to enforce regulations to remove them. As the year ended Belvedere came within a whisker of destroying one of its most valued treasures.
Curling was only into its second season at Belvedere and there were problems. "Had" MacInnis was doing a good job as drawmaster, bonspiels were popular and schoolboy curling was attracting a lot of interest, but members were not showing up for casual draws. The Curling Committee tried holding dinners, Sunday movies and teaching sessions with Art Burke, recently hired curling teacher and assistant ice maker, but they had only limited success. On top of this, problems developed with the ice surface and untimely frost heaves were occuring, blamed on a suspected accumulation of moisture under the surface. Many answers were speculated, including the addition of a north end door for better ventilation, but when borings were taken and water was found under the ice, an engineering firm, Northumberland Consultants, was hired to attempt to find out why.
An important General Meeting was called to address the burden of debt resulting from course and clubhouse construction. After long discussion it was decided the only solution was to eliminate existing bonds and refinance the debt. Attention was then turned to the water problem under the rink and Northumberland Consultants suggested it could be solved by adding a "floating" concrete floor at an estimated cost of $20,000. After more discussion the Board were authorized to proceed, but not to exceed an expenditure of $20,000 which would be paid for with a small dues increase, causing angry questions to arise as to whether or not golfers were now subsidizing curlers? Two tenders called came in too high and were rejected. Schurmans Ltd. offered to solve the problem by laying slabs of concrete for $27,528, which a second General Meeting approved by a very close vote.
In June, Patrick Torrens was hired to manage Belvedere, and it was hoped he would be able to provide the diversified leadership required.
At the Annual Meeting a new curling member campaign was initiated, including the incentive of doing away with the mandatory $100 club bond. Dues were reluctantly increased to cover the rink repairs; $100 for men, $75 for ladies and $20 for juniors. Ladies Teas earned a profit of $275.00 and they appealed to the new Board to put any extra dollars available from the dues increase into golf and curling rather than into capital upkeep. In the very next motion, 40 seats were added to the observation gallery of the curling rink, and work was initiated to convert the ground floor apartment to a men's lounge and game room. An effort was made to work with the Charlottetown Curling Club by exchanging equipment and facilities from time to time but, although intentions were good, there were still elements in both clubs that limited co-operation.
The burden of debt was still a concern and although Belvedere now had facilities second to none, ways would have to be found to further ease the liability. Bob Giggy accepted the office of President and among his Board were Vice President Jack Mulligan, and Hugh Simpson and Rollie Hiltz chairing the important Curling and Greens Committees.
Concrete slabs laid over the floor in the curling rink did not completely solve the water problem and resulting ice heaves, and Coles and Associates were hired to review the situation. Coles sent a letter to the contractor relative to job deficiencies and it resulted in a new surface coating being applied to the floor. The 1966 curling season did not open until the first week in January and then ice quality was still not the best. Only a few new curling members joined and there was still a problem with members not showing up for the casual draws they had signed up to participate in. Despite this, and a new rink condensation problem that developed, there were some quality performances on Belvedere ice. Credibility, and a lot of good public relations came to the Club when a Belvedere team skipped by Art Burke, with Arnold Llewellyn, Ralph Manning and Dr. Temple Hooper, won the right to represent Prince Edward Island at the British Consols Brier in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
Ralph Manning was also a member of the 1966 Club Championship team skipped by Dr. Bill Moreside. The shortened curling season ended on a high social note with the Club hosting a big Moccasin Dance and skate for all Prince Edward Island curlers.
Johnnie MacDonald had a new ice maker and greenskeeper in Andy Polacko, whose resume also included the craft of club making. Polacko moved into the lower level apartment of the clubhouse when it was found to be quite unsuitable as a men's lounge and games room.
The Club Constitution, By-Laws and Regulations of Belvedere remained surprisingly standard over the years, with only a few minor changes from time to time covering new course alterations and regulations. In the spring of 1966 they were republished, changing the fiscal year end to September 30th to convenience curling, and ratifying the junior age range from 12 to 18. When all golf memberships were paid, the total was 525 adults, 50 more than the tentative limit imposed, but a special tolerance had been allowed for those curling members who only played golf occasionally, and curler-only members.
Serious cracks were discovered in the south end wall of the curling rink. Temporary repairs were made but the contractor would give no guarantees and advised the wall required major insulation work. Johnnie MacDonald's declining health forced him to resign as chief ice maker, and those who knew Johnnie well realized his problems were indirectly related to his years of tireless work. He gave up a $500.00 salary, but the Club compensated him by raising his regular weekly wage by $4.00. His assistant, Art Burke, took over the club's ice making responsibilities.
Curling activity through the winter of 1967 was still below expectations. Those participating in casual curling were encouraged to play at least two games a week, but the drawmaster's job was difficult as few accepted the challenge. Most of the serious players played at the Charlottetown Curling Club, although the top competitive teams from Belvedere were always close to the top in major competitions. The Island Seniors and British Consuls Island Playoffs were both held at Belvedere, despite random complaints about the ice-heaving problem, that had never really been solved. Temporary manager Bill Beer agreed to stay on until spring because the Club was facing some financial problems that required attention. With the loan capital increase, the Bank of Nova Scotia required each Director to sign a $2000.00 personal guarantee until golf dues came in. It emphasized the fact that the Club needed a year-round financing plan and, with members becoming more involved, the Constitution and By-Laws, after one year, were again updated by adding a new Liability By-Law, relieving the Club of any responsibility for member or guests actions related to loss, damage or injury on the premises.
The new curling season began with the annual lament for more curling members....and questions as to why, with such a large golfing membership, Belvedere was not considering adding a swimming pool, tennis courts and a few extra golf holes?
As if there were not enough problems with the curling rink, some deterioration was noted on the interior walls that required immediate attention, cost was estimated at $5,000.00 to the distress of the Treasurer and those golfers whose dues would likely have to be increased to pay for this upgrade.
When curling started, Larry Blakney was hired as drawmaster, and more cooperation with the Charlottetown Curling Club was evident with an exchange of ice conditioning equipment and inter-club matches. Blakney's initial draw schedule had a lot of time for college students and schoolboys, believing that enthusing youth was the key to the future. Despite his draw management efforts, dues from curling members were very slow coming in. A new fee structure was approved whereby every member of the Belvedere Golf and Winter Club was required to purchase a $20.00 Social Membership and then pay an additional fee for each activity desired. For golf, men would pay $95.00 and ladies $65.00, and for curling it was $55.00 and $35.00.
Belvedere hosted the Island Seniors Curling Championship in 1969, as well as the Ladies City Championship and the Maritime Junior. Greens Chairman Al McCurdy was a good curler, and, with wife Barbara and Lou and June Watts, skipped a Belvedere team to the Provincial Mixed Curling Championship. Gwen Barbour, Laura Pickard, Peg Weir and Doss Rogers became the first Belvedere team to win the Ladies Provincial Championship and Bill Beer skipped a Belvedere rink at the National Legion Championships. A Schoolboy team of Robert Stewart, David "Jiggs" MacDonald, David Stewart and Chris Blundell went to the Nationals, although Belvedere had earned a good team reputation it was still the casual curling that provided the volume of members entertainment. Larry Blakney was still doing a good job but still having a problem getting draws started on time. He solved it by introducing a "buzzer" system would sound 10 minutes prior to the end of the draw time, forcing the end in play at the time to be the final one.
Al McCurdy's Greens Committee felt it was time to seriously consider a change, but it would have to wait until spring because Art Love's Curling Committee had started up the ice plant and found a serious problem with the major compressor. Repairs were estimated to cost at least $1000.00 and if a replacement was necessary it would be over $3000.00. The Committee opted for repairs and quietly wondered if this curling facility was ever going to be trouble free.
To show support, Belvedere By-Law #12 was amended to read "The Corporation shall at all times be members of the Prince Edward Island Golf Association and the Prince Edward Island Curling Association". As the year ended John MacDonald's wages were increased to $5,750.00 with a car allowance of $250.00, and a new element of cooperation-operation was noted with the Charlottetown Curling Club, when Belvedere agreed to share facilities with them in hosting the upcoming 1971 Canadian Legion Curling Championships.
Larry Blakney was complimented for his efforts as curling drawmaster and members were responding to his organized scheduling with much better attendance. The Belvedere Curling rink was only 10 years old but had been plagued with problems since day one. There were still some irregularities in the ice surface due to sub-soil water and more condensation was appearing on the ceiling, although some of it was attributed to a number of leaks that had been found in the roof.
With curling ready to begin, Belvedere required an experienced ice maker and hired Charlie Huestis from the Charlottetown Curling Club, causing a few raised eyebrows in both clubs. The annual Belvedere New Year's Ball was popular with members although attendance in 1971 was down, despite once again having Les Alexander's popular dance band playing. During a Board discussion regarding the purchase of a quantity of curling brooms, one golfing member pointed out, "we don't buy clubs for golfers, why do we supply brooms for curlers?" A survey of other curling clubs in Atlantic Canada was done, indicating a trend toward curlers having their own brooms, and a decision was made to discontinue providing club brooms, which curling members accepted without complaint.
Belvedere was enjoying the highest level of curling activity since the rink opened, with 179 men and 117 ladies participating as active members. Through the winter, 16 club competitions were held and Belvedere was selected to host both the Provincial Ladies Bonspiel and the Provincial Seniors playdowns. Casual draws were well attended and both schoolboy and schoolgirl curling were quite active. The sale of club brooms realized $1,898.00 and the only bad news all winter was an engineering study report that said the cracks that had been discovered in the floor of the rink were not correctable unless replaced.
Art Love was elected President at the Annual Meeting in November, becoming Belvedere's first president whose prime interest was curling. He had served as Curling Chairman for a number of years and was determined to do everything possible to resolve the ongoing rink problems. The Long Range Planning Committee's three major findings suggested that new long term financing was required, that excessive membership turnover be immediately addressed and that the structure of the rink be studied before further deterioration occurs. The curling rink opening was delayed because the General Contractor, wanting to find a solution to the long time water problem under the floor, excavated a line the entire length of the rink and reported the problem was in the design of the building, related to concrete block construction, which offered little or no solution. Other minor problems were addressed, but the building itself was considered sound for at least another two or three years.
Lloyd Grant was appointed the new chairman in curling, but games interest had dropped to the lowest level in a decade, and it was blamed on high dues and an aging membership. Schoolboy participation also waned and Belvedere, for the first time, sold $15.00 junior curling memberships in an effort to introduce some younger members to the sport.
Twenty two lady curlers from Scotland, on a Canadian tour, visited Belvedere in November, 1975, and the very successful banquet and curling matches held in hosting them was a highlight of the Ladies Branch season.
The effort to encourage more curlers to join Belvedere by eliminating the initiation fee did not work and curling activity improved very little over the previous season.
Curling Committee Chairman Reg Newson saw a few more curling members join Belvedere for the 1977 season and some excellent team achievements helped enhance the Club's curling image. No less than four Belvedere teams won Island Championships and advanced to National competition. Phyllis Drysdale won the Ladies, Ken MacDonald the Men's, Art Love the Legion and Eric Bower the Police Championship. The Drysdale rink, with Esther Cox, Shirley Vienot and Ethel Hovey was the second Belvedere team to represent P.E.I. at "The Lassie", and when the season was over they, and all Provincial Belvedere winners, were guests at a special "Happening Event" organized in their honour by the Social Committee.
An aggressive membership drive increased the number of active curlers to 180, the largest ever, and although the Treasurer was now predicting a $25,000.00 deficit, the membership numbers did help contribute to both an active curling season and a smaller loss. The Ladies Branch, and their President Sharon Knox, enjoyed much better cooperation with the Charlottetown Curling Club than did the men, although the attitude was gradually changing as Belvedere members concentrated more on fun events and club competitions, leaving the big bonspiels with larger prizes to others. The make-up of the Belvedere Board, although not official, now included three ladies: the Branch President and the chairpersons of both their golf and curling committees.
After the leaking rink roof was temporarily repaired, the Club enjoyed a relatively good curling season in 1979, highlighted by two Belvedere rinks winning Senior Provincial Championships. Dr. Lloyd Cox's rink of Ralph Manning, Temple Hooper and David Boswell, won the Men's title and represented P.E.I. at Noranda, Quebec, and Jenny Boomhower, Joyce Beer, Esther Cox and Pearl Smith were the Island Senior Ladies winners off to the Canadian Championships.
The holiday season leading into the 1980s did not go well. The recently repaired rink roof was found to still be leaking, and member curlers were protesting the "unacceptable" ice conditions.
The pulse of Belvedere was strong and the Board, for the first time, was boasting about averaging 1,000 members a year - 550 adult golfers, 150 juniors, 200 curlers and 100 social members. Curling was going well and the decision to concentrate on fun draws and competitions appeared to be paying off.
There were still the structural problems with the curling rink that had to be faced and a few of the golf-only members were still grumbling about having to pay for it.
Rink problems had to be addressed prior to ice making in 1981 and, after a design study and tender call, Arnold Biso was paid $6,400.00 to install a new roof and Atlantic Drywall applied new exterior siding for $9,700.00.
It seemed that every year or so Belvedere had at least one Provincial Championship curling team, and in 1982 it was Joyce Beer's Senior Ladies team with Corey Ward, Shirley Vienot and Jennie Farquharson who represented Prince Edward Island at the Nationals.
The Canadian Ladies Curling Association announced their Championship, The Scott Tournament of Hearts, would be hosted by the Charlottetown Curling Club and held at the Charlottetown Forum in February 1984, and both mens and ladies curling committees at Belvedere were wondering how they might assist in the production.
Another Long Range View
Sharon Knox of Charlottetown was President of the Canadian Ladies Curling Association, and hosting the 1984 Scott Tournament of Hearts at the Charlottetown Forum was a big deal for her, and both local curling clubs. It was very successful, with excellent attendance, and proved once again that hosting a National sporting event was well within the capability of Prince Edward Island curling enthusiasts. The only Provincial tournament held at Belvedere in 1984 was the Police Championships, and regular club curling went well under helpful drawmasters Cy Gallant and Mike Wauk. Despite busy curling activity golf continued to dominate Board discussion throughout the winter, and now tennis was taking up a share of the attention.
Superintendent Charlie Mamye learned the ice making trade well, and the curling surface at Belvedere earned a good reputation, but drawmaster Roger Goss was having scheduling problems as a number of active groups all wanted prime ice times. He attempted to satisfy everyone and made a few bad friends in the process.
Club social enthusiasm generated by the golf season was somewhat curtailed when a freezing plant malfunction caused a major delay in getting the 1985/1986 curling season underway. DPA Management Consultants hoped to get the Long Range Planning initiative off to a good start with a good response from a detailed opinion questionnaire, but were concerned because only 60% of the membership took the time to answer in the interest of their club. Actually, based on surveys done over the years at Belvedere, a 60% return was not bad, and better than might be expected. It was timely to get going with the study because monthly dances had become "disasters" in the opinion of organizers, and a lack of early serious interest in curling led to the opinion that winter activity at the Club was going downhill. Drawmaster Gary Cudmore regenerated curling enthusiasm, which was noticeably enhanced by the club house being busy with the ongoing series of meetings related to the Long Range Planning initiative.
Curling was well underway with Bill Cudmore and Jeff Cooke sharing the position of drawmaster, but some of those who enjoyed curling at Belvedere were rather uncomfortable with Long Range Planning questions as to whether curling was an asset or a liability to club operation.
Treasurer Brian Chambers was budgeting for a surplus of $21,000.00 in 1988 that included a debt reduction payment of $32,730.00, all despite a New Year's Eve Dance loss of almost $500.00 and a curling season start that was disappointing to those working hard to promote the sport. One highlight for Belvedere was Edna Lord's Provincial Senior Curling Championship, and both the Executive Committee and Ladies Branch responded with a few dollars and a quantity of new Belvedere lapel pins to take to the National at Peterborough, Ontario.
At the Annual Meeting, moved ahead to February in 1989, another motion presented to discontinue curling was defeated by a close vote. The winter pastime simply did not have enough enthusiasts, but those who participated on a regular basis defended it passionately, and others supporting them were simply defending the status quo. Fun tournaments continued to be successful and large bonspiels usually had a gallery full of spectators, but the winter program was just not a profitable part of Belvedere. Having a curling operation meant that the club house was open 12 months of the year. Eliminating it would mean the club would have to close for the winter, and at this point in time that was not a desired option.
In November 1989, Charlie Mamye's decade of greenskeeping at Belvedere ended in an exchange of unsigned contracts, and Harold Larter, a long time and popular member of the maintenance staff became the club's new ice maker.
Shelley Ebbett chaired the Curling Committee in 1991 and reported a good winter of activity with a number of cooperative get-togethers and competitions with other associations. The negative concern for Belvedere this winter was that not one new junior member had joined.
"The Bel" continued to be the membership link to club information and its arrival in November announced a new effort to revitalize curling. Ten new volunteers agreed to head six committees responsible for the divisions of curling; Men, Ladies, Juniors, Mixed, Fun Mixed and Bonspiels. To attract members, smoking was banned from the curling rink, ending one of the aromas most significant to the sport.
Despite the effort to revitalize, by the Annual Meeting in February 1992, there were serious curling concerns, fueled by a predicted curling operational loss of $31,000.00. Even though there were 120 members curling on excellent ice provided by Harold Larter, many questions were asked regarding the curling operation and the general membership fee structure that was required to support it. Treasurer Gerald Hoganson presented a very conservative budget, and a motion presented to eliminate curling and increase dues by 9% was defeated by a close vote. It was a long meeting and reiterated the turmoil that was prevalent among the membership regarding the club's winter operation.
A Special General Meeting, called in early November to approve, among other things, a $12,000.00 expenditure for a new refrigeration unit for the ice-maker, evolved into a curling critique when one of the more notable curling members stated that Belvedere had a "mickey mouse" ice plant. There were more curlers than golfers present and, when it was realized the expenditure was absolutely necessary, the money was approved. The meeting was devoted to curling concerns, and other discussions covered a possible future amalgamation with the Charlottetown Curling Club, based on new negotiations currently underway. There would be a renewed effort to promote junior curling and attract new members by easing entrance restrictions, a move totally opposite the "black-ball" acceptance requirements of 90 years ago. The incentives were only partially successful and when all dues were in the total Belvedere curling membership was 60 men, 40 ladies, 32 seniors and 22 juniors.
The start of the curling season was delayed a few weeks while the new refrigeration unit was installed, but club house social activity continued.
Through the winter the most active curling element appeared to be the afternoon seniors who always seemed to keep all four ice lanes busy. Along with the regular members they received special permission to add a few "pay as you play" competitors, which helped create maximum activity but was against Belvedere's long established membership principles. Harold Larter kept Belvedere's reputation for excellent ice intact as discussions continued with the Charlottetown Curling club relative to a possible future amalgamation that could potentially solve a number of serious concerns for both clubs.
Jim Smith resigned as Club Manager, and the meetings being held to seek a possible merger between the two curling clubs terminated when the Charlottetown Curling Club stated they would not move, and Belvedere reiterated that they could not.
There was a lot on the table of the Board of Directors; long range course plans, club house changes, etc., and they condensed it into a simple "Plan of Action". On November 22nd, 1993, over 200 members attended a special meeting called to discuss and approve the plan, one item of which was, "....that curling be terminated after the 1993/1994 season", and that was the point that attracted the crowd. The annual curling loss average was exceeding $30,000 but before the motion was voted on an amendment was moved deleting the item that discontinued curling. After long and often intense discussion, the amendment motion was approved by secret ballot, 128-75, and the plan of action, as amended was passed 114-72. The majority still wanted the costly curling element, mainly because it was there, but the number vocally against it was increasing, and all, including the Board of Directors were wondering where do we go from here?
Through the winter of 1995 the Board and members were doing a lot of quiet soul searching. Curling was an issue and the limited activity was not giving the promoters much ammunition to work with.
Curlers were again under pressure and by mid-November, 1995, only 42 had paid their membership dues, creating a cash flow shortfall of $50,000.00 and a special ultimatum from the Board to the Curling Committee, saying unless a 100 curlers joined by the Annual Meeting in February, they would present a motion to eliminate curling from Belvedere.
By January of 1996 there were still only 60 curling members, but that number was augmented by allowing seniors to once again fill their afternoon program with a number of "Pay per play" competitors. Curlers argued that this was the answer to good participation but the Board of Directors, although lenient on the matter because of the situation, held to the principle that a membership was required to enjoy club facilities. Despite the membership shortfall the ice lanes were fairly busy and the "100 or bust" threat was extended to the start of the 1996-1997 season.
Vice-President Elaine Noonan assumed the Presidency, becoming the second lady ever to lead Belvedere, and two new directors were added. There was a renewed Board effort to put their own concerns behind them and face a number of serious issues confronting the Club. The first problem to address was a group of curlers who realized the fall deadline was approaching and called a special General Meeting was called on August 28th, 1996, to present a motion to keep curling alive.
Over 150 members attended to hear their motion, based on the fact that they needed time if they were to survive. "It is moved that the membership of the Belvedere Golf and Winter Club will support the operation of a curling program for the next five (5) years, 1996 through 2000". President Noonan made it clear, prior to the vote, that if passed there could be curling for the next five years and if lost there would be no curling considerations, effective immediately. There was a great deal of discussion and after the secret ballot, and accusations of voting irregularities, the motion stood 75-67.
By early January, 1997, with a failed New Year's Eve dance behind them, the Board of Directors had curlers requesting a lower rate for the balance of the season, without realizing they would have to go to a questioning membership to obtain it. Only 17 had paid dues, including 16 juniors, prompting the Board, preparing for the Annual Meeting, to present a second curling related budget, one including a curling program and one without. The figures would also include, for questioning golfers, the cost for the winter operation of the Club over the next four years, as approved a few months ago.
The Annual Meeting, on February 26th, 1997, began on a positive note with President Elaine Noonan's formal introduction of the new generation management team at Belvedere; Manager Harry Simmonds; Professional Ron Giggey, and newly hired golf course superintendent Marc Altese who had recently arrived from Toronto. Rodney Willis presented the Long Range Planning Committee's 4 year course improvement plan, but exciting as it was, the large crowd wanted to address the budget. After hearing all the facts and figures on the controversial issue and much discussion, 227 members voted 141-86 to not budget for a winter curling operation through 1997-1998, effectively driving the final nail in the Belvedere curling coffin and creating a walk-out of some upset curling supporters, a few of whom were also regular golfing members.
BELVEDERE CURLING CHAMPIONS
Mens Club Champions: (Rogers Hardware Trophy 1964-1988) (Home Hardware 1989 -1997)
1964 - Mac Kennedy A.B. Lepage Cecil Dowling Heber Jones
1965 - A.B. Lepage Lou Watts Lester Taylor John Martin
1966 - Bill Moreside Ralph Manning A.B. Lepage Hugh Simpson
1967 - Art Burke Arnold Llewellyn Allison Saunders Stu Lavers
1968 - Walter Carver Lou Watts Lester Taylor John Martin
1969 - Bill Moreside Ralph Manning A.B. Lepage Hugh Simpson
1970 - Bill Beer Temple Hooper Bill Burden Louis Kays
1971 - Bill Moreside Ralph Manning Brodie Lantz Hugh Simpson
1972 - Al McCurdy D.V. MacDonald Harry Simmonds Don Maund
1973 - Allan Smith Al McCurdy George Dillon Louis Kays
1974 - Alan Smith Al McCurdy George Dillon Louis Kays
1975 - George Dillon Al McCurdy Louis Kays Ted Archer
1976 - Eric Bower Cy Burke Allan MacDonald Ernie Maidment
1977 - Ken MacDonald George Dillon Allan Ledgerwood Keith MacEachern
1978 - Ron Boyles Roger MacDonald Philip Ward David Campbell
1979 - Sterling Stratton Gerry Redmond Leigh Crabbe Kim Blanchard
1980 - Ron Morris Bob Seaman Bill Blanchard Angus Rogerson
1981 - Sterling Stratton Gerry Redmond Leigh Crabbe Stu Simpson
1982 - Gerry Campbell Gerry Redmond Stu Simpson Doug Brown
1983 - Fred Brown Jim Fletcher Glen Thomson Joe Pierce
1984 - Phil Perry Norman MacNeill Kevin Taylor Ev MacNeill
1985 - Roger Goss Jerry Hood Bob Corrigan Kevin Champion
1986 - Mike Callaghan Sean Ledgerwood Andrew Robinson Morley Foy
1987 - Gary Cudmore Lyle MacKay Steven Champion Kevin Champion
1988 - Ernie Diamond Jim Fletcher Jim Smith Scott Johnson
1989 - Bob Johnson Phil Perry Bill Allen Bill MacIntyre
1990 - Bob Johnson Phil Perry Bill Allen Bill MacIntyre
1991 - Alan Stewart Gary Moore Jerry Moore Jeff Ready
1992 - Phil Perry Ernie Diamond Jim MacLean Bob Johnson
1993 - Phil Perry Ernie Diamond Jim MacLean Jim Smith
1994 - Phil Perry Ivan MacDougall Jim MacLean Ken Thomson
1995 - Bob Johnson Eoin O'Brien Ivan Brown Bill Brown
1996 - Keir MacQuarrie Jim Smith Dave Carmichael Ross Nicholson
1997 - Al Allen Paul Gallant Bill Brown Grant Laird
Ladies Club Champions:
1964 - Ella Taylor Bernie Flynn Cathy Hennessey Chris MacLeod
1965 - Ella Taylor Esther Cox Velma Hooper Connie Stewart
1966 - Fran Boyles Charlotte MacKean Marion Auld Ruth Curtis
1967 - Barbara McCurdy Doris Anderson Ginny Kays Carol MacLean
1968 - Barbara McCurdy Joan Burden Mary Beaton Beryl Field
1969 - Jane Irwin Adele Moreside Rita MacEachern Maylea Manning
1970 - Phyllis Drysdale Adele Moreside Marj. Rogers Gladys MacKay
1971 - Barbara McCurdy Carol Rowan Cathy Ford Eleanor Birt
1972 - Mary Porter Martha Johnston Joan Evans Marg. MacWilliam
1973 - Molly Hunt Carol Taylor Beth Rooking Jean Mader
1974 - Margie Newson Irenis Duffy Joy Tremore Wilma Burke
1975 - Edna Lord Eleanor Birt Mickey Brennan Joan Cooke
1976 - Esther Cox Adele Moreside Ethel Hovey Muriel Ball
1977 - Pal Dowling Kay Trainor Sharyn MacDougall Betty Blane
1978 - Sharon Knox Eleanor Birt Joan Cooke Valerie MacLean
1979 - Margie Newson Ginny Kays Fran Carmichael Gladys Wright
1980 - Joyce Beer Carol Taylor Bobby Fisher Marion Rach
1981 - Sharyn MacDougall Gennie Pineau Myrna Fougere Kim Stewart
1982 - Margie Newson Ginny Kays Diane MacKay Gladys Wright
1983 - Kay Trainor Sally MacDonald Bernie Demone Ruby MacDougall
1984 - Sharyn MacDougall Simone MacKenzie Val MacLean Barb MacAusland
1985 - Pearl Giggey Eunice Cudmore Judy Helps Diane Cudmore
1986 - Sharon Knox Betty Matheson Kaye MacFadyen Betty MacLure
1987 - Benita Morrison Barb MacAusland Marilyn Diamond Shelley Ebbett
1988 - Sharon Knox Mary Gallant Shelley Hood Judy Johnson
1989 - Sharon Knox Judy Helps Marilyn Diamond Ann Marie Desroches
1990 - Sharon Knox Valerie MacLean J. Holmes Ann Marie Desroches
1991 - Pearl Giggey C. Blanchard Karen Wood Donna Carr
1992 - Joan Cooke Eleanor Meek Ruth MacGregor Evelyn Read
1993 - Flora Thomson Mary Lantz Nora Smith Karen Hardy
1994 - Not recorded
1995 - Not recorded
1996 - Sharon Knox
1997 - Not recorded
Mixed Club Champions: (Kennedy Mixed Trophy 1964-1974)
1965 - Norman Nicholson Barbara McCurdy Butch McGee Betty Breyenton
1966 - Bill Beer Joyce Beer Frank MacInnis Shirley Vienot
1967 - A.B. LePage Buff LePage Louis Kays Gwen Barbour
1968 - Doug Saunders Kay Mustard Lester Taylor Pauline Saunders
1969 - Al McCurdy Barbara McCurdy Lou Watts June Watts
1970 - Bill Beer Joyce Beer Harry Simmonds Shirley Vienot
1971 - Al McCurdy Barbara McCurdy Louis Kays Ginny Kays
1972 - Al McCurdy Barbara McCurdy Louis Kays Ginny Kays
1973 - Bill Beer Joyce Beer D.V. MacDonald Shirley Vienot
1974 - Al McCurdy Barbara McCurdy Roger MacDonald Diane Blanchard
(Seaman's Beverage Trophy) - (Only Recorded Winner)
1979 - Lloyd Cox Esther Cox Ralph Manning Molly Hunt
Mens Provincial Champions, National Representatives: (Belvedere Members)
1966 - Arthur Burke Arnold Llewellyn Ralph Manning Temple Hooper
Ladies Provincial Champions, National Representatives : (Belvedere Members)
1969 - Laura Pickard Gwen Barbour Peg Weir Doss Rogers
1977 - Phyllis Drysdale Esther Cox Shirley Vienot Ethel Hovey
Mixed Provincial Champions, National Representatives: (Belvedere )
1969 - Alan McCurdy Barbara McCurdy Lou Watts June Watts
Men's Provincial Senior Champions, National Representatives: (Belvedere)
1979 - Lloyd Cox Ralph Manning David Boswell Temple Hooper
Ladies Provincial Senior Champions, National Representatives: (Belvedere)
1976 - Mary Porter Gwen Barbour Carol Taylor Joan Cobb
1979 - Jennie Boomhower Joyce Beer Esther Cox Pearl Smith
1982 - Joyce Beer Corey Ward Shirley Vienot J. Farquharson
1988 - Edna Lord Pearl Giggy Margie Newson Helen MacPhail
Provincial Legion Champions, National Representatives: (Belvedere)
1969 - Bill Beer Temple Hooper Bill Burden Louis Kays
1970 - Bill Beer Temple Hooper Bill Burden Louis Kays
1971 - Bill Beer Temple Hooper Bill Burden Louis Kays
1976 - Bill Beer Albert Butcher Louis Kays Carl Dawson
1977 - Arthur Love Bill Beer Wendell McLaine Jim Higgins
1982 - Irving MacKinnon Bill Beer Lorne Burke Ivan MacDougall
Provincial Schoolboy Champions, National Representatives ( Belvedere)
1969 - Robert Stewart David MacDonald David Stewart Chris Blundell
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