The Scotland/Canada Rotary Curling Tour

Bob Mackintosh, after whom the Trans-Atlantic Rotary Curling Quaich is named, was instrumental in founding the tour. In February 1956, Bob and his wife May travelled to Montreal. May, a lecturer at Edinburgh University, had written a book on education and hoped to have it published in Canada.

While in Montreal Bob met Aubrey Legge, a fellow Rotarian. After some conversation Aubrey mentioned his love of curling and added that one of his ambitions in life was to curl in Scotland. Bob suggested that Aubrey bring a team of Rotarian curlers to Scotland in November 1956. As a result, twelve Canadians and four Americans took up the invitation, thus beginning 50 years of Rotary curling fellowship.

The tour in 1957 was arranged by Bob Mackintosh, a member of the Hamilton Rotary Club and Willie Milne, then Scottish Rotary Sports Convener and a member of the Glasgow Rotary Club. Twenty Scots curled that year in Montreal, Trois Rivieres, Quebec City, Lachute, Ottawa, Brockville, Utica N.Y. and Shenectady N.Y. Initially tours were to be exchanged annually, however only Canadian Rotarians returned to Scotland in 1958, the Americans having withdrawn from the tour.

Linton Armstrong of Lachute captained the 1958 Canadian team of 20 Rotarian curlers to Scotland. At some point later the number of curlers was established at 22. The Scots returned to Canada in 1960 following the decision to tour every two years. Over the years the tour has achieved legendary status as a test of skill and stamina.

Over the years the Rotary Club of Ayr has had at last count twenty-three curlers in its membership. Fourteen of those members have either been on the Tour, played against the Canadians or hosted guests. Those that have participated will never forget the hospitality received and the friendships made.

Local Ayr Rotary member Ronnie Wilson took part in the 2016 Tour together with fellow Ayrshire members Alex Blair from Hunterston, Robert Young from Troon and Hugh Parker from Stranraer. By so doing they then were involved in organising the incoming twenty-two Canadians who arrived in Glasgow on 27th October for their tour of Scottish Rotary Clubs and Ice Rinks. Their itinerary was as follows:-

Area Dates Notes
Arrive in Glasgow Oct 27 – Nov 28 1 night – Hotel
Stirling and Forth Valley Oct 28 – Oct 29 2 nights
Perthshire Oct 30 – Nov 1 3 nights
Inverness Nov 2 – Nov 3 2 nights
Aberdeen Nov 4 – Nov 5 2 nights
Dundee and Angus Nov 6 – Nov 7 2 nights
Fife Nov 8 – Nov 9 2 nights
Edinburgh Nov 10 – Nov 13 4 nights – Hotel first night
Dumfries & Galloway Nov 14 – Nov 16 3 nights – Hotel first night
Ayrshire and Stranraer Nov 17 – Nov 18 2 nights
Hamilton Nov 19 – Nov 20 2 nights
Glasgow Nov 21 – Nov 23 3 nights – Hotel last night
Depart for Canada Nov 24

From messages of appreciation received the Canadians obviously enjoyed their time in Scotland helped by their winning score for the overall competition Bob Macintosh Quaich beating Scotland by 85 points. The 2016 Tour match against the Canadians on the final day for the Duddingston Trophy was however won by Scotland with a convincing margin of 18.

The Tour Facebook page contains much more information and images should they be of interest at:

Any curling Rotarian of whatever ability is eligible to go on the Tour as it is a once in a lifetime opportunity. Anyone interested should make contact with one of the local 2016 Tourers.

Ronnie Wilson
5 December 2018