This coming weekend the 2016 edition of the TCA Goldline Men’s Curling Championships kicks off with over 1,000 curlers at clubs across the Greater Toronto Area. A massive bonspiel, steeped in history, it is essentially the annual Toronto Open for the city’s top club curlers.
Annually contested since it kicked off in 1896
Amazing to think the TCA Goldline has been running continuously for well over a hundred years. It is the second longest running bonspiel in the world (Manitoba’s MCA spiel started in 1888). From Toronto Curling Association:
The TCA Men’s Championships are one of the world’s oldest continuous curling event. The winners of the first Championship was the Rennie Rink, from the Caledonia Curling club, in 1896. Prior to 1896, there was a city competition, but the format was different. At that time, 16 players threw 16 rocks, and there was no championship. The game was played by eight man teams throwing one rock each. As time went on the game changed and by the mid 1800’s, the most popular format of play was the Single Rink. A championship was proposed in 1895 and the first Single Rink Championship of Toronto was held in January of 1896. They played twenty-two ends on natural ice with straw brooms. The good news was you couldn’t sweep a rock until it reached the middle line. Hiram Walker sponsored the event in those early years before passing the torch to the Canada Life Assurance Company in 1906. Every January for the next eighty years, curlers assembled in clubs across the city to compete for the right to call themselves “Canada Life Champions.”
Known by many a name over the years
As discussed, the Hiram Walker distillery sponsored the spiel early on, followed Canada Life. For many years the bonspiel was known as the ‘Canada Life’.
Then in the mid nineties the Investors Group stepped in to sponsor the tournament. In 1998 a group of curlers from the Weston Golf and Country Club stepped up, until Brick Brewing Company stepped up as sponsor from 1999 – 2001.
From 2002 – 2009 the Johnson Controls company sponsored the bonspiel under it’s Energizer brand.
Then in 2010 the Goldline curling supply company stepped up to sponsor the event.
The TCA Men’s Championship today
The TCA Goldline Men’s Championships are open to all club-level teams from across the GTA and beyond. The bonspiel attracts teams of all calibres from clubs across the city. Last year it had over 260 teams participate with games hosted at 19 different curling clubs including Scaraboro, High Park, Leaside, Tam Heather, Dixie, Oakville, Cricket, Annandale, Unionville, East York and many more.
Events include 4 different competitions – Open, Senior (50+), Master (60+) and Grandmaster (70+).
For more information on the event please see the event page at TCA website: https://www.torontocurling.com/events/goldline-tca-mens-bonspiel/
Good luck to all the competitors!