The Montreal West Curling Club was founded in 1912, but women’s curling began in February 1918 with the formation of the Ladies’ Branch. During the 2017-2018 season, the women of our club will be celebrating the centennial of women’s curling at Montreal West, honouring the past, celebrating the present and promoting the future.
As our club’s only present day league exclusive to women curlers, the Women’s Day League — the “Day Ladies” — is giving leadership to these celebrations. Several special centennial events are being planned, and the participation of all women of the club is strongly encouraged.
The two main centennial events will be a Gala Dinner on Saturday, December 2, 2017 and a women’s bonspiel on Saturday, February 24, 2018.
This is literally a once-in-a-lifetime event, as we will none of us get to celebrate the next centennial of women’s curling at Montreal West; let’s make the most of this one!
History of Women’s Curling at Montreal West
The Day Ladies league is the only league at Montreal West Curling Club that is exclusive to women. Originally known as the Ladies Branch, it was formed in February 1918, six years after the founding of the club. Thus, as of February 2018, the Day Ladies league will be one hundred years old! During this banner season, the club is celebrating, not only the centennial of the Day Ladies, but of women’s curling at Montreal West.
At first, female membership at MWCC was restricted to close family members of the men’s Club. The fees were $4.00 for curling or $10.00 for bowling and curling. The women were granted ice time in the afternoons from weekdays from 1:00pm to 5:00pm, but were not allowed in the club on Saturdays.
On December 11, 1923, the Men’s Committee gave the women permission to use the ice every morning except Saturday, and every other Tuesday afternoon. The fees were increased to $5.00.
Over the years, women’s participation grew. The Ladies Evening Curlers Section (aka Business Ladies) was formed in 1978. This league thrived for more than 30 years but by 2010 was down to 2 sheets. When the Ladder and other evening leagues were opened to women in 2000, some women chose to move to mixed competition and more competitive curling. In response, the Business Ladies formed a mixed league. Monday Evening Curling, as this league was first known, began in the 2010-2011 season; the following year it moved to its current Wednesday slot and became Evening House League.
Today, the club boasts several leagues, and our club membership includes more than a hundred women. Many women curl during the day and in the evening, and there are several social members who carpet bowl, play bridge and take part in the club’s many social activities.
As lifestyles have changed, Day Ladies membership has shrunk somewhat. Nevertheless, the Day Ladies continue their long tradition of helping to support and give leadership to the club. They host several luncheon bridges during the curling season — an important fundraising activity — and they organize golf in the summer (Whiff ‘n Putts).