The Canadian Curler's Manual
or an account of curling as practised in Canada with remarks on the history of the game by James Bickett (1840)


PREFACE

This little pamphlet has been produced at the request of the Toronto Curling Club. The original object in its publication was simply to furnish the Members with a copy of the Constitution of the Club, and of the laws which they observe in playing. The design is now extended, so as to embrace a general description of Curling, with a brief history of the Game; and by thus making it to be understood, by those who have never seen it played, or who may have been only occasional spectators, to induce a more general participation in this most healthful and exhilarating amusement.

It is gratifying to observe the success of the efforts which have been made in this country, during the last few years, to promote and encourage the Game. It is now becoming, and must become, a favorite in Canada. It is admirably adapted to this climate, where the winter is generally cold enough to ensure good ice, and seldom so severe as to render the exercise unpleasant. Being played in the open air, during a season when few out-of-door recreations can be enjoyed, it is well calculated to counteract the enfeebling influence of confinement to our close and heated winter houses. Many objections which may be brought against other sports, are not applicable to this. It calls up none of the low and degrading passions of our nature. Notwithstanding the intense interest which Curlers may feel in a well contested match, no betting ever takes place among them; the excitement arising from gambling, therefore, is altogether removed from the rink. Intoxication on the ice is also unknown among good players. The nice equilibrium of body and the firmness of nerve, essential to scientific Curling, would disappear on the first symptom of such a state. But the Game is sufficiently interesting without any extraneous stimulant. While it imparts vigour to every limb, and every muscle, it engages the attention and awakens the judgment; and thus brings into healthful excitement those powers of the body and of the mind, the due exercise of which the Creator has allied with pleasure.

In the observations which will be found on the early history of Curling, a liberal use has been made of a small but valuable work on the subject, published anonymously, in Kilmarnock, in 1828. To the same authority the writer is indebted for the derivation of several of the words to be found in the Glossary, and it is only doing the Compilers of the work referred to, an act of justice, which they can have no wish should be omitted, to state, that they have availed of “Doctor Jamieson’s Dictionary,” “Brewster’s Encyclopedia,” and an “Account of Curling, by a Member of the Duddingstone Society.” These, unfortunately, are not at present accessible to the writer. During the present year, he ordered from Edinburgh such publications on the Game, as could be found; but was disappointed on learning, that several excellent Treatises which he expected to receive, are now out of print—the only works which his Correspondent could procure, being the “Annual of the Grand Caledonian Curling Club” and the “Rules of Curling, by Pre-tostes.”

The writer has affixed his name to this work —conceiving that from his official connection with the Toronto Curling Club, since its establishment, this may lend some weight to the opinions, and some authority to the statements therein contained.

Toronto, 30th November, 1840.

“When winter muffles up his cloak,
And binds the mire like a rock,
Then to the loch the Curlers flock
Wi’ gleesome speed.”
BuRns.

CONTENTS

Part I

Description of Curling
Stones
The Rink
Playing
Sweeping
The Game
Toronto Rules of Curling
Glossary, or Explanation of Curling Terms

Part II

Early History of Curling
Curling in Scotland
Curling in Canada
Constitution of the Toronto Club

History of Curling
By John Kerr (1890)


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