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PURSUIT: Curling fever sweeps over Newmarket at York club

Curling facility, which opened in 1956, now has more than 600 members and has expanded its offerings like popular pickleball

If you’re looking for something new to try, the York Curling Club has you covered.

The club not only offers a number of leagues and bonspiels for its more than 600 members, it's also preparing for its third year of pickleball league play this summer.

Additionally, the club is set to host some events for both the American Cornhole League and the Newmarket Cornhole League over the next few months.

The many offerings allow the organization to stay open for most of the year with events Newmarket and area residents enjoy.

The club has primarily operated as a curling facility since 1956, when an army training centre was converted into the rink. Today, its members include adults and kids of various skill levels, from the ages of seven to 90.

Joanna Todd is a member who has been curling at the club for 29 years — since she first discovered the sport. At the time, she was searching for a new activity to try with her husband, and together they decided to give curling a shot.

“We said we needed a date night at the time. So, why don’t we see if the curling club has any spots? And we found a spot. So, my husband and I went out on a date night on a Friday night and we never looked back,” she said.

Todd has come to appreciate the supportive nature of the tight-knit curling community. She believes it’s a great crowd to simply share a drink with after a game and chat about anything.

“It’s just a really good group of people at the York Curling Club,” she said, “and I find that every curling club that I go to when I go to a bonspiel, outside of York curling, I find that the people that we meet, they’re just wonderful.”

Todd also loves the workout she gets from curling. The sport may look basic, but it requires a lot of balance when delivering the rock and strength when sweeping.

“Especially when you sweep,” said Todd. “It’s like doing push-ups all the way down the ice, because you’re pushing that broom on the ice as hard as you can so the rock will go farther or curl more.”

Club members have the luxury of many types of leagues to accommodate their schedules. There are little rock programs on Sundays for young curlers and many adult and senior leagues throughout the week. The club also offers tag leagues, where teams are formed by a draw each time. This puts less pressure on members to show up every week if they are busy.

The club is also a great option for local schools to try curling for a day. Volunteers will be made available to teach the sport to new players.

The rise in popularity of pickleball has also inspired the club to offer the sport to both members and non-members in the summer. It is once again planning to team up with Elevation Athletics to offer leagues and other programming at its six-court indoor facility.

Jack Inouye, manager of operations with the York Curling Club, said he listened to the pickleball excitement from the curling members and decided to investigate the feasibility of offering the sport during the summers. As a result, many curling club members are now playing pickleball.

“I think a lot of the people that play here started out as curlers, and when we opened the pickleball, they always wanted to try it, so they came in and joined up,” he said.

The club’s pickleball courts will be available for corporate events and other types of social gatherings. The bar will also be open for refreshments.

The York Curling Club has spent many years creating a special community for both its curling and pickleball players. The result makes the club a great option for Newmarket residents to try something new and have a little fun.