Tunnel Town Curling Club was the Western Canadian launching point for a 120-year-old international competition.
On Thursday, the Tsawwassen club hosted the opening draw of the 2023 Strathcona Cup, as five teams from Scotland took on rinks from Tunnel Town and the Richmond Curling Club to open the three-week competition.
This friendly event began with the first visit of a Scottish team to Canada in 1903. Six years later, a Canadian team was assembled to return the favour. The president of the Royal Caledonian Curling Club (RCCC) in 1909 was Lord Stratchona (Donald Smith). He was a Scot who immigrated to Canada in his late teens.
He earned his fortune in Canada where he was a commissioner and governor of the Hudson’s Bay Company, president of the Bank of Montreal, and twice a member of Parliament. In his later years, Smith returned to Scotland and he eventually commissioned a trophy for competition between Canada and Scotland.
The famed Stratchcona Cup has scenes etched onto it from both competing countries. It permanently remains in Scotland, regardless of which country wins.
The cup is contested every fifth year with each country hosting the event every 10th year.
Tunnel Town had a major role when Canada welcomed the Scottish rinks back in 2013, as one of 11 stops on the B.C. portion of the competition.
Canada captured the 2018 event in Scotland as the 40-member team played 53 draws over three weeks to win 1,614-1,292. The Canadian contingent included long-time Tunnel Town member and current Delta Coun. Dan Boisvert.
The seven stops at B.C. curling clubs also included Peace Arch and Royal City on Friday. It continues at Qualicum (Jan. 14), Victoria (Jan. 15), Vernon (Jan. 17) and Kelowna (Jan. 18). The Scottish contingent then moves onto Alberta.
There are also teams touring Ontario and Montreal, as well as the Maritimes. In total, 350 games will be played at 85 curling clubs across the country.