Starting in 1903, the first group of Scots from the Royal Caledonia Club travelled to Canada to compete and tour across the country for the Royal Caledonia Tankard. The president of the club, Lord Strathcona, would eventually have the event named after him, the Strathcona Cup.
Thursday five Scottish teams will be in Pictou County as part of the tour that takes place every 10 years. In the morning the teams will split up to play in Westville and Pictou, prior to four games at the Bluenose Curling Club in the afternoon.
John Marshall, a co-organizer of the Pictou County portion of their visit to Canada, said he was part of their last visit in 2003 and is looking forward to welcoming the Scottish curlers again.
“It’s a prestigious thing more than anything to have them come to our clubs,” he said. “Having them here to play and to show them New Glasgow and Pictou County, which have a lot of Scottish heritage to them, with New Glasgow being named after Glasgow, Scotland.”
The oldest international curling event in the world, the Strathcona Cup is won by tallying the scores of the games across Canada. The Scottish teams use the top of the scoreboard of every club the play in. Since beginning with the Scottish players travelling to Canada in 1903 and the Canadians travelling to Scotland in 1909, Canada has won 11 titles, with Scotland capturing 10.
The Pictou County portion of the tour is relatively early and the final score and champion for 2013 will not be determined until later, as the teams move west.
Playing against the teams will be local members of the clubs. Two teams from New Caledonian and Westville clubs play Thursday morning, while three teams from Bluenose and one from Stellar Curling Clubs play in the afternoon.
Marshall said it’s never difficult to get players to play, rather the challenge is bringing the number down to the number of players they need.
“Everyone likes to be involved and play against the teams,” he said. “It’s always hard to get down to the number of curlers we need, but it always works out and this year we’ll be able to work all Bluenose curlers into the games.”
Aside from curling, this trip the curlers will also have an opportunity to visit the Hector Heritage Quay after lunch at the New Caledonian Curling Club. There will also be a banquet at the Bluenose after the day of curling.
The public is welcome to watch the curling throughout the day. At the New Caledonian and Bluenose club the fifth team travelling with this group will also be off the ice.
For more information on the nation-wide tour visit http://strathconacuptour2013.co.uk/.
Strathcona Cup Pictou County schedule:
9:30 a.m. Two games begin at Westville Curling Club
10 a.m. Two games begin at New Caledonian Curling Club
3:30 p.m. Four games begin at Bluenose Curling Club