The Scottish game of curling was introduced to Canada in 1807 in Montreal, QC, but didn’t make its way west for another 80 years, where the first game was played in Edmonton in 1888. From there, the game’s popularity spread to even the newest pioneer settlements—including the hamlet of Grimshaw in the Peace River Region.
The eight women and men of the Grimshaw curling group were—in true pioneer fashion—resourceful: they used conventional brooms, played on an outdoor rink and even improvised the “stones,” which were hand-carved out of green wood by team member Mike Miller. While wooden stones probably weren’t ideal, they were no doubt easier to manage than the first iron stones used in Canada—shaped like a tea kettle, men’s iron stones weighed up to 80 pounds and the women’s up to 48 pounds.
Grimshaw, located southwest of the town of Peace River and named after its first doctor, wasn’t settled until 1921, so it was a very new community when the above photo was taken. Residents of the new hamlet along the Central Canada Railway were interested in a range of sports, including hockey, baseball and basketball.
Miller started out as a farmer near Grimshaw. He owned three quarter sections at one time, farmed them for a few years, but sold out after three successive crop failures. He later operated a service station.
Yvan Adam operated a general store in Grimshaw and served on the first village council. He was also captain of the volunteer fire department.
Miller and Adam’s fellow curler, Bert Geyer, started a general store in 1927, and also worked hard to organize and finance the first school district. John Schur, meanwhile, ran a butcher shop.
Although cropping success was hit-and-miss, the Security Company finally took a chance and built the Security Elevator in 1926, with the competition soon following. By 1928, the village had five grain elevators, two oil companies, wholesale supply depots and all types of tractor and farm machinery dealers.