If a time-traveler from 50 years ago happened to materialize at the Langley Curling Centre in the George Preston rec centre this week, they would find it wasn’t so different.
“We’ve changed how we’ve had to operate as a facility with [the] changing times, but the club concept and the warmness of the club has not changed,” said Robyn Parkes, curling centre manager.
“The old cedar [panelling] inside is still the same,” she noted.
“People really love coming into our club and how warm it is,” Parkes told the Langley Advance Times.
“It’s a good feeling when you come in here versus walking into ones that are all white walls. It’s a cozy club, and people feel that.”
While the facility at 20699 42 Ave. may resemble the original club in many ways, it’s also been through some major alterations, Parkes noted.
“There’s been a lot of reconstruction and renovating going on, which has affected us in a lot of ways,” she summarized.
“We’ve been through staffing and reconstruction of the pub and restaurant,” including a period where the pub was closed and members were being served, legally, from Parkes office.
“I had a bar outside my door,” she recalled.
While the building opened in 1971, the curling club didn’t officially start until 1973, which is why the 50th anniversary is being marked this year.
Anniversary-related events will begin Friday, Sept. 22, with the day including a Try Curling for Kids (ages 5-15) event with off-ice gym curling and a chance to try on-ice curling. Registration is required, through langleycurlingcentre.com.
There will also be on-ice demonstrations for alumni of the club of new curling tech and techniques before an invitation-only alumni reception to recognize outstanding members from years gone by.
After seeing numbers shrink during the pandemic, the club membership is growing again, up 10 per cent, Parkes estimated, thanks to novices taking up the sport.
“We have had a lot of people come and try it. We have try-it opportunities all the time for people to come in.”
On Saturday, Sept. 23, anniversary events will continue with an open house from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., off-ice activities for kids, Langley Curling Centre heritage displays and concession.
Novices 16 and older can get on the ice and learn the basics of curling from club coaches. No registration required.
A late dinner and dance party with live music, catered dinner, cash bar, loonie bin draw and 50/50 is scheduled. Tickets are $40 each. Purchase through langleycurlingcentre.com.
Sunday, Sept. 24, the centre will host a 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. “funspiel,” one in the morning and one in the afternoon, for club members. Registration is required.
“Curling is a sport for all ages,” Parkes declared.
“It’s a sport for life. No matter where you come from, if you’ve curled. somewhere, you know that, wherever you go, you will find a curling club and when you walk into that curling club, you will feel right away that you belong.”