Team Colliver sweeps a rock during the final A game of the Skyline Men’s Bonspiel on Sunday, Jan. 22 at the Haliburton Curling Club. /VIVIAN COLLINGS Staff

Haliburton curling: A family tradition

By Vivian Collings

The history of the Colliver family is written in the walls and on the ice surface of the Haliburton Curling Club.

Brothers Steve and Brent and their sons Jesse and Chris recently competed in the 62nd annual Men’s Skyline Bonspiel at the Haliburton Curling Club from Jan. 20 to 22.

Among 24 other teams, with 22 from out of town, the Collivers finished as runners-up in the A bracket. 

“This spiel started when I was born,” Steve said. “We moved here in 1969, so I was 10 or 11 years old, and my Dad was an ice maker.”

At the time, Steve said all of the children his age resented the curling club because there was no junior curling at the time.

“The old club was only adults, and it was all work for us kids. We would come before school and drag the hose behind Dad while he was putting the ice in.”

“My parents loved curling, and that’s how we got into it, but there was no opportunity for us until we got to high school,” Steve said. “All three of us curled here as soon as we could; my sister, my brother, and myself.”

After university, he became the icemaker and bartender at the Haliburton Curling Club for two, sliding in his father’s footsteps.

Steve then attended teacher’s college and retired in Haliburton County with his wife in 2015. He said the club allows for social interaction that they otherwise wouldn’t get in the winter.

“It’s a great bonspiel, and people come from everywhere to participate,” he said.

This year, the Men’s Skyline Bonspiel had 14 returning teams and eight new ones said chair of the Men’s Skyline Bonspiel Dave Moss.

On Saturday, Jan. 21, the club invited Carl Dixon to play music and celebrate the return of the spiel.

“We had a really nice concert last night with him playing an acoustic show,” Steve said.

Kent Milford has been a member of the Haliburton Curling Club since 2012 and is an organizer of the event. He said it continues to get more popular each year.

“Over the last four or five years, we have tried to rejuvenate the spiel and bring it up to modern times. Even after COVID, this spiel was full with a waitlist to get in,” Milford said. 

Milford said the Haliburton Curling Club has 50 new members this year.

“We’re really pleased that not only has this bonspiel come back, but the whole club has come right back to where we were pre-COVID with numbers,” Milford said.