Back Row:  Joe Kapron, David Halls, Mike Dybka, John Gordon, Bob Martin, Jim Simpson, Rich Hueston, Dale Keaveney, Brian Cowan.  
Middle Row:  Wendy Hill, Marie Solvason, Ted Ecclestone, Scott Lavender, Bill Lemmon, Murray Pearson, Jim Coyle, Marg Bancroft. 
Front Row:  Rene Marchen, Chris Wood, Sharon Rizzuto, Brenda Rouse, Alicia Gordon
Two years ago, the Rotary Clubs of London South, Stratford and Meaford were hosts to 20 Scottish Rotarian Curlers touring through Ontario.  This fall, three Rotarians from District 6330,  Brenda Rouse from the Rotary Club of London South, Bill Lemmon of Stratford and Dale Keaveney of Meaford, joined 19 other Rotarians from Ontario in a month long curling tour of Scotland.
Participants were billeted by Rotarians in each town/city and they found that the home hosting was second to none.  Friendly but very competitive curling is part of the tour and every game is hard fought with trophies and bragging rights on the line.  Besides great curling, team members attended Rotary meetings, civic banquets and visited local castles, museums, whisky distilleries and tourist attractions.
They played 19 games in 13 different ice rinks ranging from 8 sheets in a shopping mall, arenas shared with ice hockey and skating, a converted potato storage shed, a curling rink contained within a hotel and a barn transformed into a curling club called Greenacres.
During the tour, competitors were piped on to the ice before every game and the team was introduced to the Scottish tradition of “stacking the brooms" where at the conclusion of four ends,  the teams stand their brooms up using an elastic or glove and each player takes a shot of whisky - any excuse for an extra drink!  Although this surprise tradition caught the Canadian curlers off guard and they lost a few points that day, the team rallied and were victorious over the Scots by a cumulative month-long score of +85 points and brought home the Quaich trophy.
This Rotary Friendship Curling Exchange has been going back and forth across the “pond" for 62 years. Initially, teams from Quebec, eastern Ontario and New York State participated but the tour has now evolved to the present day format of 22 Rotarian curlers from Ontario exchanging with Scotland every two years.  In 2008, the first female Rotarian joined the Scottish Tour Team and the 2018 Canadian team was comprised of 16 males and 8 females.  Over the years, the Tour has achieved legendary status as a test of skill and stamina and has been called the “trip of a lifetime”.  It has been responsible for building strong friendships with teammates and with Rotary hosts. It really is a magical combination of Rotary and Curling fellowship as the team met participants in Scotland who had toured in Canada up to 30 years ago and still remain in touch with some of their hosts.
While participants are responsible for their own personal expenses, Rotary clubs in Scotland and Canada have supported the Tour financially and have made the commitment to supply hosts and curlers for future exchanges. In return for that support, each of the participating clubs has the right to send a curler on a subsequent tour.
In addition to all the other benefits of Rotary, Brenda, Bill and Dale are sincerely grateful for this experience that their membership in Rotary has provided.  For information on how your Club can become a participant in the Rotary Curling Friendship tour, contact Brenda at curlerbrenda@gmail.com
Captain Jim, Murray, Alicia & Brenda
Scottish Tradition of ‘Stacking the Brooms’ after four ends of play