With the pandemic and lockdown shuttering local curling clubs, the Moylan family took matters into their own hands to play their most beloved sport.
They moved to Drag Lake this summer with a plan to build an outdoor, regulation-sized curling rink – with stones, rings, and all. With shovelling, flooding and food colouring, they recently achieved their goal and can now curl right behind their home.
“We’re a big curling family. That’s all we do in the winter,” Susannah Moylan said. “We wanted to put it in so we could play, as well as have our friends and family over. When they come over, we can have fun, have a little bonspiel of our own.”
Curling has otherwise been hard to come by this winter. They moved from Ajax, where their local rink permanently closed. The Haliburton Curling Club ran for about a month before the lockdown halted play. Both the Minden and Wilberforce curling clubs have opted not to open this year.
“We wanted to do it,” Moylan said. “Because of the pandemic, a lot more people are building their own rinks.”
Building and maintaining the rink is a battle against the elements. Barry Moylan, Susannah’s partner, said you must keep up with it.
“Don’t let (snow) build up, because once it’s over five inches, it’s a lot of work,” he said. “There’s been slush – and everything else on there comes through, it changes the levels.”
The couple decided to move to Haliburton as a retirement place, after visiting for a family reunion. They bought land a couple of years ago and recently finished a build.
“It’s small, but it’s big enough,” Susannah Moylan said. “We’re adjusting well to Haliburton. We really like it – I think we made a great decision to come here.”
The family said it has been nice to have a rink with curling clubs shut down. But they said they are eager to get back to the indoor rinks, with Haliburton’s due to reopen Feb. 17.
“Can’t wait,” Susannah Moylan said. “I’m really happy they decided to open because a lot of other curling clubs didn’t.”