Roof raised: Fort Frances Curling Club pays off roof repair loan

By Allan Bradbury
Staff Writer

When a leaky roof became too much to handle in 2019, the Fort Frances Curling club was in dire straits. However, just a few years after receiving a loan from Curling Canada, the club has paid it off.

In May of 2019 it was announced that the local curling club would receive the interest-free loan necessary to improve its facilities. Raymond Roy is vice-president of the curling club and at the time the funding was received Roy said it was greatly needed.

“After many years with a leaking roof, this assistance will allow us to repair our roof this summer and finally remove all the water collection buckets,” Roy said at the time the funding was announced.

The roof had been developing many leaks and while the club had some money saved up for repairs, when the issue got bad they didn’t have enough to make the needed repairs.

“There was always little mounds of ice on the surface,” Roy said in a recent interview. “It was really bad in our club rooms, there was water literally pouring in in a rain storm. So we had buckets all over the upstairs club room to collect all the water… It was getting pretty dire.”

“We had set aside some money over a couple of years to offset some of the costs,” Roy said. “But the situation in the club was getting so bad and deteriorated so rapidly that we couldn’t wait any more.”

The club looked at its options to borrow money for the repairs but interest rates were preventatively high, Roy says.

The Fort Frances Curling Club has paid off a loan to replace the facility’s roof. Donations have poured in from individuals, organizations and businesses. – Facebook photo

“Our club is operating on a shoestring budget here,” Roy said. “So an opportunity came along that Curling Canada would loan clubs money interest free. So we took the interest-free loan of $25,000 and got the repairs done. Then we asked our membership and the public to please donate to fix our roof.”

The fundraising campaign was started amidst the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, so Roy says it was started with a pretty soft approach, given many people were out of work at the time.

“We just kind of threw it out there, and asked people if they could please help offset the cost,” Roy said. “And just recently we got to $25,000 with a donation.”

The funding was announced in May of 2019 with a term of six years. This means the loan is being paid off in less than half that time. Roy says there are a lot of people to thank for donations over the course of the campaign but he didn’t want to single anyone out, but a lot of the funds came from smaller donations from members.

The club was able to issue tax receipts through Anyone wishing to make further donations to the club and receive a receipt can still do so until Dec. 31.

“We had some pretty substantial donations from individual club members, I’m certainly not going to name individuals, and then we got some organizations and businesses that gave us substantial money. We mostly relied on $100 donations from members. I can’t name them because I’ll miss somebody and that’s not fair. The International Falls Curling Club was very generous and gave us a bunch of money as they curl out of our club.”

In a statement on its website, the Fort Frances Curling Club reads:

”To each and every one who contributed to the campaign, thank you. Donations came in from our curlers, past curlers, local businesses, and organizations from Fort Frances and surrounding communities. When we began this campaign in the spring of 2019, no one could have predicted what the next two years would bring. Through it all, our community remained positive. Like a good curling game, we called the shot, threw the rock, and swept it to the button. Good curling!”