The hidden date for this stamp can be found next to one of the curling broom heads.
"Reluctantly they think upon their homes, / And now in Flecky's barn they lodge their stones; / Then future matches made - wl' muckle sorrow / They all depart, resolved to meet to-morrow." Such if the dedication which the devotees have had for the game; the verse, written more than 160 years ago, reflects the early mood on cessation of play at the coming of darkness. From coast to coast in Canada today, thousands of adherents of the Roaring Game curl with a similar devotion on artificial ice in brilliantly lighted rinks. A recent estimate places the number of Canadian curlers at one half million; players of the fair sex alone are believed to number approximately 100,000 and a current estimate places the number of High School curlers at 40,588. Some 1900 mens' clubs were affiliated with the Canadian Curling Association during the season 1967-68. A researcher of the history of curling can be quickly engulfed in claims and counter-claims concerning the origin of the game. Continental Europe is believed by some to be the source from whence it came, the early Icelandic "Knattleikr" also receives its share of attention as an originating contest. Some writers assert curling was introduced into Scotland from Europe during the reign of James I (1394-1437). Concrete evidence does exist that the game was in vogue in Scotland during the very early years of 16th Century; it remains, however, that in 1890 the historian of Scotland's Royal Caledonia Curling Club, with affiliated groups in twelve countries looked upon as the Mother Club, wrote: "There are no facts by which we can determine precisely the antiquity of the games". The curlers of the town of Kilsyth in Stirlingshire, Scotland, who banded together in 1716, are regarded as having the world's oldest continuing club. North America first, the Royal Montreal Curling Club, was organized in 1807; it has been established, however, that Scottish settlers curled as early as 1805 on the Mill Dam Pond at Beauport, Quebec. With a club dating from 1820, Kingston claims this distinction of being the second oldest in Canada and the first in Ontario. It was in 1882 that a report from the Organizations Ontario Branch referred to a large migration of players to the new Province of Manitoba and the North West Territories, a founding group which grew in Western Canada until, in 1925, A Winnipeg rink Journeyed to Eastern Canada for a series of games. Their visit led to establishement of the "Brier", one of Canada's annual sporting classics. The popularity of the game in Canada, and its impact on youth, apart from those of mature years, is clearly demonstrated by the hosts of young people in many parts of the country, who indulge in Jam-Can curling. As a do-it-yourself project, a large jam tin is filled with cement in which a suitably bent spike is inserted for a handle; the result; an acceptable inexpensive substitute with which the game can be played. Regulation curling stones used at the official competition level must not be greater in circumference than 36 inches or exceed 44 pounds in weight. The production of curling brooms, employed to sweep the ice surface in advance of the moving stone, reflects the mount of curling played in Canada today; a recent estimate placed annual sales at 800,000.