Halifax’s Mayflower Curling Club has produced champion-quality curlers since its foundation in 1905. Notable among them were teams headed by Colleen Jones and Mark Dacey, both of whom cleaned-up competitions during their primes. But the Mayflower’s significance is not just because of its repute in the world of curling.
In 1912, the sinking of the RMS Titanic marked one of the greatest marine disasters to date. Halifax was drawn into the tragedy when local ships were dispatched to the site of the sinking to recover the remains of the more than 1,500 people who lost their lives in the disaster. Halifax ships were able to recover 513 bodies, over 100 of which had to be buried at sea. The recovered bodies were unloaded at the Halifax Waterfront and transported by horse-drawn hearse to the Mayflower Curling Club, whose ice shed was temporarily converted to a morgue for victims of the sinking.
Only five years later, tragedy struck again as the Halifax explosion devastated a significant part of North End Halifax and the Dartmouth waterfront. Located on Agricola Street, the Mayflower Curling Club was lost in the destruction along with countless other structures.
The mayflower is Nova Scotia’s official emblem, an evergreen flower that blooms early in spring while snow still covers the ground. In Nova Scotia, its pink flowers are some of the first signs of the end of a difficult winter. It has long been a patriotic symbol for Nova Scotia’s people, blooming despite difficult conditions – symbolic of the Nova Scotian impulse to rise through adversity. The Mayflower Curling Club is not only important to curling history in Nova Scotia but also to the history of Halifax, albeit a place marked by tragedy. The club was rebuilt after the Halifax Explosion and remained on Agricola until 1962, when the Mayflower moved to its current location on Monaghan Drive. Like its namesake, the Mayflower Curling Club has risen from difficulty and recovered.