The Scarborough News reported on the official opening of the Tam Heather Curling Club on Military Trail in February 1973. But the roots of the club’s name go back to 1862.

By Diana Ranken

In February, Centennial News wrote about the Tam Heather Curling & Tennis Club’s celebration of its 50th anniversary this year. The history of the club’s name is actually an interesting one that goes much further back than 50 years. It derives its name from the Heather club, which was established way back in 1862, and Tam O’Shanter, which was destroyed by fire in 1971.

The Heather club was formed by a group of men meeting at the Burton Tavern, and the first site of this club was at Kennedy and Finch. This was one of the first covered rinks in Ontario. In 1913, the Heather arena and hall were constructed on Sheppard Ave. between Midland and Brimley. That facility was demolished in 1952 to make way for a plaza.

In 1957, members of the Heather club grouped together again and curled as a rental league at the Tam O’Shanter Golf and Country Club complex. This was the first time the curlers had the luxury of artificial ice.

On October 3, 1971, Tam O’Shanter was completely destroyed by fire and the curlers moved to surrounding clubs. Once again the Heather group came together and believed they could establish a new facility for the members of the Heather and Tam O’Shanter clubs.

The belief, commitment and efforts of this group in 1972, headed by Bob Walker and those of the 432 Charter Members who risked putting their own money into it, are the reasons the Tam Heather club on Military Trail was built. It opened officially in February 1973. As of 1994, the city has owned the facility but staff and members at Tam are responsible for the conduct of the activities within.

In 1974, the Scarboro Bluffs Tennis Club was looking for a home for its members and found it at Tam. Curling  members approved the addition of tennis and 36 guarantors put up $3,000 each. Debentures were also sold to gain additional revenue to build five courts with an air-filled dome covering three courts during the winter. In light of the demand for indoor tennis facilities in Scarborough, council approved the plans. Today Tam Heather has all courts covered during the winter.

From the original 432 Charter Members, the club now provides activity for over 1,100 members.

Thanks to the commitment of the past and present executives and club members who worked hard, had fun, and had faith that Tam Heather would succeed, the club is now celebrating its 50th anniversary.