You never know
who you will see
at the Bunny
(hey, isn't that...?).
THE BUNNY BONSPIEL
The Bunny Bonspiel is a southern Alberta Easter tradition! Over 70 years of great bonspieling! Plan on joining us on March 29 - April 1 2018, to curl or to watch. Saturday night's dance will be to the music of Suit Jacket Society.
History of the Bunny Bonspiel
Pass residents were curling on natural ice surfaces in the early 1900s, and the Crow's Nest Curling Association was hosting regional bonspiels as far back as the 1910s. But unpredictable weather made it difficult to hold regular bonspiels, particularly in the spring.
In 1946 a used ice plant was purchased from Trail, BC and was repaired and installed in Bellevue by volunteers organized by the manager of the Mohawk Mine. The ice plant served both a skating rink and three sheets of curling ice. Artificial ice made it possible to have a bonspiel at Easter, and the first one was held in 1947. In 1952 the 'Easter Bunny Bonspiel' hosted 64 rinks - 28 from the Pass, 11 from Calgary and 25 from other areas, including some of the biggest names in Alberta curling.
In 1956 Blairmore installed an artificial ice plant, and in 1957 took over hosting the Bunny from the ageing Bellevue arena. Originally an all-men’s bonspiel, a ladies’ event was later added.
Although Coleman obtained its own artificial ice in 1959, the Bunny Bonspiel required use of both the curling and hockey ice surfaces, and Coleman’s curling arena was in Flumerfelt Park while its hockey arena was downtown. The Bunny Bonspiel did move to the new sports complex in Coleman in 1997 with the closure of the Blairmore curling arena.
The historic competitiveness between Pass communities, in sports and other areas, is reflected in this story:
The Martini rink of Blairmore was drawn against the Roughead rink of Coleman in the 1957 Bunny spiel. There was a prize for the best-dressed rink and apparently one for the worst-dressed. The Roughead rink decided to wear kilts. They made their entrance piped in by Louis Moore, followed by team mascot Billy Roughead. The Martini rink, hearing of the Roughead plan, hastily devised Italian curling attire, and made their entrance led by accordionist Louis Derenzo. Needless to say, it provided great entertainment for the large number of spectators. The Roughead rink won the best-dressed prize. The Martini rink was awarded the prize for the worst-dressed.
from Crowsnest And Its People, Millennium Edition (2000), p.426
The community of Crowsnest Pass takes pride in hosting the Bunny Bonspiel since 1947. It is one of the longest-running curling bonspiels in Alberta!