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Chestermere resident, Marla Forth, inducted into Governor General's Honourary Curling Club of Canada

Marla Forth and her husband celebrated her induction into the Governor General's Honourary Curling Club of Canada with a four-day 'Safari' event in Edmonton hosted by the Club.

Long-time Chestermere resident, Marla Forth, was inducted into the Governor General's Honorary Curling Club of Canada on Sept. 12 and spent several days celebrating in Edmonton with fellow inductees. 

“I am so honoured to be inducted into this prestigious Governor General’s Honourary Curling Club,” Forth said following her induction. “I never dreamed I would be acknowledged in this way for my local efforts involving curling in Chestermere. One of the long time members likened this club to an Order of Canada in Curling. Since everyone who is inducted into this club has such a passion for curling, there is such a feeling of camaraderie amongst everyone.”

During a four-day ‘Safari’ event in Edmonton, Forth and her husband were welcomed with a reception on night one, followed by two days of golfing. The induction ceremony and dinner were held on night two, followed by a special reception at Government House with the Lieutenant Governor of Alberta, Salma Lakhani, on the third night. Finally, a farewell reception sent them off on the fourth night.

The Governor General's Honourary Curling Club recognizes those who have made a significant contribution to curling, not just as curlers, but also as builders and administrators.

The Vice-Regal Curling Club was founded by Lord Dufferin nearly 150 years ago in 1874. He built a covered curling rink so he and his staff could play the "roarin' game", and established the Governor General's Trophy competition that is still played today, according to the club’s website.

At the time only men were allowed to be inducted. The first woman wasn’t inducted until 2008, Forth added.

Currently membership is limited to 140 regular members and 35 emeritus members at any one time. Ten people were inducted this year as people have passed away, necessitating the need for new regular members, Forth explained.

As a member, Forth and her husband are invited to the 150th anniversary held next September in Ottawa where it all began. 

“I am really looking forward to receiving my red jacket and attending future safari’s with this terrific group of people,” Forth said  “This truly is a very memorable moment in my life.” 

Out of nine inductees this year, five are from Alberta, one from Saskatchewan, two from Ontario, and one from the Northwest Territories. 

Forth grew up watching her dad curl in an old quonset that housed one sheet of curling ice in the Alberta hamlet of Hays. It wasn’t until after she graduated from college and moved to Strathmore for work in 1982 that she decided to give curling a try. Little did she know the role curling would play in her life.

Alongside other sports, she began curling at the Strathmore Curling Club that fall before moving to Calgary in 1983, where she joined the Small 5 Curling Club. She curled out of the largest curling arena in the world at the time, Calgary’s Big Four Building. Besides curling, she also took home awards from playing on a  Calgary ladies slow-pitch softball team.

She then joined the Chestermere Curling Association after her growing family moved to that community in 1992.

“I was the talk of the curling club during the 1995-1996 curling season,” Forth recalled. “I was pregnant and curling in the Tuesday Night Ladies League as well as the Thursday Mixed League. I curled Thursday night January 18, and 12 hours later at 8 a.m. in the morning Veronica was born. I was back on the ice the following Tuesday and Thursday. My Tuesday Ladies team ended up winning the Club Championship that season. It was only fitting to have Veronica in my arms for our team picture accepting the trophy at the season’s end.”

Once Forth decided to leave her job to take care of her three kids in 1996, she began her volunteer career. While she was also an active school volunteer, she joined the executive committee of the Chestermere Curling Association as a secretary in 1997. She became president three years later and became junior curling coordinator, and is the casino chairperson to this day.

Aside from championship victories, many achievements, and advocacy for Chestermere’s curling association, she helped her club purchase Lite Rock Junior Curling Stones in 2000 and started Chestermere’s Junior curling program. She still organizes and instructs this program today. 

Forth is currently in her 18th year of curling with the Calgary Ladies Curling Club with an all-Chestermere Ladies team. 

With a crisp coaching certificate in hand, she began offering a popular Refresher Curling Clinic for adults in Chestermere at the beginning of every curling season. She received the Instructor of the Year Award from Southern Alberta Curling Association (SACA) in 2010 and a Curling Promotion Award from SACA in 2012 for starting an Adult Learn to Curl Program in Chestermere. 

She remains an active member of the curling community, teaching and organizing events. She claimed her biggest achievements attributed in a big way to her volunteerism with the Chestermere Curling Club and the Junior Curling Program. 

“The first was when I was nominated and chosen to be the Volunteer of the Year for (what was then) the Town of Chestermere in 2006,” she said. “The second was when I was nominated and chosen to be the cauldron lighter for Chestermere during the 2010 Olympic Torch Relay that went across Canada to Vancouver for the Winter Olympics.”


Masha Scheele

About the Author: Masha Scheele

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