Bill Duncan was born in Scotland and moved to Sudbury with his family at the age of six. Duncan played for the Sudbury Wolves in 1914 when the team won the Gordon Cup, and for Hamilton in 1918 when the Tigers won the Allen Cup. He later became involved in the sport of curling. Duncan was instrumental in leading the construction of the Sudbury Granite Club, which officially opened its doors in 1949. The Granite Club existed for 18 years before being amalgamated with the Idylwylde Golf & Country Club. Duncan served as chair of the Sudbury Parks Commission. He was a member of the Masonic Nickel Lodge – Tuscan Chapter, Mavar Preceptory, Rameses Temple of Toronto, Sudbury Shrine Club, and life member of the Sudbury Lions Club. Duncan died Jan. 7, 1973 at the age of 79. He was inducted into the House of Kin Sudbury Sports Hall of Fame in 2008.
From the House of Kin Sports Hall of Fame website
Thanks to Bill Duncan, the modern era of curling in Sudbury began on April 3, 1945.
At an executive meeting of the Sudbury Curling Club, Bill made a proposal to club members about purchasing the rink from its shareholders and installing an artificial ice-plant . The executive decided to offer the rink for $25,000, subject to the agreement of its shareholders.
Less than a year later, a committee was appointed to sell shares for the modernization of the Sudbury Curling Club, which was to be ready for the 1946-47 season. However, within two months, the plan to install artificial ice was deemed unfeasible.
As a result, a new facility was to be built. It was to be called the Sudbury Granite Club.
On May 17, 1946, more than 70 proposed members of the new club held a meeting at the Nickel Range Hotel to see sketches for the rink and make an application for a charter.
Bill was named chair of the committee and 8 directors were appointed to make the Sudbury Granite Club a reality.
Sudbury City Council agreed to sell the club a 120 x 210-foot lot on the corner of Riverside Drive and Regent Street for $3,000 provided it was not needed by the Sudbury High School Board for a new school.
Over the next two years, preparations were finalized and on June 11, 1948, construction of the Sudbury Granite Club began. Largely constructed by volunteers, at a cost of $140,000, the “house that Bill Duncan built” officially opened its doors on Jan. 9, 1949 at 333 Riverside Drive.
The opening of the Sudbury Granite Club instantly changed the local sport of curling. Along with the Copper Cliff and Sudbury clubs, Sudbury was now home to three curling clubs.
Although the Sudbury Granite Club existed for only 18 years (1949-67), it helped lay the groundwork for the future popularization of organized curling in Sudbury.
- As a juvenile, he played his first senior hockey game in 1910.
- In 1914, he was a member of the Sudbury Wolves team that captured the Gordon Cup.
- In 1918, played for the Hamilton Tigers that captured the Allan Cup.
Notes of Interest
- At the age of 6, Bill moved to Sudbury with his family.
- He was chairman of the Sudbury Parks Commission for a number of years.
- Before becoming involved with curling, Bill had established his sporting credentials in Sudbury by playing hockey for the local senior club and the Allan Cup winning Hamilton Tigers in 1914.
- In the spring of 1967, shareholders of the Idylwylde Golf and Country Club voted overwhelmingly in favour of amalgamation with the existing Sudbury Granite Club membership, provided that the addition of a curling rink did not incur any financial liability to the golf club and operated as a separate entity. In January, 1968, the Idylwylde was home to Sudbury’s newest curling facility.
- Bill was a member of the Masonic Nickel Lodge – Tuscan Chapter, the Mavar Preceptory, the Rameses Temple of Toronto and the Sudbury Shrine Club. He was also a life member of the Sudbury Lions Club.