The Greater Victoria Horseshoe Pitching Association, a club that tends to fly under the radar but has been active for 78 years, is dedicating a memorial shelter to past members this weekend.
Horseshoe club volunteers have spent the past few years organizing and building the shelter at the Saanich-based horseshoe pitch after a healthy donation from a deceased member.
“We’ve always envisioned a covered outside area. When the donation came in we thought we’d dedicate the space to those who built the club,” said club president Cheryl Cliche.
The club was established in 1935, and after a somewhat itinerant existence, has been in its current location since 1970 on land leased from Saanich at Glanford Park. It has seen hundreds of members pitch horseshoes and socialize over the years, and plans to honour about 100 members with small plaques on the shelter. The club will now host an annual memorial tournament, Cliche said.
Anyone with family connections to the horseshoe club is encouraged to attend the dedication ceremony. “It used to be an old boys sport, a bit of a mysterious place. Some of the wives have never been to the horseshoe club,” Cliche remarked.
The club is still looking to establish a more detailed history of itself and is seeking information on past members. Anyone with a deceased relative who used to pitch horseshoes in Victoria is asked to contact the club.
“Even if they don’t play, they might be aware of a mom or dad or uncle or brother who were players,” said club volunteer Sam Quinn. “If they spent time here, we want to be aware of that. “We want to acknowledge those who have come and gone and draw attention to the club. A lot of people are unaware its been there so long.”
Quinn admits she drove past the horseshoe pitch for years without it registering in her mind. Three years ago she saw members pitching horseshoes at a demo in the parking lot outsider the Country Grocer in Royal Oak.
“How could I not know it was there? It’s an absolutely amazing facility, one of the nicest if not the nicest pit in B.C.,” Quinn said. “It’s even lit up at night and has a lovely clubhouse.
“It’s just amazing the spectrum of people we have there,” she continued. “I play in a ladies league with someone who is 88 years old. I hope I can do something like that when I’m in my 80s.”
The the memorial pavilion event is May 11, 11 a.m to 5 p.m., with the ribbon cutting at 1 p.m., 620 Kenneth St. See gvhpa.org.