Dave and Halga Phillips of Red Deer show off their collection of pins in their home. They have never missed an opportunity to trade pins at the Brier since 1984.

Dave and Halga Phillips of Red Deer show off their collection of pins in their home. They have never missed an opportunity to trade pins at the Brier since 1984.

Forget buttons, these curlers are all about the pins

Dave and Halga Phillips of Red Deer have been collecting bonspiel pins for over 30 years. Their basement walls are covered with frames heavy with thousands of shining, tiny pins. More of the metal emblems from curling

Dave and Halga Phillips of Red Deer have been collecting bonspiel pins for over 30 years.

Their basement walls are covered with frames heavy with thousands of shining, tiny pins. More of the metal emblems from curling championships over the past hundred years sit on Dave’s desk, ready to be scanned and documented for his files, and in boxes, carefully wrapped in towels, on the floor.

“We’re creeping up on 10,000 pins in our collection,” said Dave, 75, a retired military field engineer.

“It’s not a big collection by any means but it’s something fun to do, keeps us involved in the curling world.”

“And it’s something we can do together,” added Halga, 74.

The couple were avid curlers when they were younger. Dave’s first time throwing rocks was as a young teenager in his hometown of Truro, N.S.

Halga’s came later when they were living in Valcartier, Que., in the early 1970s and she attended so many of Dave’s games, she decided it was time to glide out onto the rink herself.

“It was a great way to pick up French fast, too … I went on to be on the team that won the Quebec bonspiel one year in Quebec City,” she said.

The long-standing tradition of pin collecting and pin trading at bonspiels was picked up when Dave was stationed in Germany from 1977 to 1981.

“When you went curling against anyone in Europe, you always took a curling pin from your club and exchanged it with your opposition, shook hands and started your game. So the next thing you know, we were collecting them,” Dave said.

They belonged to the Rhine Valley Curling Club during those years and made up a new trader pin every year, something they’d never come across before.

They really starting pin collecting in 1984 when they returned to Canada.

“We attended the Brier in Victoria that year and I took 250 pins from my curling club in Chilliwack and traded them all.”

They haven’t missed a Brier, the annual Canadian men’s curling championship, since that year and have been to 26 Scotties Tournament of Hearts, the women’s counterpart, as well.

Next month, they will both be volunteering in Saint John, N.B., for the World Women’s Curling Championship and in Kamloops for the Brier.

Today, to continue adding to his collection, Dave takes about 800 of the pins he doesn’t want to various curling events throughout the year to trade them with other “pinheads.”

“I take the whole works, about 34 pounds of them in a suitcase. … I don’t sell them. I just trade pin for pin,” Dave said. “Most of the time I give them away actually, because a lot of the time people will tell me they have all these pins at home and they just give them to me. I sort them, take the ones I need and mail off others to traders.”

His collections stay at home during these trips but he hopes one day to show them off to the public.

“For me, it’s an activity that keeps my memory very active as I get older,” Dave said.

“You meet so many people pin trading, too, and we’re able to stay in touch with the curling world,” added Halga.

“It’s really like a reunion every time,” Dave said. “It’s a good geography lesson, too, because you can find out where each pin is from.”

Dave’s special pins are those in his Quebec International Bonspiel collection, made by Burkes in the early years, he said.

“They’re just very attractive. As well as my Strathcona Cup ones; the first one in that set is from 1909.”

The couple are not sure what will become of their collection down the road, as their sons and grandchildren are not overly interested in taking it on.

“Maybe it will end up on the walls of a curling hall or sports museum somewhere,” Dave said.

rfrancoeur@bprda.wpengine.com

Just Posted

Patrons practice on a putting green as the Whitestone Bridge looms in the distance at Trump Golf Links at Ferry Point in the Bronx borough of New York on Tuesday, May 4, 2021. Former President Donald Trump has a rich history of fighting back when he’s down and making others pay, and that’s exactly how he intends to deal with New York City over its plans to fire his company from running the city golf course. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Dump Trump? Kicking him off NYC golf course may not be easy

Trump Organization has been reeling after the Capitol riots

A photo illustration made December 14, 2012 in Montreal shows a computer in chains. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Irish health system says it’s targeted in ransomware attack

Health care systems have been a target before

A woman wearing a mask talks on her phone near an exhibition depicting a rover in Mars in Beijing on Friday, May 14, 2021. China says its Mars probe and accompanying rover are to land on the red planet sometime between early Saturday morning and Wednesday Beijing time. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)
China Mars rover to land between Saturday and Wednesday

Only the United States has successfully landed a spacecraft on Mars

Smoke rises following Israeli airstrikes on a building in Gaza City, Thursday, May 13, 2021. Weary Palestinians are somberly marking the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, as Hamas and Israel traded more rockets and airstrikes and Jewish-Arab violence raged across Israel. (AP Photo/Hatem Moussa)
Palestinians flee as Israeli artillery pounds northern Gaza

Israel called up 9,000 reservists as fighting intensifies

Bo’s Bar and Grill owner Brennen Wowk said the hospitality industry is looking for more clarity from the province around what conditions must be met to allow for restaurants reopening. (Advocate file photo)
Frustated restaurant owners want to know government’s reopening plan

Restaurant owners feel they are in lockdown limbo

Team Canada’s head coach Troy Ryan talks with players before the start of the of the Rivalry Series at the Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre in Victoria, B.C., on Monday, February 3, 2020. Ryan of Spryfield, N.S., has been named head coach of Canada’s women’s hockey team for the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Troy Ryan to coach Canadian women’s hockey team in 2022 Winter Olympics

Ryan was Canada’s assistant coach from 2016 to 2019

FILE- In this April 19, 2021, file photo, people wearing masks as a precaution against the coronavirus wait to test for COVID-19 at a hospital in Hyderabad, India. Misinformation about the coronavirus is surging in India as the death toll from COVID-19 rises. Fueled by anguish, distrust and political polarization, the claims are further compounding India’s crisis. (AP Photo/Mahesh Kumar A, File)
Misinformation surges amid India’s COVID-19 calamity

Distrust of Western vaccines and health care also driving misinformation

FILE - In this Friday March 6, 2020, file photo, Britain’s Prince Harry visits the Silverstone Circuit, in Towcester, England. In an episode of the “Armchair Expert” podcast broadcast Thursday, May 13, 2021, Prince Harry compared his royal experience to being on “The Truman Show” and “living in a zoo.” (Peter Nicholls/Pool Photo via AP, File)
Prince Harry thought about quitting royal life in his 20s

Feared his family would have to deal with the same spotlight that was on his late mother

Opinion
Mental health: Gossiping, backbiting and forming factions is unhealthy

We all know of dysfunctional organizations, which can be as troublesome as… Continue reading

Family practice physician Christina Tuomi, D.O., (right) gets Homer's first dose of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine from Emergency Department nurse Steve Hughes (left) on Thursday, Dec. 17, 2020 at South Peninsula Hospital in Homer, Alaska. Tuomi has been the hospital's medical lead throughout the pandemic. (Photo courtesy Derotha Ferraro/South Peninsula Hospital)
Alberta physicians: Vaccines are our path forward

As the AMA representatives for Alberta’s family physicians, we were immensely relieved… Continue reading

Vancouver Canucks' Nils Hoglander, right, is checked by Calgary Flames goalie Jacob Markstrom during third-period NHL hockey action in Calgary, Thursday, May 13, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Lindholm, Tkachuk lead Calgary Flames in 4-1 win over Vancouver Canucks

Lindholm, Tkachuk lead Calgary Flames in 4-1 win over Vancouver Canucks

Chicago Bulls guard Zach LaVine, right, drives to the basket against Toronto Raptors center Khem Birch, left, and guard Jalen Harris during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Chicago, Thursday, May 13, 2021. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
LaVine, Markkanen lead Bulls past Raptors, 114-102

LaVine, Markkanen lead Bulls past Raptors, 114-102

NFL schedules get off to strong starts with Week 1 twinbills

NFL schedules get off to strong starts with Week 1 twinbills

Most Read