Nova Scotia·Profile

Jamie Baillie's pivotal life moments tied to a south-end Halifax curling rink

In the second profile of a three-part series looking at the lives of the leaders of Nova Scotia's three major political parties, PC Leader Jamie Baillie talks about the role the Halifax Curling Club has played in his life.

From meeting his wife to writing exams there, the Halifax Curling Club has been pivotal to Baillie's life

PC Leader Jamie Baillie recalls writing his exams at the Halifax Curling Club to become a chartered accountant. (CBC)

Editor's note: This is the second profile in a three-part series looking at the lives of the leaders of Nova Scotia's three major political parties. CBC asked each of the party leaders to share a side of themselves outside of the political arena, something very important to them.

The Halifax Curling Club, deep in the south end of Halifax, holds a lot of memories for Jamie Baillie.

It's the club he joined when he first arrived at Dalhousie University, he became its youngest president in the mid-1990s, he wrote his exams to become a chartered accountant on the curling surface in the off season when the ice wasn't there, but most importantly, it's where he first laid eyes on his future wife, Sandra Crowell.

"This is where Sandra was standing," Baillie said, pointing the spot at his feet.

"Right here because she was playing on this sheet and I was two sheets over there when I happened to see her with her team."

He remembers he was playing in a pretty serious match at the time, but she turned out to be a major distraction.

Jamie Baillie says the biggest reason why the Halifax Curling Club is so important to him is because it's where he met his wife, Sandra Crowell. (CBC)

"I thought I knew all the members, particularly the pretty women, but it turns out there was a new member that I hadn't met yet. That's why I made it my mission to make sure I introduced myself to the new member when our game was over," said Baillie, 51. 

"And I am told by Danny, who was skipping the team, that I didn't make a shot after I noticed her."

Soon it was onto their first date and a few years later, they tied the knot. The wedding reception was held at the curling club.

Cold days of writing exams

They've been married now for 22 years and have two daughters, Hannah and Alex.

Another memory is burned into Baillie's brain, but for much different reasons. He points to sheet four — at about the far hog line — where he and 200 other young, chartered accountant students gathered for four days one September to write their exams. 

By the fourth day, things were getting cold because the icemaker had already turned on the ice plant to meet his own schedule. Students were more than keen to wrap things up.

"Now if you turn around and you look, you can see upstairs and that's the bar area. So on the final day as the hours go on and people are giving up, there's a big party waiting for you when you finish," Baillie said.

Jamie Baillie was the president of the Halifax Curling Club in 1995-96. (CBC)

"So you are trying to get every last point that you can while you are watching your colleagues hand in their papers. You can see them all cheering you and toasting and drinking upstairs because they finished their exams. Motivation, but a test of concentration at the same time to get the job done."

Baillie, who grew up curling in Truro, doesn't play as much as he used to, but still admires the team dynamics of the game. 

"It's a lot of fun," he said. "You know, even in my older age, the social side where you still go into the clubhouse after the game is over and the winners buy the losers a drink and sit down and talk about the game — I love that about curling."

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