On first meeting, Jan Cawardine comes across as gentle, unassuming, friendly and affable. She is all of these things. But don’t let the sweet face fool you.
On the ice, Cawardine is a force. A curler based out of the Leaside Curling Club, she has dominated curling matches across the city, the province, and the country. While some curlers come to the sport as early as 7 years old, Cawardine didn’t take up curling until she was 36. Born in Kingston to two competitive curling parents, she was a strong athlete in track and field, basketball, volleyball, swimming, water polo, and the sport she credits for giving her the skill of balance for curling – gymnastics.
Working busy hours as a stockbroker, Cawardine started a financial consulting business when her two girls were born. But as any mother can relate, time away from kids often gives a much-needed break. So, when she discovered her local, the Royal Canadian Curling Club, was offering free babysitting, Cawardine jumped at the opportunity. She fell in love with the game immediately. “I got bitten right away. It was the strategy that got me,” she says. Cawardine would, and still does, analyze the intricacies and tactics of other successful curlers, and then plan and project multiple shots ahead. But being strategically minded is only one element of Cawardine’s game. In order to succeed, a good curler must be dedicated, competitive, dedicated to improving, hardworking, able to withstand the pressure of the game, and in good shape.
Cawardine is all that. She is focused, taking no prisoners, and works hard on her physical conditioning with a combination of cardio and weights training.
The results of all of her work are astounding.
Around the city, Cawardine’s name appears on a myriad of bonspiel trophies (too many to remember). She won the Toronto Curling Association (TCA) Day Women’s Championship in 2009 and 2019, the TCA’s Business Women’s Championship in 2013, the Ontario Seniors Championships in 2007, the Ontario mixed Seniors Championships in 2011, and the Masters Women Provincial Championship in both 2018 and 2019. Her team was a finalist last year in Saskatoon at the 2019 Canadian Masters Women Championship.
Cawardine’s success earned her an induction into the Leaside Sports Hall of Fame in 2018, a recognition for which she is so pleased and grateful.
Judy MacLellan, Wilma Morrison, and Sandra Thain are all members of Cawardine’s team heading to Saint John. MacLellan describes Cawardine as “a skillful strategist. She is very analytical, knows the game of curling really well and is able to get the best out of every member of her team. Jan is passionate about curling and has a terrific perspective on sport. When she is on the ice she is highly competitive and always wants to win. Off the ice, win or lose, she appreciates the game most for what it brings to all of us; the friendships and social connections are at the forefront.”
Like their mother, Cawardine’s two daughters were not interested in curling as kids. Recently, though, the two have taken up the sport at the same rink where their mother started her curling career, the Royal Canadian Curling Club.