The 'Worlds' tournament was first held in 1922, an open competition for Scottish curlers held at the Haymarket Ice Rink. That's the winning team in the very first competition, above. L-R: Willie Jackson, Robert Jackson, Laurence Jackson and Tom Murray. The trophy was presented by the Edinburgh Ice Rink Ltd. The ice rink at Haymarket had opened for business in 1912. Robin Copland has written about curling in Edinburgh, and the 'Worlds', here.
This is a scene from the penultimate end of the 1954 'Worlds' final at Haymarket, between teams skipped by James Sanderson and James Sellar.
In 1961, when Charles Liechti came to take part in the tournament, it was still an open competition at the Haymarket rink, and attracted a large entry.
The tournament was renamed the 'Edinburgh International Curling Championship' in 1975 so that the International Curling Federation could have exclusive use of the name 'World Curling Championship' for the Air Canada Silver Broom, the men's world curling championship at the time. The Edinburgh competition became an invitational tournament, inviting the semifinalists of the same year's World Championship, and moved venues to the Murrayfield Curling Rink.
here (screenshot above).
Here is the team which won the Bear in 1985. L-R: David Aitken, Robin Halliday, Peter Smith, Harry Reilly.
For three years in the early 1990s, the Edinburgh International competition was for mixed teams. Here is Colin Hamilton with Vicky Gumley (far right), Trevor Dodds and Edith Butler with the 'Worlds' trophy in 1992.
And here, in the same year, are (L-R) Iain Stewart, Julie Hepburn, Warwick Smith and Fiona Bayne with the Bern Bear.
In 2008 the Edinburgh International became a new World Curling Tour - Europe event. The winners (above) were (L-R) Andy Kapp (skip), Holger Hohne (2nd), Andy Lang (3rd) and Andreas Kempf (lead).
The runners-up received the Bear. L-R Conny Llungqvist, Goran Carlsson (skip), Morgan Bergkvist and Magnus Ekdahl.
The Edinburgh International trophy and the Bern Bear now reside, somewhat forlornly, in the trophy cabinets at the Murrayfield Curling Rink. They were last played for in 2016, when the Edinburgh International trophy (the 'Worlds' trophy) was won by Karel Kubeska and his Czech team of Jiri Candra, Martin Juric and Lukas Klima. The Bern Bear was won by Bruce Mouat, with Bobbie Lammie, Gregor Cannon, Derrick Sloan and Alasdair Schreiber.
I would like to believe that one day both trophies will be played for again in a significant competition. I'm sure that Charles Liechti would echo that sentiment.
My thanks go to Andrew Kerr for the idea for this article by telling me about his father winning the Bern Bear. He also provided the 1966 photo, and that of the individual replica. Robin Copland's article on the history of curling in Edinburgh and of the Worlds' competition (here) provided much background. Thanks go to him, and to Lindsay Scotland, for encouragement. Other photos are from various Scottish Curler magazines, or from my own archive. The competition had its own blog from 2009-2011, and the posts from these years are still online here.