By the late 1890's, inter-town competitions had begun to thrive and in 1897, the Northern International Curling Association (N.I.C.A.) was formed. The association included curling clubs from Sudbury, North Bay, Mattawa, Sault Ste. Marie Michigan, Sault Ste. Marie Ontario, the District of Parry Sound, the District of Nipissing, the District of Eastern Algoma, and the State of Michigan. The first president of the organization was Daniel Baikie.
The Ontario Curling Association would not permit curling clubs from these regions to compete with Southern Ontario clubs due to travel expenses and distance. Therefore, N.I.C.A. provided Northern Ontario and Michigan with a forum in which to hold competitions between themselves.
In February of 1898, the first N.I.C.A. bonspiel took place in Sudbury. The championship cup was provided by the Dominion Brewing Company and was known as the Diamond Jubilee Cup. The winner of the competition was North Bay.
The 1920's saw the N.I.C.A. renamed the Northern Ontario Curling Association. Membership was then limited to Northern Ontario clubs and the American clubs were dropped.