II-64974 | Canada that we love and prize, composite of composites, 1882

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Composite photograph
Canada that we love and prize, composite of composites, 1882
Wm. Notman & Son
1882, 19th century
Silver salts on glass - Gelatin dry plate process
17 x 12 cm
Purchase from Associated Screen News Ltd.
© McCord Museum
Keywords:  Art (2774) , composite (312) , Photograph (77678)
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Keys to History

Sound of body and mind

The road to economic and social modernization in Canada was a bumpy one. The passage rocked the old moral order and set off a debate on the human condition and the need for leisure and relaxation, as well as on how best to maintain social harmony. The authoritarian and hierarchical vision of society based on subjection to the existing social order gave way to the concepts of human autonomy and individual moral responsibility. One result was a new emphasis on education.

Attitudes to the human body were also changing. No longer was the body considered to be a source of evil, but rather as the receptacle of the soul, a means to educate people. The body and the soul, up until then thought to be two separate entities, were now perceived to be each necessary to the moral betterment of the individual. This explains, in part, why sports and recreational activities became more socially acceptable in the late 19th century.

  • What

    Sports and physical activities were seen as a valuable means to educate young people and to teach them socially accepted behaviour.

  • Where

    In nations all over the world, including Canada, the link between sports and national identity and pride was being forged.

  • When

    A sports and physical education craze emerged in the late 19th century.

  • Who

    Canadian amateur sporting associations avidly promoted the concept of the link between national identity and physical activity.