II-89481 | Presbyterian College students at dinner, Montreal, QC, 1889

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Presbyterian College students at dinner, Montreal, QC, 1889
Wm. Notman & Son
1889, 19th century
Silver salts on glass - Gelatin dry plate process
20 x 25 cm
Purchase from Associated Screen News Ltd.
© McCord Museum
Keywords:  informal (1120) , Photograph (77678) , portrait (53878)
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Keys to History

Having concluded that it wasn't enough to simply denounce bad habits in order to control them, church leaders began taking an interest in sports and recreation activities. They understood that if churches were to offer such activities, it would be easier to influence the behaviour - and consciences - of their charges. Church leaders therefore began espousing "muscular Christianity," an ideology that advocated disciplined participation in sports while adhering to strict rules and moral standards. Taking up the slogan "sound of body and mind," the churches also preached principles such as team spirit, perseverance, honesty and self-discipline, not just in their Sunday morning sermons but also through their recreation programs.

  • What

    The relatively relaxed mood of these Presbyterian College students at mealtime illustrates the new attitudes of some religious groups, which sought to attract adherents by adopting a less strict approach to social exchanges and leisure.

  • Where

    This room at the College is rather bare and austere, a style well suited to the recruitment of new clergy.

  • When

    Beginning in the early 19th century, Protestant churches began intervening in order to shape various aspects of the lives of the urban population.

  • Who

    To reach out to young people and give them a solid religious education, the Church began organizing recreation activities such as picnics and sports tournaments, as well as soccer, baseball and track and field clubs.