M2004.65.3.1-2 | Ice skates

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Ice skates
1900-1999, 20th century
4.9 x 4.5 x 19.5 cm
Gift of Mrs. Ann Silverstone
© McCord Museum
Keywords:  Skates (3)
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Keys to History

In the early part of the 20th century, public health doctors promoted the building of parks and playgrounds for children as a way of getting them to spend their free time engaged in healthy physical exercise. Very few play areas had been developed, then, however, and children often had to play in the street or the back laneway. Parks tended to be green spaces where families could enjoy a leisurely stroll. Montreal had had commercial ice rinks since 1850, but it was not until 1900 that the City put in the first public rinks, at five squares, in response to requests from young Montrealers. Some organizations, such as the Ladies' Parks and Playgrounds Association, began lobbying the City to build playgrounds specifically for children. Montreal's first park with playground equipment opened in 1913. Beginning in the 1920s, recreational facilities of this kind would be installed throughout the city's various neighbourhoods.

  • What

    With these double-bladed skates, commonly known as cheese cutters, young children could keep their balance more easily when learning to skate.

  • Where

    The world's first covered ice rink opened in Quebec City in 1852.

  • When

    Canada's first artificial ice rinks were built in Vancouver and Victoria in the winter of 1911-12. After the First World War, other major cities across the country also invested in this new technology.

  • Who

    Ice skating as a sport was introduced in Canada by British soldiers in the mid-1800s. It soon became a popular recreational activity for women.