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© McCord Museum
Tobogganing on Mount Royal Park slide, Montreal, QC, 1885
Wm. Notman & Son
1885, 19th century
Silver salts on glass - Gelatin dry plate process
20 x 25 cm
Purchase from Associated Screen News Ltd.
© McCord Museum

Keys to History:

This composite photo shows the members of the Club de la Tuque Bleue practising their favourite winter sport on the slopes of Mount Royal.

Opened in 1876, Mount Royal Park was then considered by the English-speaking elite of the "Golden Square Mile" to be the "natural" extension of their neighbourhood, and they had difficulty conceiving that the park should be accessible to everyone. As a result, an imaginary boundary divided Mount Royal into two parts in the 1880s. For winter sports enthusiasts, this division meant that "proper people" tobogganed in the western part, while the youth of the working-class districts went down the slopes on the east side.

However, tobogganing, that "new craze," did not appeal to everyone. In 1885, the bishop of Montreal, Bishop Fabre (1827-1896), warned Catholics against the opportunities for sin associated with this activity, which was practised by both men and women.


For the Amerindians, the toboggan was for a long time an indispensable means of transportation. In the 19th century, it became instead a recreational winter activity.


The Toboggan and Ski Club had its quarters and equipment for more than 60 years on the slopes of Mount Royal, near today's Beaver Lake.


For winter sports enthusiasts, the high point of the winter season from 1883 and 1889 was the winter carnival.


In the country, the toboggan particularly appealed to children. However, in town this activity was mostly practised by young adults.

© Musée McCord Museum