© McCord Museum
Hurdle race on snowshoes, Montreal, QC, 1892
Wm. Notman & Son
1885-1915, 19th century or 20th century
Silver salts on glass - Gelatin dry plate process
20 x 25 cm
Purchase from Associated Screen News Ltd.
© McCord Museum
Keys to History:
According to the prevailing Victorian ideology, physical education was an excellent way to train the mind and ensure that individuals were "sound of body and mind." But not all physical activities were acceptable, especially not those that encouraged disorderly conduct or excited the passions. Most appropriate were sports that required one to put into practice moral precepts such as teamwork, perseverance, discipline and honesty. The overall idea was to instill in participants the ideal of fair play, whereby players accepted and respected specific rules and showed courtesy to other players. This is the context in which several Montreal sporting associations, including the Montreal Lacrosse Club, Montreal Snow Shoe Club and the Montreal Bicycle Club, came together in 1881 to form the Montreal Amateur Athletic Association.
The Montreal Amateur Athletic Association organized sporting events such as snowshoe races for which formal rules were becoming standardized.
Because it is wide and flat, the St. Lawrence River, at Montreal, was often used as a favoured spot for winter sports such as skating, sleigh rides and curling and hockey games.
Regular public sporting events became more common after 1880 in Montreal. They were seen as a good way to promote the ideal of fair play.
Even though more and more people were taking part in amateur sports during this period, the participants were for the most part the most privileged members of society - often called the leisured class.