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Lecture # 3 Why Montreal? Required reading: Alan Metcalfe, “Organized Sport and Social Stratification in Montreal: 1840-1901”, in Richard Gruneau and John Albinson (Eds.), Canadian Sport Sociological Perspectives (Don Mills: Addison Wesley, 1976), pp. 77-101. Lecture outline:

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Lecture # 3

Why Montreal?

Required reading: Alan Metcalfe, “Organized Sport and Social

Stratification in Montreal: 1840-1901”, in Richard Gruneau

and John Albinson (Eds.), Canadian Sport Sociological Perspectives

(Don Mills: Addison Wesley, 1976), pp. 77-101.

lecture outline
Lecture outline:
  • The importance of Montreal
  • Who were those guys?
  • Why just guys?
  • Why Montreal?
  • The National Policy and Canadian sports
the contribution of montreal
The contribution of Montreal

‘In five creative decades from 1840 to 1890, energetic Montrealers—or rather a fairly small, energetic group of Montrealers—gave us and the world the organized team games of lacrosse and ice hockey; they were involved in the beginnings of both Canadian and American football; the idea of a winter carnival, with snowshoeing, tobogganing, figure and speed skating was theirs; they pioneered what were to become international curling bonspiels, as well as national rifle matches and international rifle teams; they established both the first multi-purpose athletic and social club in Canada and the first national amateur sports union.

‘Not only did Montrealers build a complex sport culture in their own city, but they exported it with missionary zeal. They took their enthusiasms, their games, their rules, their organization to Ontario and from there to the rest of Canada.’

--Wise and Fisher, Canada’s Sporting Heroes.


Montreal Olympic Club (1844)

Montreal Lacrosse Club (1856)

Montreal Bicycle Association (1878)


Canadian Wheelmen’s Association (1882)

Canadian Amateur Athletic Association (1884)

Canadian Rugby Union (1884)

Amateur Hockey Association of Canada (1886)

Amateur Skating Association of Canada (1888)

Canadian Amateur Bowling Association (n.d.)

Canadian Cricket Association (1892)

Canadian Aquatic Polo Association (1893)

+Tuque Bleue Toboggan Club (1884)

+Montreal Hockey Club (1884)

+Montreal Base Ball Club (1886-88)

+Montreal Cricket Club (1890)

+Montreal Lawn Tennis Club (1890)

+Montreal Skating Club (1890)

Source: Don Morrow, “The Montreal Amateur Athletic Association 1881-1906”, paper presented to the 4th Canadian Symposium on the History of Sport and Physical Education, Vancouver, June 25, (1979; and A Sporting Evolution: The Montreal Amateur Athletic Association 1881-1981 (Montreal: MAAA, 1981).

The Establishment of National Sports

Governing Bodies in Great Britain,

Canada and the United States

Source: Robert Glassford and Gerald Redmond, “Physical Education and Sport in Modern Times”, E.F.Zeigler (ed.),

History of Physical Education and Sport (Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1979), pp.138-9.

who were those guys
Who were those guys?

The predominant position of the British, white collar middle class, first as participants and always as organizers, is striking. There is no evidence to suggest that the working classes were ever successful in organizing and developing teams which had any degree of permanence…. It was the upper middle class who acted as the stimulus to the growth and development of sport….

--Alan Metcalfe, ‘Organized Sport and Social Stratification in Montreal’

the impact of gender relations
The impact of gender relations
  • The ‘making of sports’ occurred because upper- and middle-class women were pushed out of economic, political and social power and pressured to confine their creative energies to the domestic sphere, while working-class girls and women were pushed into the lowest, most menial of jobs
why montreal
Why Montreal?
  • Demographic strength
  • Economic power
  • Political power within Canada
  • Geopolitical location within the British Empire
  • Driving force behind the National Policy: railroads, tariffs (to protect and stimulate industrialization), and opening up the west, with immigration, to create the third ‘commercial empire of the St. Lawrence’ (Creighton)
the national policy and canadian sports
The National Policy and Canadian sports
  • How did the developing National Policy economy advantage the Montrealers who led in the making of Canadian sports?
  • To what extent can the making of Canadian sports be considered an extension of the National Policy?
  • What did Canadian sports contribute to the National Policy?
  • What was distinctly ‘Canadian’ about the Canadian sports?
  • To what extent did people in other regions embrace these sports?