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The Struggle for Canadian Sport

The Struggle for Canadian Sport

Copyright Date: 1996
Pages: 323
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  • Book Info
    The Struggle for Canadian Sport
    Book Description:

    The Struggle for Canadian Sportadds to our understanding of the material and social conditions under which people created and elaborated sports and the contested ideological terrain on which sports were played and interpreted.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-8934-3
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-2)
  4. [Illustrations]
    (pp. None)
  5. Introduction
    (pp. 3-11)

    Once the preserve of upper-class British males, sports are now played and watched at some point by virtually everyone. They have become by far the most popular of the many forms of physical culture practised in Western societies. Ambitious parents teach them to their children before they can walk. In 1992, a national study found that 9.6 million Canadians over the age of 15 had competed in sports during the previous 12 months.¹ Most participants derive great pleasure from their efforts. In the east end of Toronto, where I grew up, the adults relished playing as much as their kids....

  6. 1 The State of Play
    (pp. 12-43)

    The term ‘sport’ is used today in both broad and historically limited senses. In the first case, it refers to any form of competitive physical activity, without regard to place, period, rules, or meaning. Medieval jousting, Mayan ball games, Asian martial arts, and the World Cup of soccer are thus all considered ‘sport.’ But most scholars today prefer a more precise usage. They reject the naturalization of ‘sport’ as an unchanging, transhistorical, and universal cultural form performed and understood essentially the same way by all people in all societies. They argue instead that ‘sports’ – as a plurality – can...

  7. 2 ‘The Making of Men’
    (pp. 44-93)

    Humans have organized sports for excitement, friendship, profit, and prestige, and loyalties of place and class. But in the years immediately following the Great War, it was the contribution that sports could make to the purposeful education of boys and men that mattered most to the middle-class patriarchs of the Amateur Athletic Union of Canada (AAU). Thomas Boyd of Winnipeg made that clear by his ardent recital of McCarty’s plea for ‘rational recreation,’ quoted above, at the close of his presidential address in 1919. Ever since creation of the federation in 1884, the amateur leaders had tried to harness the...

  8. 3 ‘Girls’ Sports Run by Girls’
    (pp. 94-145)

    The First World War seemed to herald a bright future for women. The senseless slaughter at the front, the ignominious botch-ups of the high command, the scandalous profiteering of wartime suppliers, and the divisive dominion election of 1917 all appeared to undermine traditional authority, which everywhere was male. The unstinting contributions of female nurses, munitions and agricultural workers, and volunteers to the war effort and the successful female-led prohibition and suffrage campaigns suggested to many that the doors to women’s full participation in society could no longer be kept shut. It was not only feminists such as Nellie McClung and...

  9. 4 Workers’ Sport, Workers’ Culture
    (pp. 146-183)

    Ever since the mid-1870s, when rower Ned Hanlan brought back the first of his many international prizes, Toronto’s Union Station had been the site of athletic farewells and celebrations, as friends and relatives, fellow athletes, admirers, hangers-on, and sportswriters flocked to wish their heroes good luck, bask in their glory, and catch first-hand accounts of great triumphs. But the athletic procession that began at the station on Saturday, 24 November 1934, was somewhat out of the ordinary. Instead of fans and dignitaries flocking to greet triumphant athletes, more than one hundred uniformed athletes joined thousands of other followers to cheer...

  10. 5 Brand-Name Hockey
    (pp. 184-231)

    On 22 November 1917, in the midst of a dominion election and bitter debates about conscription, five sports entrepreneurs met in Montreal’s Windsor Hotel to launch a new venture. Ostensibly, it was the annual meeting of the eight-year-old National Hockey Association (NHA), but in the absence of Toronto owner Ed Livingstone they created a new organization, the National Hockey League (NHL), to exclude him. They wanted to increase their profits from hockey. ‘Livingstone was always arguing,’ Tommy Gorman, representing the Ottawa club, told Elmer Ferguson of theMontreal Herald. ‘Now we can get on with the business of making money.’¹...

  11. 6 Capturing the State
    (pp. 232-261)

    In 1936, the dominion government contributed $10,000 towards the costs of sending Canadian athletes to the Olympic Games in Germany, and the minister of pensions and national health, Charles ‘Chubby’ Power attended a swirl of parties and events in Berlin on Canada’s behalf. The donation evoked the bitter condemnation of the religious, university, labour, and veterans’ leaders and organizations that opposed the Nazi Olympics and ‘the despicable glorification of fascism in sport.’ Prime Minister Mackenzie King tried to wash his hands of the whole affair, telling the House of Commons: ‘I think it is very doubtful that anyone participating in...

  12. 7 Conclusion: The Triumph of Capitalist Sport
    (pp. 262-270)

    It has become commonplace to attribute a broad identity of purpose and meaning to sports. Participants and commentators alike refer to a ‘community of sport’ within which intentions and values are essentially the same. But few observers would have made that assumption during the interwar period. Each of the organizations examined in this study was rocked by internal conflict, often over basic principles, and they often locked horns with each other. The hegemony that the amateurs enjoyed in the early 1920s was never complete. The NHL challenged them for the top athletes, fans, sponsors, and the largess and leverage of...

  13. Notes
    (pp. 271-311)
  14. Illustration Credits
    (pp. 312-312)
  15. Index
    (pp. 313-323)