Pastimes of Yesteryear, 1867-1896
Opening of Montreal Caledonia Curling Club, Montreal, QC, 1869
1869, 19th century
Gift of The Montreal Thistle Curling Club
© McCord Museum
Keywords: Art (2774) , composite (312) , Print (10661)
Keys to History
A whole range of new sports
The biggest promoters of sports were amateur sports associations. Not exactly new, such associations had been springing up since the early 1800s, although some of the early ones had not lasted long. After 1870, and the changes brought on by industrialization, new sports clubs were opening their doors. These clubs often helped conceive and write the rules of their games. The systematizing of the rules for each sport - in part the result of the new organization of personal time and an increasingly urban society - was one way to clamp down on the disorderly and sometimes violent side of traditional popular entertainments. Defining clear rules also helped those playing the sport to improve their performance.
There were no public sports facilities in Montreal until the end of the 19th century. Before that, only private clubs such as the Montreal Caledonia Curling Club had the means to provide the necessary facilities and equipment.
The increase in urbanization, particularly the emergence of big cities, meant there was less open space for activities such as curling. In Montreal however, the St. Lawrence river remained a popular alternative.
In 1869, when the Caledonia Curling Club opened its doors, there were already a few private indoor skating rinks in Canada.
Since indoor curling clubs were private, only those who could afford to pay the membership fee could become members.