Wilderness on the Doorstep: Vancouver's Mountain Playground

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1984-039_5213 7744 7652 VAG-96.3 978.74.33a-b 1986-007_6311 1985-055_5664e 1990-053_10103 1985-055_5681
 
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Hiking boots
1900-1999, 20th century
Leather
Gift of Miss Fraser
978.74.33a-b
This artefact belongs to : © North Vancouver Museum and Archives
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Keys to History

Photographs prove that women were among the North Shore's earliest hikers and mountaineers, although the dress codes of the early 20th century didn't exactly aid mobility. While hobnailed boots such as these were practical and necessary, heavy ankle-length skirts, high-buttoned blouses and jaunty hats must have had the opposite effect. The following report by trailblazing female mountaineer Phyllis Munday (1894-1990) explains how women got around the clothing problem: "You were never seen on the street with a bloomer or a pair of pants or anything like that. It just wasn't done in those days. So we'd wear our skirts on the streetcar from home and [on] the ferry and streetcar in North Van and then up to the trail and cache our skirts under a log. That meant, of course, that you always had to come back the same way to get your skirt, because otherwise you couldn't go home."

  • What

    This antique pair of women's lace-up leather hiking boots has 48 eyelets and hobnailed soles.

  • Where

    These boots were manufactured by the MacFarlane Shoe Co. in Montreal, Quebec.

  • When

    The boots date from the 1920s, when hiking trails weren't as developed or well maintained as today.

  • Who

    The boots encased the entire calf to protect the wearer from low brush.