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Chapter 8 Images

For more than 100 years, boys and girls have learned and continue to learn about their bodies through sport. Soccer has surpassed hockey and baseball in popularity for boys in Canada and presented large-scale opportunities for girls to play recreational and competitive community sports. Courtesy of Kevin Wamsley (p. 180)

A stark contrast to bathing attire of the twenty-first century, the early twentieth-century clothing was extremely heavy when wet and more conducive to bathing than swimming. Exposing ankles, legs, and arms in public was relatively new for women when this photo was taken. In Europe, a decade later, female Olympians were fined for appearing in similar costumes on a public beach. Bathing suit on the shores of Lake Winnipeg. Library and Archives Canada/Canadian National Railway Company fonds/PA-181073 (p. 190)

Although the chain and sprockets are encased by caging, one can imagine the challenge of cycling in this long skirt. We cannot overestimate the power of social change embedded in the acts of middle- and upper-middle-class women cycling in public in the towns and cities of Canada. Cyclist Mabel Williams, Ottawa, 1898. Library and Archives Canada/Credit: James Ballantyne/James Ballantyne fonds/PA-132274 (p. 193)

Doctors and team assistants used plaster to treat head wounds on the football field. Football was an extremely dangerous sport in the early twentieth century. As in the sports of hockey and baseball, the team football uniform was an important part of town boosterism and of distinguishing sides in these increasingly rule-based sports. Ottawa versus Hamilton football, 1910. William James Topley. Library and Archives Canada/PA-009599 (p. 195)

The principles, Luther McCarty versus Arthur Pelkey, promoted by Tommy Burns, Calgary, 1913. One of the most heralded events in Canadian boxing of the early twentieth century, the last photographs of Luther McCarty seem as innocuous as the fight itself, before he fell to the canvas. As evident in the photograph, the scarred faces and previously-broken noses indicate that former boxers, like former world champion Tommy Burns, attempted to make a living from the emerging sports market. Library and Archives Canada/Credit: William J. Oliver/Canadian Intellectual Property Office fonds/C-014060 (p. 196)

In one of the most amazing stories in the history of Canadian sport, we learn how this group of young women began playing basketball together and ended up champions of Canada and champions of the world. It is a fascinating 25-year history, which tells a great early twentieth-century Canadian story and raises issues about gender, femininity, power, and sport and the media. The Edmonton Commercial Graduates Basketball Team, 1922. Courtesy of Don Morrow (p. 199)

Ethel Catherwood, 1928 Olympic High Jump Champion, shown in 1930. This is one of few action photos of one of Canada’s premier high jumpers of the first half of the twentieth century. Journalists usually captured Ethel in a static pose and commented on her beauty. Here we see what a great athlete she was. City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1244, Item 8174 (p. 200)

Munitions workers playing baseball at the John Inglis plant in Toronto, 1941. Contrary to the myth that women were not active in sport until recently, as evident in this batting stance, women’s softball was very popular in the 1920s and 30s. Skill levels were very high, with some women joining the All American Girl’s Professional Baseball League. Library and Archives Canada/WRM 841 1971-271 NPC (p. 203)

As demonstrated in many sports that women now play, including football, the physical limitations of women that were long perpetrated through specific cultural understandings about sport were pure myth. Courtesy of Kevin Wamsley (p. 205)