Gymnasts posing on parallel bars, [ca. 1910]

Captivating: Extraordinary Moments

The Boy in Blue

In this drawing rows Ned Hanlan, regarded as the first Canadian athlete to enjoy international fame. In 1880, 100,000 spectators saw Hanlan capture the world championship in single sculls – the first for a Canadian in an individual sporting event.

"Old Father Tyne,” a cartoon about Ned Hanlan, [ca. early 1900s]
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"Old Father Tyne,” a cartoon about Ned Hanlan, [ca. early 1900s]
Archives of Ontario documentary art collection
Reference Code: C 281-0-0-0-4
Archives of Ontario, I0003082
A goal is scored by the Toronto Maple Leafs during playoffs against the Detroit Red Wings, 1942
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A goal is scored by the Toronto Maple Leafs during playoffs against the Detroit Red Wings, 1942
Conn Smythe fonds
Reference Code: F 223-3-2-7-5
Archives of Ontario, I0011892

A comeback for the ages

The Toronto Maple Leafs had advanced to the Stanley Cup finals six times without success since their last victory in 1932. They entered the 1942 finals as the clear favourites but lost the first three games to the Detroit Red Wings. In one of the greatest comebacks in Stanley Cup finals history, Toronto won the next four games and the championship.

Leafs win the Cup again

Looking north on Bay Street, Toronto during the Maple Leafs’ Stanley Cup victory parade. Note the clock tower of Toronto’s Old City Hall in the background.

A Toronto Maple Leafs parade on Bay Street, 1947
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A Toronto Maple Leafs parade on Bay Street, 1947
Conn Smythe fonds
Reference Code: F 223-3-2-10
Archives of Ontario, I0011898
Memo from Conn Smythe directing coaches to prohibit the chewing of gum during the national anthem, December 3, 1952
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Memo from Conn Smythe directing coaches to prohibit the chewing of gum during the national anthem, December 3, 1952
Conn Smythe fonds
Reference Code: F 223-3-1-45 Archives of Ontario

To coaches: no gum chewing

This memo from Maple Leaf Gardens’ President Conn Smythe reflected his military training and service in both World Wars. He often handed down staff directives in order to ensure the smooth operation of the hockey club.

An unprecedented feat

On September 9, 1954, Ontario’s Marilyn Bell fought waves and exhaustion to become the first person to swim across Lake Ontario. In this photograph Toronto Mayor Nathan Philips congratulates Marilyn and her coach, Gus Ryder.

Swimmer Marilyn Bell with her coach Gus Ryder and Toronto Mayor Nathan Philips, 1954
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Swimmer Marilyn Bell with her coach Gus Ryder and Toronto Mayor Nathan Philips, 1954
Richard Holborn fonds
Reference Code: C 221-0-0-30
Archives of Ontario, I0005426
Official Judge’s Score Card for Muhammad Ali – George Chuvalo fight held at Maple Leaf Gardens, Toronto, Ontario, March 29, 1966
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Official Judge’s Score Card for Muhammad Ali – George Chuvalo fight held at Maple Leaf Gardens, Toronto, Ontario, March 29, 1966
Office of the Athletics Commissioner
Professional Boxing Regulatory files
Reference Code: RG 81-2, Accession 34027, TBox 26
Archives of Ontario

Chuvalo stands up against Ali

Here is one of three Official’s Score Cards for Pro Boxing for the March 29, 1966 bout between Canadian George Chuvalo and Muhammad Ali (Cassius Clay) at Maple Leaf Gardens. Ali retained his World Heavyweight Championship, but Chuvalo became the first boxer that the legend failed to knock down in a title fight. This fight provoked significant controversy because of Ali’s outspoken views about the United States’ involvement in the Vietnam War. The bout was sanctioned by the Office of the Athletics Commissioner, which regulated all combat sports in Ontario.

Grey Cup win in Steeltown

The Hamilton Tiger-Cats beat the Saskatchewan Roughriders 13-10 to win the 1972 Grey Cup in front of more than thirty thousand hometown fans. Hamilton football clubs won the Grey Cup in every decade of the 20th century, a feat matched by only one other professional sports franchise, the Montreal Canadiens.

Grey Cup game between Hamilton Tiger Cats and Saskatchewan Roughriders, 1972
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Grey Cup game between Hamilton Tiger Cats and Saskatchewan Roughriders, 1972
Julien LeBourdais fonds
Reference Code: C 193-2, #4826, neg. 14A
Archives of Ontario 
Toronto Blue Jays – Big League Fun at Toronto’s Exhibition Stadium, 1977
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Toronto Blue Jays – Big League Fun at Toronto’s Exhibition Stadium, 1977
Archives of Ontario Poster Collection 
Reference Code: C 233-1-3-2261. AO 6249
Archives of Ontario 

The big league comes to Ontario

On April 7, 1977, 44,649 fans witnessed the birth of a franchise at Exhibition Stadium in Toronto. Shivering through the snow and freezing temperatures, the Toronto Blue Jays won their first game 9-5 over the Chicago White Sox.

Copyright:
  • Gymnastics banner photograph used with permission of the YMCA of Greater Toronto.
  • NHL and the image and word mark Stanley Cup are registered trademarks of the National Hockey League. All NHL logos and marks and NHL team logos and marks depicted herein are the property of the NHL and its teams. © NHL 2003. All rights reserved.
  • All Canadian Football League (CFL) logos and marks and CFL Team logos and marks depicted herein are the property of the CFL and the respective teams. Used with permission. All rights reserved.
  • Toronto Blue Jays poster used with permission of the Toronto Blue Jays Baseball Club. All rights reserved.

In this Exhibit -