games men cycling

Competing: Sports of the Games

Let the Games begin!

The arrival of athletes and fans for the TORONTO 2015 Pan Am / Parapan Am Games marks a new chapter in Ontario’s Sporting Past. The sports that make up the Games have a long history in Ontario - in some cases going back more than a century or even millennia.

TORONTO 2015 Pan Am / Parapan Am Games Legacy Logo

TORONTO 2015 Pan Am / Parapan Am Games Legacy Logo
Picton Collegiate girls’ callisthenics class, [ca. 1910]
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Renfrew County track meet, May 18, 1968
Bill Montaigne fonds
Reference Code: C 239-3-0-1586
Archives of Ontario, I0051992

Off to the finish line

Track and Field sports have tested running, jumping, and throwing skills for millennia. Although the Ancient Olympic Games in Greece provided the first documented instance of organized Track and Field events, the rise of recordkeeping and improved time measurement techniques over the past century has added a new dimension to the sport.

The joy of balance

The origins of modern gymnastics date back to the late 1700s and early 1800s with the work of German educators, who advocated for physical activity as part of the school day. As this photograph shows, both the YWCA and YMCA have played prominent roles in introducing the thrill of gymnastics to children in Ontario.

Picton Collegiate girls’ callisthenics class, [ca. 1910]
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Adult and child, Toronto, [ca. 1960s]
Young Women’s Christian Association of Metropolitan Toronto fonds
Reference Code: F 794-6-0-12
Archives of Ontario, I0009371
Picton Collegiate girls’ callisthenics class, [ca. 1910]
Click to see a larger image (316K)
Argonaut Rugby Team - Varsity Stadium, Toronto, 1926
Andrew Merrilees collection
Reference Code: F 1125-2-0-0-114
Archives of Ontario, I0030423

The 1926 Argos

The TORONTO 2015 Pan Am / Parapan Am Games includes two forms of rugby – rugby sevens and wheelchair rugby. Rugby developed in England during the 19th century as a form of football, and Toronto established its own squad in 1873 –the oldest existing professional sports team in North America that still has its original name.

Eight-man rowing team

Originally used solely as a means of transportation, rowing evolved into a competitive sport in England during the 18th century. Boat racing first appeared in Canada during the early 19th century, and Canadian rowers have gained international acclaim for their success in the sport.

Picton Collegiate girls’ callisthenics class, [ca. 1910]
Click to see a larger image (381K)
An aerial view of the Argonauts Rowing Club Junior eight-man boat, [ca. 1925]
John Boyd fonds
Reference Code: C 7-3-19777
Archives of Ontario, I0003678
Picton Collegiate girls’ callisthenics class, [ca. 1910]
Click to see a larger image (316K)
Yachting at the National Yacht Club, Toronto, Ont., [ca. 1940s]
Herbert Nott fonds
Reference Code: C 109 18-4-132 H
Archives of Ontario, I0008809

Hiking out to starboard

Two yachters lean out on the starboard (right) side to balance the force of the wind, a technique called ‘hiking out.’ Sailing has long been a form of wind-powered transportation, but became a competitive sport in the mid-19th century. The TORONTO 2015 Pan Am Games include ten sailing events, with sailboats plying Toronto Harbour as they have for more than a century.

Springboard launch

From swimming to kayaking, water polo to wakeboarding, a number of sports at the TORONTO 2015 Pan Am / Parapan Am Games are played in water. Competitive diving emerged in the 1880s as “plunging competitions,” growing out of the act of diving in the water at the beginning of swim races.

Picton Collegiate girls’ callisthenics class, [ca. 1910]
Click to see a larger image (381K)
Woman diving, Toronto, [ca. 1950-1970]
Young Women’s Christian Association of Metropolitan Toronto fonds
Reference Code: F 794-6-0-12
Archives of Ontario, I0009378
Picton Collegiate girls’ callisthenics class, [ca. 1910]
Click to see a larger image (316K)
Ontario vs PEI, Women’s Basketball, Canada Games, Saskatoon, August 16, 1989
Julien LeBourdais fonds
Reference Code: C 193-1-0-53
Archives of Ontario, I0051989

Jump shot!

Dr. James Naismith--born in Almonte, Canada West (now Ontario)--invented basketball in 1891 as a YMCA instructor in Springfield, Massachusetts. Naismith wanted to develop a team game that could be played indoors during the cold winter months. Since then, the sport has become popular across the globe.

Going in for the kill

Inspired by Dr. Naismith’s invention of basketball, William G. Morgan developed volleyball in 1895, while also working as a YMCA instructor in Massachusetts. Morgan created the sport as a less intense alternative to basketball for the YMCA’s older members.
Canada was the first country outside the United States to adopt volleyball. This photo depicts Canadian troops playing it at a First World War military base in England. The TORONTO 2015 Pan Am / Parapan Am Games feature volleyball, beach volleyball, and sitting volleyball.

Picton Collegiate girls’ callisthenics class, [ca. 1910]
Click to see a larger image (381K)
Soldiers playing volleyball, [ca. 1914-1918]
Young Men's Christian Association fonds
Reference Code: F 796-1-0-1-2880
Archives of Ontario, I0009232
Target shooter Laszlo Decsi, 1978
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Target shooter Laszlo Decsi, 1978
Ron Truman fonds
Reference Code: F 4625-1-0-23
Archives of Ontario, I0052068

Target shooter Laszlo Decsi

Pictured here is Canadian Paralympian Laszlo Decsi, who won silver and gold medals for shooting in the 1980 and 1992 Summer Paralympics.

Sports for athletes with disabilities became more common in the 1940s and 1950s as a way to help rehabilitate veterans and civilians who had been injured during the war. The first Paralympic Games were held in 1960, and the Parapan Am Games were established in 1999 as a qualifying event for the Paralympics. With 1500 athletes competing in 15 sports, the TORONTO 2015 Parapan Am Games is the largest to date.

Copyright:
  • Velodrome photograph courtesy of TORONTO 2015.
  • Gymnastics and diving photographs used with permission of YWCA Toronto.
  • Soccer match and volleyball photographs used with permission of the YMCA of Greater Toronto.

In this Exhibit -