Horse racing at the old Woodbine racetrack, 1941 banner

Sponsoring: The Business of Sport

The early years of corporate sponsorship

The Canada Packers softball squad, seen here in this team photograph, were the West Toronto Industrial Softball Association Champions for 1939. Canada Packers Inc. (now Maple Leaf Foods, Inc.) was a Toronto-based meat packing and processing company. Companies during this era sponsored and supported employee athletic activities to encourage physical fitness and boost worker morale.

Canada Packers team portrait as West Toronto Industrial Softball League Champions, 1939
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Canada Packers team portrait as West Toronto Industrial Softball League Champions, 1939
Canada Packers fonds
Reference Code: C 262-7-11
Archives of Ontario, I0011902
Junior Women's Section of Beehive Swim. Gus Ryder, in white, is director of the swim, 1937
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Junior Women's Section of Beehive Swim. Gus Ryder, in white, is director of the swim, 1937
St. Lawrence Starch Company fonds 
Reference Code: F 4392-7-1-15
Archives of Ontario, I0011901

Start of the Junior Women’s section at the Bee Hive Swim, Port Credit

St. Lawrence Starch Company’s Bee Hive Golden Corn Syrup was familiar to many Canadian households. The Bee Hive Swim embodied the company’s support for local amateur athletics. Directed by Gus Ryder, the event featured a swim course one mile in length and 120 competitors from swimming clubs across the province, including the Orillia Y, Dolphinets, Mermaids High Park and the Hamilton Aquatic Club.

Promotional booklet for Bee Hive Giant Slalom

On behalf of the Bee Hive Golden Corn Syrup brand, St. Lawrence Starch sponsored many sporting events, including the Bee Hive Giant Slalom, which was one of the first professional ski races. Held for several years during the 1960s, this event’s relatively large purse attracted many former Olympic medallists.

Promotional Booklet for Bee Hive Giant Slalom, held at Georgian Peaks Ski Club, Thornbury, Ontario, 1961
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Promotional Booklet for Bee Hive Giant Slalom, held at Georgian Peaks Ski Club, Thornbury, Ontario, 1961
St. Lawrence Starch Company fonds 
Reference Code: F 4392-7-1-2
Archives of Ontario 
Bee Hive Golden Corn Syrup advertisement featuring figure skater Karen Magnussen, 1987
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Bee Hive Golden Corn Syrup advertisement featuring figure skater Karen Magnussen, 1987
St. Lawrence Starch Company fonds
Reference Code: F 4392-7-1
Archives of Ontario, I0011900

Bee Hive Golden Corn Syrup advertisement featuring Karen Magnussen

Many athletes, including  Karen Magnussen here,  endorsed Bee Hive Golden Corn Syrup, touting its energy boosting abilities and delicious taste. Karen won five Canadian figure skating championships between 1968 and 1973, and a world championship in 1973. She won Canada’s only medal (silver) at the 1972 Winter Olympic Games in Sapporo, Japan.

Mr. Hockey meets his fans

Gordie Howe greets young admirers at the Eaton's store in Shopper’s World plaza, Don Mills. This was one stop on a personal appearance tour by Howe, Eaton’s Sports Advisor, across Canada to assist in the marketing of the company’s Truline brand of sports equipment.

Gordie Howe speaking to children at an Eaton's sporting goods promotion event, 1964
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Gordie Howe speaking to children at an Eaton's sporting goods promotion event, 1964
T. Eaton Company fonds
Reference Code: F 229-308-0-2119
Archives of Ontario, I0011899
Copyright:
  • T. Eaton Company records used with the Permission of Sears Canada Inc.
  • Bee Hive Golden Corn Syrup is a registered trademark owned by ACH Foods Inc. Used with permission.

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