Nova Scotia Archives

Halifax and Its People / 1749-1999

Sports and the Great Outdoors

In October 1850, student John B. Young wrote to his "Dear Papa", George R. Young, telling him about a big sporting event he had recently attended at the Garrison, including 150-yard, 250-yard, and half-mile races. A highlight was climbing the greased pole: "several tried it but none suceeded till a man of war sailor threw of his jacket ascended the pole and carried of the prize [.] this in a manner which would make any person laugh [.] by means of his hand he scraped of the grease and conferred it [on] his trousers...." The prize was $2.00 and a leg of mutton.

Haligonians either participated in or observed a wide array of summer and winter sports offered locally: baseball, quoits, football, tennis, cricket, archery, boxing, swimming, rowing, sailing, yacht racing, horse racing, polo, fishing, hunting, skating, hockey, curling, coasting and snowshoeing — to enumerate only the more obvious. Although most present-day sports were introduced in the first half of the nineteenth century — often by the British forces stationed here — wage-earners worked long hours and had few holidays; only a small proportion of the population was able to participate. At the time of Confederation, sporting events were informal and games were played between amateurs. However, in the last quarter of the nineteenth century, many athletic clubs were formed locally, and sporting events came to be organized in a more professional manner.

Regardless of the season, sporting activities in Halifax have traditionally focused on the water, a fact observed by The Official Bicentenary Guide Book 1949: "The City has a great tradition in the field of sport. But it was in the aquatic centre of North America that Halifax won international fame." The first harbour regatta was held under the auspices of Admiral Lake in 1826. Yachting, rowing, schooner racing and swimming all developed into highly competitive activities. Skating was especially popular as a winter sport for everyone, favourite locations being Chocolate Lake, the North West Arm, the Dartmouth Lakes, and Bedford Basin when sufficiently cold enough to be safe. Curling was also played on ponds near Tower Road and on the Dartmouth Lakes.

Results 1 to 14 of 14 from your search: Sports and the Great Outdoors

"The noted 'Pryor Crew', Aug. 1871, training for great Aquatic Carnival, Halifax Harbour, 31 Aug. - 1 Sep. 1871, trained by Jerry Holland", August 1871

Date: August 1871

Reference: Nova Scotia Archives  Photo Drawer - Sports Rowing - Pryor Crew, 1871

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"Polo Team at Fort Needham", Halifax, ca. 1885

Date: ca. 1885

Photographer: Notman Studio

Reference: Notman Studio Nova Scotia Archives  no. 42939

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Red Cap Snowshoe Club, Halifax, ca. 1890

Date: ca. 1890

Photographer: Notman Studio

Reference: Notman Studio Nova Scotia Archives  no. 66169

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"Rocking Stone", Spryfield, ca. 1895

Date: ca. 1895

Photographer: Notman Studio

Reference: Notman Studio Nova Scotia Archives  no. 13040

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Curling on the Dartmouth Lakes, ca. 1897

Date: ca. 1897

Photographer: W.L. Bishop

Reference: W.L. Bishop Nova Scotia Archives 1983-240 no. 12

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"Camp, Head of Baker's Lake", ca. 1900

Date: ca. 1900

Reference: W.C. Dunlop Nova Scotia Archives 1992-398 no. 12

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"Frances and Mater [Mother] at Sue's place", ca. 1900

Date: ca. 1900

Reference: W.C. Dunlop Nova Scotia Archives 1992-398 no. 15

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Woman fly-fishing, ca. 1900

Date: ca. 1900

Reference: W.C. Dunlop Nova Scotia Archives 1992-398 no. 23

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"H.M. Wylde's yacht" sailing in Halifax Harbour, ca. 1900

Date: ca. 1900

Photographer: Notman Studio

Reference: Notman Studio Nova Scotia Archives  no. 6679

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South End Lawn Tennis Club, Halifax, ca. 1900

Date: ca. 1900

Reference: Nova Scotia Archives  Photo Drawer - Sports - Tennis, ca. 1900

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"N.S.R.A. [Nova Scotia Rifle Association] Meeting, Bedford, Aug. 1911"

Date: August 1911

Photographer: Notman Studio

Reference: Notman Studio Nova Scotia Archives  no. 20109

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Boxing Match on the Wanderers' Grounds, Halifax, 192-?

Date: 1920s

Reference: Nova Scotia Hospital Nova Scotia Archives 1995-8 no. 59

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"'Winter' Anglican Church – Peggy's Cove, N.S."[Ice Hockey Game], 195-

Date: 1950s

Photographer: Robert Norwood

Reference: Robert Norwood Nova Scotia Archives 1987-480 no. 51

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Polar Bear Swim on New Year's Day, Halifax, between 1986 and 1988

Date: between 1986 and 1988

Photographer: Wamboldt-Waterfield

Reference: Bill Maden Nova Scotia Archives  MG 1 vol. 3578 no. 42

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