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 no.: 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 no.: 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 no.: Notman Studio Nova Scotia Archives  no. 66169

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"Rocking Stone", Spryfield, ca. 1895
Date: ca. 1895
Photographer: Notman Studio
Reference no.: 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 no.: W.L. Bishop Nova Scotia Archives accession no. 1983-240 no. 12

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"Camp, Head of Baker's Lake", ca. 1900
Date: ca. 1900
Reference no.: W.C. Dunlop Nova Scotia Archives accession no. 1992-398 no. 12

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"Frances and Mater [Mother] at Sue's place", ca. 1900
Date: ca. 1900
Reference no.: W.C. Dunlop Nova Scotia Archives accession no. 1992-398 no. 15

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Woman fly-fishing, ca. 1900
Date: ca. 1900
Reference no.: W.C. Dunlop Nova Scotia Archives accession no. 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 no.: Notman Studio Nova Scotia Archives  no. 6679

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South End Lawn Tennis Club, Halifax, ca. 1900
Date: ca. 1900
Reference no.: 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 no.: Notman Studio Nova Scotia Archives  no. 20109

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Boxing Match on the Wanderers' Grounds, Halifax, 192-?
Date: 1920s
Reference no.: Nova Scotia Hospital Nova Scotia Archives accession no. 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 no.: Robert Norwood Nova Scotia Archives accession no. 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 no.: Bill Maden Nova Scotia Archives  MG 1 vol. 3578 no. 42

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