This project was made possible - in part or entirely - through the:
Thank you to everyone who contributed to the success of this project, including:
Library and Archives Canada
Canadian Council of Archives
Wolfville Historical Society - especially Heather Watts and John Whidden
Wolfville Schools History and Memorabilia Committee - especially David Sheppard
Acadia University - especially Gail Dinter-Gottlieb, Sara Lochhead, and Dan McNally Acadia University.
Vaughan Memorial Library Acadia University.
Esther Clark Wright Archives
Acadia University. Sport Hall of Fame - especially Eric Cederberg
Acadia University. AITT - especially Robb Lepper
Acadia University. Chorus - especially Dave Buley
Wolfville School - especially Steve Keddy
Town of Wolfville
Nova Scotia Archives and Records Management - especially Darlene Brine
Dalhousie University Archives
Legislative Library, Manitoba
Gaspereau Press - especially Gary Dunfield
Porter's Custom Trophy and Engraving
VideoWorld - New Minas
Wendy G. Robicheau, Project Manager and Deputy University Archivist, Acadia University
Pam Atwell, Collections and Archives Clerk, Acadia University
Patty Williams, Researcher and Writer, Acadia University
Sarah Madore, Student Assistant
Jessica Sloan, Student Assistant
Mary Lou Conrad, Web Design and World Wide Web Technician, Acadia University
Pat Townsend, Consultant/Researcher and University Archivist, Acadia University
Heather Watts, Consultant and Archivist, Wolfville Historical Society
David Sheppard, Consultant and Chair, Wolfville Schools History and Memorabilia Committee
the Library and Archives catalogue for more photographs and artifacts related to Sports in Wolfville from 1870 to 1950.
Purpose of this site. Our website highlights sports in Wolfville between 1870 and 1950, looking at the people of Wolfville enjoyed sports and trace how sport developed from a purely recreational to a competitive activity. Featured are some of the activities, some of the teams, and some of the individuals in Wolfville during this period. While Acadia University was crucial to the development of sport in the town, the Town of Wolfville and Wolfville School were important for the way in which sport developed and grew.
Why these years? There are few records of organized sport in Wolfville before 1870. While there are references to recreation–skating parties, community and church picnics, and events–there are few records of competition between teams within the town or with teams from elsewhere. No known photos of sport exist before 1870 and few photos of sports or sports teams exist before the 1890s. By the 1910s, team photos are found in the Athenaeum, the Acadia University student magazine and by the 1920s, team photos are found in the local newspaper, the Wolfville Acadian. In the earliest team photos, often only the team is identified, (i.e., “Acadia Track Team 1910”) and only some of the identities are known. By the 1920s participants as well as the name of the team are identified on a regular basis. From the 1920s on, the Wolfville Acadian regularly covered sports at Wolfville School, Horton Collegiate, and Acadia University as well in the town. By the 1930s, the Athenaeum had sports columnists and stories about individuals along with reports of games and teams. Our survey of Wolfville and sport finishes in 1950. Mid-century seems like a good place to finish the story of how competitive sport took hold in this area; the idea of competition had developed, women had begun to take their place beside their male colleagues and many Wolfville residents and students made sport a part of their daily lives.
What sports did people in Wolfville play? In the 1870s, cricket and lacrosse were played on an occasional basis, often with a team from the university against the town. Baseball was a favourite, though more as a picnic activity than as an organized competition. By 1883, Acadia was playing one or two rugby games annually against teams from areas outside of Wolfville. At the turn of the century, hockey became an intercollegiate sport, as did basketball and track. Soccer, known then as football, had been played in the 1870s, then, after a break, was resumed in the late 1920s. The schools – Horton Collegiate Academy and Wolfville High School – played many of these sports competitively.
The women of Acadia University and the Acadia Ladies Seminary played tennis from the 1890s on courts that were located on campus and next to the Seminary. By the 1920s, tennis and swimming, always popular with the town and in interclass competition, became a varsity sport for men and women at Acadia. At this time too, ground hockey became was played competitively. Girls at the high school played basketball against other schools. Town women played hockey through the 1920s and played basketball from the 1890s throughout this period. Women’s hockey and basketball teams competed against other women’s teams from nearby towns.
Wolfville’s advantages. Although only a small town, Wolfville is a vibrant town. As the home of Acadia University, the town has benefited from the University’s sports facilities such as a gym, a swimming pool, and playing fields with viewing stands. Although these facilities were built for the university students, and often with money they raised themselves, school students and towns people have been welcome to use the facilities. This allowed all residents to pursue their athletic ambitions in better conditions than normally found in a small town. Wolfville, too, contributed its share of sports facilities. For instance, D.A. Munro built Wolfville’s first ice rink in 1881 for public skating and, beginning in 1885, skating races. Hockey was played in Wolfville’s rinks by town residents and students.
Acadia’s sport teams may well have inspired Wolfville school students to pursue sport and to attend the university. Certainly many of those who were active in sports as adults were graduates of Wolfville School and Acadia University. It may also have encouraged adults to organize leagues for school children to play each other; at various times the churches and youth organizations such as scouts had teams. The University also hosted a number of interscholastic meets for the province’s high schools; the Acadia Relays, a high school track and field competition is but one example. University athletes often played for town teams before and after graduation.
Where Did We Find the Photos and Information? The athletes and teams featured here represent only a small number of those who participated in sport in Wolfville between 1870 and 1950. There are many others that might have been featured, but space limited us to a representative sample of the men and women who put Wolfville on the sports map. Likewise, the photos used here are only a fraction of the sports-related photos held by the Esther Clark Wright Archives at Acadia University, the Wolfville Historical Society and the Wolfville Schools History and Memorabilia Committee.
Let’s join the people of Wolfville as they turn out and cheer their home teams from 1870 to 1950.