What's in the Archives

Collecting Toronto: Sporting Toronto


The official hockey programme from Arena Gardens, showing men playing hockey

Larry Becker was a fan, as his membership in the Hockey Hall of Fame Founders' Society and attendance at numerous sporting events confirm. Like other Toronto fans, Becker was particularly interested in ice hockey, but he also showed interest in a wide range of amateur and professional sports, only some of which are represented here.

A picture of women playing ice hockey in long skirts

When Becker applied his collector's eye to Toronto sports, he acquired some magnificent items. Hockey fans will admire the last programme for a Toronto Maple Leafs' game played at the old Arena Gardens on Mutual Street against the Montreal Maroons in 1930; the first programme issued by the new Maple Leaf Garden in November 1931, promoting both hockey and boxing on the cover; a 1932 coaster featuring Charlie Conacher as depicted by cartoonist Lou Skuce for O'Keefe's Brewing Company; a jig-saw puzzle of the 1933 Stanley-Cup-winning Maple Leafs, along with its original box; and a tray of artifacts celebrating the Leafs' 1961-62 Stanley Cup victory.

Meanwhile, baseball fans will admire a 1946 programme that shows the minor league baseball Maple Leafs playing at Maple Leaf Stadium near the Western Gap , which was demolished in 1968; the first programme, for the first game played by the brand new, major league Toronto Blue Jays in the Grapefruit League of 1977; and a tray of artifacts celebrating the Toronto Blue Jays' first World Series Championship in 1992.

A poster signed by such prominent Torontonians as land developer Home Smith shows early golfing conditions at the Humber Valley Golf Club in 1921. An 1869 rowing club badge depicts a strange craft that used to skim across Toronto Bay. An 1880s carte-de-visite celebrates Toronto, and Canada's, most famous late-Victorian athlete, World Champion rower, Ned Hanlan. An early 20th century photograph shows the Toronto Canoe Club, which was one of many boathouses that used to line Toronto's waterfront. Two 1929 programmes document the early history of amateur and professional football in the city. And a 1939 programme celebrates the Sport of Kings - the running of the King's Plate horse race attended by King George VI and Queen Elizabeth at the old Woodbine Racetrack on Queen Street East.