With the London Olympics well underway, it is fitting to remember the past Canadian accomplishments at the Games and to get acquainted with Canada’s relationship with sports throughout history.
For those interested in a visual history of Canada’s participation at the Olympic Games, Library and Archives Canada’s (LAC) Canadian Olympians database and web pages consist of more than 10,000 images of athletes from the 1904 St. Louis Olympics in the United States to the 2004 Olympics in Athens, Greece.
Some of the early important events in Canada’s Olympic history documented at LAC.
- The first winner of an Olympic gold medal as member of a Canadian athletic club, Étienne Desmarteau, of the Montreal Amateur Athletic Association, in 1904. The same club would also produce the first double gold medal winner, swimmer George Hodgson*, at the 1912 Olympics and the first two Stanley Cup champions in 1893 and 1894. The records of the Montreal Amateur Athletic Association are held by LAC.
- The creation and performance of the first Canadian Olympic team in 1908 through files found in the Jack Davies fonds.
- The two gold medals of Percy Williams and the achievements of the first Canadian women athletes Ethel Catherwood, Fanny Rosenfeld, Myrtle Cook, Ethel Smith and Jean Thomson at the 1928 Olympic Games.
- The Winnipeg Falcons, the first gold medal winner in hockey, at the 1920 Olympic Games in Antwerp, Belgium. LAC holds photographs and films of the activities and of the players at the Games taken by Konrad Johannesson, a member of the team.
*For more information on George Hodgson and other athletes, visit Sporting Lives: Images of Canadian Athletes (archived site).
Please remember that not all of our material is available online; however, it is possible to order archival material through our online Request for Retrieval of Documents Form, or by telephone at 613-996-5115 or 1-866-578-7777 (toll-free).
For more photographs from past Olympics, visit our Images of summer sports and leisure activities Flickr set.
Enjoy the London Games!
Questions or comments? We would love to hear from you!