A newspaper article with a picture showing two girls dancing

Fort William, Ont, Saturday, June 27, 1914

Image: "A Picturesque Drill: A good example of the kind of drilling and folk dancing which the girls will learn when they have access to their own supervised playgrounds.

Monday Will See First Trial of Supervised Playgrounds:

With favourable weather the dream of Fort William citizens, who have worked so hard to place their city on the map with 342 other progressive cities of this continent in establishing supervised playgrounds, will have come true. Monday at two o'clock p.m. has been set for the opening date. While no brass band or grand processions will be out to announce the new day yet the shouting of happy children, enjoying their activities and young men and women competing in the hundred and one various activities, driving off excessive energy and bubbling over with enthusiasm will be sufficient evidence that Fort William has made one more forward step in contributing to the physical, mental, social and moral development of the young citizens who will soon be ready to take the place of those who now hold the reins of power and thus guide her ship of state in channels that mean development and progress.

It is a well known fact that Mayor Young is the first to be instrumental in starting the playgrounds here and can be well called the father of the movement. Four years ago he fitted out and equipped at his own expense the first playground opened here.

To Mrs. S.G. Cole great credit is due for presenting the playground idea, and great interest in the movement amongst Fort William woman organizations.

Not only have individual citizens given of their time and interest to place supervised playgrounds here but the school and parks board, school principals, newspapers, west Algoma council, women's Canadian club, the churches, C.Y.M.A., and Y.M.C.A. and many other organized institutions.

Activities for All:

To be sure there will be sand boxes, baby swings and slides for the smaller children, but the needs of the boys and girls and older men and women will also be well looked after.

Athletic clubs that are now organized will be given special periods for their games. Quoits and boundary ball are provided for the men.

An opportunity will be given for every boy and girl to compete on some kind of a team.

Benches are placed in the shady places where mothers can bring their ... 

[Photo] A Close Decision: Organized games being played on a supervised playground. Boys' side will be finding lots of sport for the boys to enjoy during the next three months."


a continuation of the previous article

[continued from previous image]

"... sewing, have a good social time together and watch the kiddies playing in the sand.

Every ground is equipped with the latest improved playground apparatus for all ages. Each ground has Swings, giant strides, teeters, see-saws, baby swings, sand boxes, basketball courts, slides, volleyball courts, baseball field and athletic track.

Specifically trained directors will teach:

GAMES: Playground baseball, basketball, dodgeball, longball, football, handball, lacrosse, volleyball, captainball, quoits, tennis, caddy.

GYMNASTICS: Tumbling, flying rings, horizontal bar, pyramids.

FOLK DANCING: Swedish ox dance, Irish reel, Norwegian mountain dance, Maypole dance, barn dance, ace of diamonds, shoemakers' dance, story drills.

ATHLETICS: Relay races, obstacle races, dashes, rope climb, broad jump, high jump, shot put, pole vault.

SMALL CHILDREN'S PLAYS: Story telling, circle games, sewing, singing games, raffia, sand box play.

INDUSTRIAL ACTIVITIES: Manual training, kite making, miniature house building.

Special events will include: Playground excursions, playfest, athletic efficiency test, inter-playground competition, boy scout activities.

Administration. Each ground will have one lady director and one gentleman director who shall have entire supervision of all activities...

Ogden: Miss Gorman, D. Delamater.

Central: Mrs Boyes, G. Tills.

Franklin: Miss Gemmell, W.H. Gray.

Collegiate: Miss Hallet, J.H. Garner.

St. Martin's: Miss Kehoe, F. Stevenson.

Miss Wilson will assist the supervisor, F. Stevenson in the office and on the playground.

Since 1906 supervised playgrounds have made rapid strides in the United States and Canada. Chicago now leads the world, having the best system, costing over $10,000,000. Of this ex-President Roosevelt said: "It is the greatest civic achievement the world has ever seen."

Welfare work has proven itself more important than warfare. In 1913 in America, $5,700,223.81 was spent for running expenses, little more than half what it cost to build the last dreadnought. 6,318 workers were employed. Seventy new cities were established and in 15 cities streets were set aside for play.

Under the auspices of the playground commission a radiopticon entertainment will be held at the Y.M.C.A. rooms at eight o'clock tonight (Saturday). This is free and the public, young and adults are invited, both ladies and gentlemen. The pictures have  been secured from the playground association of New York, giving typical illustrations of various activities carried out on the different playgrounds on this continent."

Title: "Monday Will See the First Trial of Supervised Playgrounds"
Date: June 27, 1914
Creator: Times Journal
Description: The two images are actually from the same newspaper article. The images were split so they would be viewable online. The article describes the grand opening of the first supervised Fort William Playgrounds. 
Location: Thunder Bay Public Library, Newspaper Collection
Note: Image was altered to fit the width of the webpage.


A typed newspaper article detailing play in the city

"Playgrounds to Open on Tuesday

Supervision will be given its first test in Port Arthur

The supervised playgrounds of Port Arthur will commence operations on Tuesday afternoon, July 3. Directors and directresses have been secured for each playground within the city excepting one which needs a lady and a gentleman. Mr A.T. Bradshaw, secretary of the Y.M.C.A., has been appointed supervisor with Mr S.H. Brennagh as his assistant. Play will be supervised each day from two o'clock until nine and the games include basketball, volleyball, playground baseball, and other children's games which will be taught. As the season progresses scheduled games will be drawn up and the various grounds will compete against each other for the different championships.

Grounds to be used are the north ward, south ward, Prospect Avenue, separate and central schools. All children, boys and girls, are invited to gather at the grounds which may be most convenient irrespective of their school affiliations. Games will be arranged for classes according to weight so that everyone will get an opportunity to play. There will be sand boxes, baby swings and  other provision for the little tots too young to indulge in games."

Title: "Playgrounds to Open on Tuesday"
Date: July 1917
Creator: News Chronicle
Description: The article describes the upcoming (July 3, 1917) grand opening of the first supervised Port Arthur Playgrounds. 
Location: Thunder Bay Public Library, Newspaper Collection


A typed newspaper article announcing supervised play has begun

"Supervised Play Started Yesterday

Good attendance at various grounds yesterday and excellent prospects

Supervised play was introduced to Port Arthur yesterday afternoon and evening with directors in attendance at the North Ward, Prospect avenue, Central, Separate and South Ward school grounds. There was a total attendance of about one thousand. Much of the work was preliminary and organization. In a day or two, when the children who are likely to attend regularly have been attracted, they will be divided into classes according to weights and schedule games of baseball, basketball, volleyball, etc., will be played. During July the grounds will play by themselves and in August representative teams will play inter-ground games. The outlook, as judged by yesterday's attendance and play, is very good. The season also got away to a good start in Fort William, where supervised play is commencing its third year on a much more elaborate scale than is at present being attempted in Port Arthur."

Title: "Supervised Play Started Yesterday"
Date: July 4, 1917
Creator: News Chronicle
Description: The article describes the grand opening of the first supervised Port Arthur Playgrounds. 
Location: Thunder Bay Public Library, Newspaper Collection


A typed newspaper article detailing playgrounds in the city

"Playgrounds: By Frederick Urry

The City Council's Playgrounds Committee has decided against organized play and supervised playgrounds this summer. The decision has also gone forth that the merry-go-round will not be allowed on Sunday afternoons. The committee did not report against joy-rides around the boulevard on Sundays. This pleasure, at least, will not be interfered with. The City Council adopted the report and no one said a word for the kiddies whose parents cannot afford an auto-car.

A Mixup: Has not the City Council's Playgrounds Committee been just a little premature in its decision, and has not the City Council adopted a report that represents no value?

There is a properly organized and permanent Playgrounds Committee on which the City Council is represented by two of its members. The so-called Playgrounds Committee of the City Council has no jurisdiction over the playground apparatus of which the merry-go-round is a part. In fact, there should be no City Council Playgrounds Committee: it leads to confusion and mistakes being made, as in the present instance.

The City Council has the prerogative of passing or rejecting the estimates of the Playgrounds Committee and if the City Council decides to cut off all revenue then the Playgrounds Committee must acquiesce for the year, but the Council might have waited until the committee had met and refrained from appointing another Playgrounds Committee.

The Facts of the Case: On the 7th of May, 1913, the City Council passed resolution 427 which provides that in the interests of the children and the supervision of play in the playgrounds and parks of the city, a Playgrounds Committee be formed, consisting of two members of the City Council, the chairman and one member of the Board of Education, appointed by the board; the chairman and one member of the Separate School Board; the chairman and one member of the Parks Board, and the physical instructor of the Y.M.C.A.

The Agreement: On the 30th of July, 1913, an agreement was drawn "up between the Corporation of the City of Port Arthur, the Board of Education of the City of Port Arthur, the Board of Park Management of the City of Port Arthur and the Roman Catholic Separate School Board." This agreement sets forth:

"Whereas it is the desire of all parties hereto that playground apparatus be installed on the grounds of the several public schools of the City of Port Arthur, hereinafter mentioned and on the grounds of the Separate School and also in the Current River Park at Port Arthur and the city has consented to install such apparatus and to maintain the same on the terms hereinafter mentioned."

The agreement goes on to set forth just where the apparatus shall  be placed and then says:

"And such apparatus shall be installed, maintained and operated subject to the control in all respects of the Playgrounds Committee above mentioned, but it is a condition of this agreement that such apparatus shall be used free of charge by all children."

A Scrap of Paper: It would seem that the agreement could scarcely be made more plain, and it would also seem that the City Council has done a piece of superfluous work in appointing another Playground Committee, instead of appointing its two members to the proper Playground Committee and working in cooperation with the other members of that committee. This has led to the City Council's Playground Committee usurping the rights of the proper committee and ignoring the agreement entered into in 1913 and under which the work was done last year and in previous years.

If the Council thinks the Playground Committee should be dissolved the best way to proceed would have been to summon the committee and ask the other parties to the agreement to consent to its dissolution, as it is, the proper Playground Committee has been ignored and the agreement treated as a mere "scrap of paper" following a very autocratic and unsavory precedent.

Supervision: We have always advocated, since the question was first brought to public attention by the Women's Council, proper supervision of our playgrounds and instruction in all team games.

For the physical betterment of our children the city  has purchased apparatus, the Educational and Parks Boards of the city have cooperated in the installation, maintenance and supervision of same. Instructors have been appointed and team games instituted. Many children, both boys and girls, were taught to swim last summer and altogether the Playgrounds Committee did good work.

It has been unfortunate that no proper report has been placed before the public, but it will be remembered that last year one of the very best holidays was celebrated on Dominion Day that the city has ever enjoyed, and the Playgrounds Committee was responsible for that day's program.

The instruction given in the valuable art of swimming was to be highly commended. The team games, for the first year, were good. There were drawbacks that had to be surmounted and mistakes were made, as is inevitable in starting new organizations, but, on the whole, it was a successful season and, according to the Board of Health report, the healthiest year the citizens of Port Arthur ever had. We think the outdoor play instituted by the Playgrounds Committee and the outdoor work urged by the Garden Club had a great deal to do with this result, and we think our Medical Officer of Health would heartily agree in that statement.

It may be right and proper, and we believe it is the proper course to pursue this year, to cut down expenses and it may be far better to ask the Playgrounds Committee, when they meet this year, to advocate and encourage the school children to enter into systematic and supervised gardening, spending the money usually spent on games, or part of it, in the encouragement of production, but the apparatus in the playgrounds should be used and perhaps swimming instruction should be continued. At any rate, the Playgrounds Committee might be given a chance to consider their work and make their own recommendations to the City Council.

Regarding the Merry-Go-Round on Sunday, this has been a matter of discussion for the past two or three years. The majority on the Playgrounds Committee, in the past, have not considered there was sufficient evidence submitted to warrant the cutting off of an innocent pleasure to the little ones, but they have suggested that a plebiscite might be taken if the opposition wished, and in this way take the verdict of the people. The opponents to the operation of the Merry-Go-Found, however, do not wish to place the matter before the people. Now the action of the City Council Playgrounds Committee, which would seem to have no right to interfere, steps in and declares against the policy of past years and, by its action, repudiates an existing agreement to which the City Council is a party. This at least is a very bad policy and the matter should be rectified as soon as possible." 

Title: "Playgrounds"
Date: February 22, 1918
Creator: Frederick Urry, News Chronicle
Description: As the article outlines, Port Arthur did not run its playground programme in the summer of 1918. However, community support for the supervised playground program remained strong.
Location: Thunder Bay Public Library, Newspaper Collection
Note: Image was altered to fit the width of the webpage.

Contact Us