DCB/DBC Mobile beta


New Biographies

Minor Corrections

Biography of the Day


d. 28 Nov. 1867 at Fredericton


Responsible Government

Sir John A. Macdonald

From the Red River Settlement to Manitoba (1812–70)

Sir Wilfrid Laurier

Sir George-Étienne Cartier


The Fenians

Women in the DCB/DBC

The Charlottetown and Quebec Conferences of 1864

Introductory Essays of the DCB/DBC

The Acadians

For Educators

The War of 1812 

Canada’s Wartime Prime Ministers

The First World War

Sports before 1800
Original title:  Jouer et se divertir | Sociétés et territoires

Source: Link


While the settlement of Europeans in America posed many challenges, sports and social activities were an integral part of life in the colonial era. For example, Jean AMIOT, an interpreter and indentured employee of the Jesuits among the Hurons during the New France era, was an outstanding competitive runner:

“Jean Amiot [brother of Mathieu and Charles] spent several years in the Huron country, and seems to have lived at Trois-Rivières from 1645 on. The Indians called him ‘Antaïok.’ In 1647 he outran and captured an Iroquois who had taken part in the martyrdom of Father Isaac Jogues. He was a remarkable athlete; in a tournament at Quebec he beat all the young Indians who tried to race against him, either on foot or on snowshoes.”


Lacrosse, a sport of Indian origin and very popular with a number of native peoples, aroused both the curiosity and the interest of Europeans. In 1763 the shrewd Ojibwa chief MADJECKEWISS organized a seemingly innocent lacrosse game that allowed him to accomplish an amazing feat:

“By his mid 20s [Madjeckewiss] was a respected war chief. In 1763, when Pontiac*’s forces besieged Detroit, Madjeckewiss welcomed the opportunity to help drive the British out of the west. Working closely with Minweweh*, Madjeckewiss planned the capture of Fort Michilimackinac (Mackinaw City, Mich.). Charles-Michel Mouet* de Langlade, a local trader, warned Captain George Etherington, but after interviewing Madjeckewiss the commandant paid no further heed. On the morning of 2 June 1763, Etherington stood outside the walls of the fort watching Madjeckewiss and his warriors vigorously engage a band of Sauks in a game of lacrosse. Suddenly the chief threw the ball over the pickets of the fort. As the Ojibwas rushed in to retrieve the ball, waiting women handed them weapons concealed beneath their blankets. Within a few minutes the garrison was killed or captured and Madjeckewiss and his men controlled the post.”


By learning and practising the art of fencing, James BABY, born in 1763 and a future politician, civil servant, judge, militia officer, and landowner, was able to reinforce his social status:

“An elder son of a prestigious family in the Detroit area, James Baby was educated in the province of Quebec under the supervision of his uncle François*. He also took lessons in fencing and dancing, activities esteemed as attributes of gentility.”


The following biographies provide additional information about sports and those who engaged in them before 1800:

◀◀  1 3 4 5 6 7 8  ▶▶