Sports Day

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Date(s) of occurrence: 1880 - ?

Old Arts Building decorated for Sports Day, 1896. UA PC 9 no. 24 (18).

Origins: In the Spring of 1879 long distance racing became popular in Fredericton, with many university students participating in races held at the Exhibition Building. This new interest prompted the creation of Sports Day, the first series of athletic sports ever held at UNB.

History: An annual event held every Spring, Sports Day attracted spectators from both the university and the greater Fredericton area. Hosted by the University Amateur Athletic Club, Sports Day was held on the terrace in front of the Old Arts Building for many years, with spectator seats appearing in 1884 for the "accommodation of ladies," for their presence was believed to "spur the contestants on to perform feats which, on any other occasion, would seem almost superhuman."

Activities included several races ranging from 100 yards to a mile, as well as pole vaulting, high jump, and shot put. Sports day was moved to the fall in 1891 so that it would not interfere with examinations. Prizes became more modest, as medals and badges were awarded as opposed to the variety of earlier years.

Note(s): The prizes awarded to winners included such diverse items as silver cups, writing desks, silk umbrellas, and revolvers.


  • University Monthly, vol. 11, no. 2, May 1891, p. 27-28.
  • Montague, Susan. A Pictorial History of the University of New Brunswick. Fredericton: University of New Brunswick, 1992, p. 48, 53.
  • Lloyd, Hugh and Wade, Scott. "Flags and Poles." In Behind the Hill. Fredericton: Students' Representative Council, the Associated Alumni and the Senate of the University of New Brunswick, 1967, p. 85-92.

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