Education, sport and myth in the community of Glengarry, Ontario : the athletic career of Roderick R. McLennan. 260 St. Catharines, Ont. : Faculty of Education, Brock University ;
Gillespie, Gregory Eric.
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This study examined how the athletic career of Roderick R. McLennan contributed to the popularization and subsequent development of Caledonian games in Ontario during the latter nineteenth century. Initially, the development of Caledonian games during the 1800s was examined to provide a contextual framework for McLennan's career. This investigation revealed that the games emerged from rural athletic events at pioneer working bees in the first quarter of the nineteenth century to regional sporting events by the mid-1800s, and finally into annual federated Caledonian games in 1870. Noteworthy primary source material for this chapter included the John MacGillivray Papers at the National Archives of Canada, the Scottish American Journal (NY) and the files retained by the Glengarry Sport Hall of Fame in Maxville, Ontario. Following the investigation of Caledonian games, McLennan's early athletic career was studied. Analysis of the Roderick and Farquhar McLennan Papers at the Archives of Ontario and the newspapers from the period revealed that McLennan rose to popularity in 1865 through a "Championship of the World" hammer throwing match in Cornwall and two "Starring Tours". The next chapter examined the height of McLennan's career through an investigation of the Roderick McLennan versus Donald Dinnie rivalry of the early .. n 1870s. It was detennined that the rivalry between McLennan and Dinnie, the champion athlete of Highland games in Scotland, was a popular attraction and had an impact on the Toronto and Montreal games of 1870 and the Toronto games of 1872. Finally, the athletic records established by McLennan during the 1860s and 1870s were investigated. These records were examined through the context of a media controversy over McLennan's feats that developed in the early 1880s between two newspapers. This controversy erupted between the Toronto Mail and the Spirit of the Times. Caledonian games in Canada have only been briefly examined and a thorough examination of prominent Canadian figures in this context has yet to be undertaken. This study unearths a prominent Canadian athlete of Scottish decent and details his involvement in the Caledonian games of nineteenth century Ontario.