Parks and Playgrounds – Beyond Montreal

Related Accounts in Canada

Alec MacMillan
This section will provide an overview of incidents that occurred in Canada that helped to bolster the Parks and Recreation Association of Canada, including one of its main sources of funding, Red Feather Campaigns. It will also analyze the Canadian Symposium of Recreation, which helped to make the association a stronger force in Canada.

The Canadian Parks and Recreation Association of Canada is an integral part of the Canadian lifestyle as it provides citizens with proper facilities and organizations for their communities. Among these facilities are recreation centres that allow for the meeting of organizations such as the Boy and Girl Scouts of Canada, Mental Hygiene Institute and counselling centres for boys and girls. These projects would not be possible without campaigns such as the Red Feather Campaigns that occur annually to raise funds from various local businesses. This is only one of many campaigns that took place across Canada that allowed for the Parks and Recreation Association of Canada to continue its activities through the years. Another event that facilitated the continued prosperity of the association was the Canadian Symposium of Recreation, held in Montreal in 1962, which brought together all the greatest minds in recreation in order to establish new divisions under the PRAC and fortify its place as an institution.

Red Feather Campaigns         

As previously stated, Red Feather Campaigns were essential to the success of the Parks and Recreation Association of Canada. These campaigns were run by volunteers or citizens of Montreal, collecting funds in order to build community centers and recreation programs.[1] Red Feather operates on money collected from businesses’ donations at their yearly campaigns. This  was accomplished through mass mailings to local businesses of all sizes requesting donations.[2] While these annual campaigns were a large source of revenue for the agency, it was not their only source of income. Funding was also received through government subsidies, revenue from endowments by private citizens, and fees charged by some of the agencies.[3] These funds were then managed by a group of volunteers in business that would carefully control the budget of the organizations, ensuring that the money was well used. There were 36 Red Feather Organizations that benefited from these campaigns. Among them were Boy Scouts of Canada, Girl Scouts of Canada, Mental Hygiene Institute and Child Health Association.[4] The Red Feather Campaigns ensured that these communal recreation organizations could function and was a large part of the Parks and Recreation Association. The campaigns were executed across all of Canada and were integral in strengthening PRAC’s position not only in local communities but also at the national level.[5]

Canadian Symposium of Recreation – 1967

One of the most influential events in PRAC’s history was the Canadian Symposium of Recreation in 1967, which allowed it to fortify its position as a prominent national-level organization in Canada. Parks and Recreation groups from all over Canada met together to a variety of issues related to their goals and operations.[6] The idea behind this symposium was to bring together the greatest minds in parks in recreation to better the programs in Canada.[7] At the time the Parks and Recreation Association of Canada, did not have a substantial amount of leverage with government to effect real changes to Canadian life.[8] This symposium set out to change that dynamic, and to create institutions that would allow PRAC to grow within the national system. Three new national associations were formed as a result of the symposium.[9] Although these new organizations would ultimately be disbanded, they served an important function at the time in helping to strengthen the Parks and Recreation Association of Canada.[10]

One of these newly created organizations was The Public Leisure Council. The purpose of this council was to give parks and recreation a voice at the national level as well as to maintain lines of communication across Canada and provide a national forum for discussion.[11] It was established as an advisory committee to the Canadian Parks and Recreation Association board. This led to a restructuring of the CP/RA that would allow for more members to have a voice for their ideas and concerns.[12] The last result of the symposium was the Recreation Institute of Canada. The objective of this was

“for the development of all park and recreation professional in Canada by establishing and maintaining standards, encouraging and developing educational opportunities, identifying needed areas of research and encouraging this research, supporting the publication and dissemination of information, and promoting effective relationships with oiler groups sharing common interests.”[13]

Together these organizations helped propel the Parks and Recreation Association of Canada to new heights on the national scale. When they were eventually disbanded due to lack of members to support all these new sectors, the federal government took care to recognize the value of the association.[14] The association emerged with a more focused view, its role more clearly identified and its resolve to expand and meet challenges renewed. So, “if nothing else the experiment proved of great value in facilitating the progress of one national body.”[15] The symposium was the basis for this growth in recognition and power for PRAC across all of Canada.

The Parks and Recreation Association of Canada owes its success to Red Feather Campaigns and the Canadian Symposium of Recreation in 1967. Annually, Red Feather Campaigns were the base for funding important projects in communities across Canada. The symposium, however, was a particularly noteworthy staple in the growth of the PRAC. With the creation of new ideas and institutions, the symposium allowed the association to accumulate more power and recognition across Canada. Even though the new organizations were disbanded shortly after their creation, they served an important purpose and allowed for more ideas to flow into the organization.


  1. H.G. Norman, “Red Feather Campaign: Serving A Community”, Montreal Gazette, September 15, 1962. Accessed April 6, 2014, http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=b8ItAAAAIBAJ&sjid=d54FAAAAIBAJ&pg=7345%2C2691826.
  2. Canadian Red Feather Campaign, 23 April 1962, File: Red Feather, Box 5, Montreal Parks and Recreation Association, McGill University Archives.
  3. Canadian Red Feather Campaign, 23 April 1962, File: Red Feather, Box 5, Montreal Parks and Recreation Association, McGill University Archives.
  4. Red Feather Agencies, 9 September 1962, File: Red Feather, Box 5, Montreal Parks and Recreation Association, McGill University Archives.
  5. Canadian Red Feather Campaign, 23 April 1962, File: Red Feather, Box 5, Montreal Parks and Recreation Association, McGill University Archives.
  6. Jack Wright, “Canadian Symposium of Recreation – 1967” Recreation Canada Vol. 53 No.3 (1995) http://lin.ca/sites/default/files/attachments/C__DOCUME~1_SROUNT~1_LOCALS~1_Temp_plugtmp-6_ps09.pdf, 58.
  7. Ibid, 58.
  8. Ibid, 58.
  9. Ibid, 59.
  10. Ibid, 59.
  11. Ibid, 58.
  12. Ibid, 60.
  13. Ibid, 60.
  14. Ibid, 62.
  15. Ibid, 60.
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