Sports at 180 Shaw Street, a History

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And now, another photo from the archives of 180 Shaw Street. This is the boys’ relay team in 1932. Students of this school were renowned for their athletic prowess. Our community researchers in 2013 uncovered this wonderful history:

“All sports were valued at Givins, but track and field was the most highly regarded. Practices were held during the school day, and coaches and students would leave class to attend, “for the good of the school.” In the 1950s and 1960s, and likely earlier too, it was forbidden to open doors in the school  between 3:30 and 4:00 pm on certain days, because relay teams were practicing in the halls. Former students recall the school had a peculiar smell at those times: the school created its own liniment for athletes, called Tiger Milk, to soothe muscles. Only a handful of coaches were privy to its recipe, though it was rumored to include milk, mint and turpentine, among other ingredients. Clarence Stiver, former coach and archivist at Givins, suggested the real point of it may have been to intimidate teams with the overpowering smell.

The hard work (and the Tiger Milk) paid off.  In the early days of the Toronto Public School Board, large track championships were held annually at the Canadian National Exhibition Grounds. Givins won the city championship an astonishing fifty-one times in a row, from 1898 to 1949. There was a celebration at city hall following the school’s successful 50th championship in 1948, where a commemorative certificate and the key to the city were presented to the principal.”

Our community researchers performed archival and first-person research to discover the stories from years past associated with the building that is now Artscape Youngplace. We were delighted by what they uncovered. Keep your eyes on this News page for more histories from the vault. And say three cheers for our researchers! Hip, hip, hooray!