Softball at the park Gaspé

News 27 January, 2018
  • Photo courtesy of the Archives of the City of Montreal, Albert J. Giroux, Parc De Gaspé. 1946. VM105-ALPHA11-001. Photo Ben Pelosse

    Centre d’histoire de Montréal

    Saturday, 27-jan-2018 18:26

    Saturday, 27-jan-2018 18:26

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    Baseball or softball ?

    Gathered on an open field, these young boys, dressed in overalls and braces, prepare for a game of softball. One of them is holding a ball of size appreciable, typical of this game. Inspired by the baseball, the softball was invented in 1887 in Chicago. Being played on a field smaller, the ball is launched “from below” to the drummer. Played at the school in the first half of the 20th century, this sport requires little equipment : a ball, a bat and four cushions. During the summer vacation, many children of families in montreal are taking the habit of coming together on the vacant land to play softball. With the baby boom and the need for guidance on this youth, the City begins to develop real softball fields and to organize the first league. In 1958, Montreal already has 5000 players ! Practised also by women, this sport has teams of all ages competing each summer in parks in montreal.

    The park Gaspé

    In the background, a truck releases its load to the greatest happiness of the children which is fun to climb on the sand hills. Before being vacant, this ground has hosted for several decades, the factory of furniture, doors and windows of Z. Berthiaume & Fils. The demolition of the factory, and in 1946, the City benefits from the opportunity to develop a ground game in this district is densely populated. Officially appointed on June 26, 1963, this park recalls the memory of the family Aubert de Gaspé. Having given to the quebec society of the military, politicians, and authors, it is through a marriage, in 1864, that the family of Gaspé binds to Beaubien, very involved in the development of the Mile End and Petite-Patrie. Today, the park Of the Gaspé is a synonym for skating and hockey during the winter. Each summer, the soccer field, the playground and the popular paddling pool attracts some 10 000 young Montrealers to this small oasis of greenery.

    Sheds in gardens

    The architecture of rickety warehouse reveals the popular origin of the residents in 1946. True extension of the home, these hangars are accessed by narrow walkways and stairs of fortune. The kitchen is to the rear of the housing, it is easy to get to the hangar which stored the coal or the bottle of” heating oil ” and to receive deliveries from the alley. One foot in the kitchen and another on the balcony, and the household extend the machine, exchange the latest gossip with the neighbors and watching the children’s games. Of the alley, the knife sharpener of knives, the delivery of ice, the regrattier of fruits and vegetables hèlent the mothers of the family. Gradually abandoned with the advent of electric heating, these warehouses of wood covered with sheet metal are often the source of fires, which leads to their gradual disappearance. If the back-court is freed of its old hangars, the residents of Little Italy take the opportunity to grow tomatoes and the vines on the pergolas.