The History of Mount Albert Sports Day

A few Mount Albert citizens decided that they would like to have a public playground. Money was collected to secure the land, but the location of the park became a controversy. This issue could not be resolved, so the project was abandoned and the money was returned to the donors.

In 1924, the Women’s Institute decided that they would try to secure land for the park. However, they were told that they could not own property so they persuaded the Town to purchase the land for a park. They needed support from two thirds of the ratepayers in the village and were met with opposition. Finally, enough names were secured and the petition was taken to East Gwillimbury Council - where it was passed on July 15th, 1924. This allowed the Town Fathers to buy the land which is now the Mount Albert Community Park.

Volunteer labour helped to get the grounds in shape for the first Sports Day which was held on June 3, 1925. Crowds came for the procession of parade floats lead by the Mount Albert Band. There were ball games, horseshoe pitching, races and other sports. In the evening, a Minstrel show of local talent took place at the Old Mill.

The community hall was built in 1937 with funds provided by the Estate of Margaret Graham. The East Gwillimbury Council, on a recommendation from the Mount Albert Town Fathers, officially named the hall 'The GRAHAM MEMORIAL HALL', in memory of Margaret Graham and her contribution. The dedication service was conducted by Reverend R.V. Wilson, and the official opening took place on February 3, 1938.

Since 1925, still holding onto the traditions of the past, and adding some new elements, the Committees of Volunteers have worked diligently to keep this tradition alive. This celebration is a big part of Mount Albert’s history. Over the years this Festival has evolved and for many is the symbolic start to our long anticipated summer season. This year will mark the 94th year of this event.

One thing that has NOT changed since 1925 is that funds raised during these 92 years have stayed within our community and provided items for our park and our Memorial Hall as per our Committee mandate that otherwise we might not have had.

Below is a list of all the items that you the members of our Community and the many Committee volunteers that have worked for and donated to in order to make our park and our hall a better place to visit and enjoy:

An enlarged addition to the picnic shelter, assistance in creation of Family Place in the hall, upgrading washrooms, both inside & out to meet accessibility standards, accessible ramp, window coverings, stage curtains, carpet in the hall entrance, freezer in hall, cooler in snack bar, Horseshoe Pits Baseball backstop, netting, ball diamond lights, fencing and bleachers, 2 flag poles, outside concrete bunker, replacement of damage bunker door, Memorial Gate Repairs, Horseshoe Pit Installation, installation of the fencing between school & park (safety issues in both park & school grounds) picnic tables, benches on 3 on 3 basketball court, basketball nets and backboards, overhead fans & air conditioning in the hall, numerous replacements of playground equipment as needed over the years, a propane grill for the snack bar (recently removed by the Town).