Canadian Lacrosse Hall of Fame, The

The Canadian Lacrosse Hall of Fame is unique in that it is tucked away inside a community centre and open to self-guided tours. The Hall of Fame started as a grassroots effort, with a group of LACROSSE enthusiasts deciding in 1963 that New Westminster's historical background in the sport made the city an ideal location for a hall of fame. With city council's approval, the group campaigned and applied for a charter from the Canadian Lacrosse Association. On 12 May 1967, the Canadian Lacrosse Hall of Fame officially opened to the public and became the permanent home of the country's top lacrosse trophies, the Mann and Minto Cups.

It's a museum run on a shoestring budget, but that doesn't prevent it from offering an insightful look into the history of lacrosse. The museum incorporates simple displays and a "do it yourself" approach. Visitors have to do a little work: read the fine print, examine the photos, and perhaps even know a bit about the sport in advance. Those who do will be rewarded with interesting bits of trivia. For example, two Canadian prime ministers actively participated in the sport. Pierre TRUDEAU played lacrosse at Brébeuf College in 1936, a full three centuries after the college's namesake, Jean de Brébeuf, first documented the game in Canada. Lester B. PEARSON played field lacrosse for the championship Oxford/Cambridge team that won a 1922 American tour.

Two businessmen from southwestern British Columbia, John Manly and Earl LeRoy, crafted lacrosse sticks from the wood of a wild crabapple tree, cut from the Pitt Lake area (near Maple Ridge, BC). LeRoy played lacrosse in New Westminster, then moved on to play in Trail, BC, while Manly founded a boat-building operation. Lacrosse was a full-medal sport in the 1904 OLYMPIC GAMES in St Louis and again in London in 1908. Canadian teams picked up the gold in both: the Winnipeg Shamrocks in 1904, and the New Westminster Salmonbellies in 1908. The sport failed to make an Olympic appearance again until 1928, when it emerged as a demonstration sport, with subsequent appearances as a demo sport in 1932 and 1948. The museum houses photos, jackets, and memorabilia from the Olympics.