Physical education and sports in Canada has evolved greatly over the last two centuries through legitimizing sport in the Canadian school curriculum. Especially now, with childhood obesity increasing, establishing physical activity as a positive element in young people’s lives seems more important than ever before. Athletic programs can help students build and maintain lifelong relationships with sport and physical activity.
Physical education’s purpose in school has also changed drastically. Before, it was a means to train society’s future leaders or military commanders. Now, it is recognized as an inseparable element of every student’s life. Despite the fact that it has become a legitimate academic course, it is often the first course to suffer when schools undergo funding cuts.
In Canadian schools, Physical education started as early as 1846, when Egerton Ryerson introduces his public education plan. Physical education becomes part of the curriculum, but it is not mandatory. This left individual teachers and schools to decide whether or not they would teach it. In 1872, The Ontario Education Act, is enacted which recognizes physical education as a school subject. A few years later in 1880, public schools begin to organize extracurricular games. In 1889, physical training becomes compulsory. Then in 1909, The Strathcona trust, of $500 000 is established, providing future funding for physical education. Now, the aim of physical education in the school curriculum is to promote physical activity in all students.
Studies have shown that Canadian students are significantly less active today than they were 30 years ago. Physical inactivity can become a lifestyle for many students and so when they grow up they are more likely to become overweight adults. It is said that a human body is like a machine, if it remains idle for a long period of time it gets rusty. Similarly, the body, if not exercised becomes more susceptible