Quick facts

Story kiosk location

  • Corner of Bank Street and Exhibition Way at Lansdowne Park

Important dates

  • (1868) – The year that the sports grounds at Lansdowne Park were developed.


What happened here?

  • The Ottawa Capitals Lacrosse team regularly attracted crowds of over 8,000 and won the Minto Cup in 1901.

You are standing adjacent to our city’s major sports venue, Lansdowne Park...

Now home to football’s Ottawa Redblacks and hockey’s Ottawa67s, in the 19th century the most popular sport was lacrosse.

William James Topley. Library and Archives Canada. No. 3386679. Photo credit: Ottawa’s Lacrosse Team, June 13th, 1891.

A year after this photograph was taken, the Ottawa’s lacrosse team amalgamated with the Ottawa Capitals and played in the majors under that name. Their rivals were teams from Montreal, Cornwall, and Toronto. 


                      Source: Ottawa Journal 22 July 1897 (p. 6) and 8 June 1898 (p. 6).


“Caps” games were attracting between 8,000 to 12,000 spectators even before the introduction of streetcars along Bank Street. The Capitals won the Dominion Championship four times between 1892 and 1897. The team went professional in 1904.


                                      Photo credit: Bytown Museum, Ref. #2766.


On July 23, 1892, the Capitals played the Montreal Shamrocks, winning 4-2. In this team photo, you can see the date, the score, and the players’ names including outstanding defenseman Bernard “Barney” Quinn (lower right) who held the world’s record for long distance ball thrown from a lacrosse stick (497 feet, 7.5 inches).


In the centre is Hugh Carson founder of a leading leather goods company. Hugh went on to be president of the Ottawa Curling Club, a trustee and president of the Ottawa Civic Hospital, and a director and president of the Central Canada Exhibition and Ottawa Winter Fair.


                                       Photo credit: Bytown Museum. Ref. # P468.


The Minto Cup was lacrosse’s premier trophy, named after its donor (like hockey’s Stanley Cup) a Governor-General of Canada. This unidentified lacrosse team is seen celebrating their cup win in 1901. The gentleman to the far left is then Ottawa Mayor James Davidson.


Source: City of Ottawa Archives MG3970G00504.

This staged studio photograph, taken circa 1900, features players wearing striped tops characteristic of sports teams of the period as well as their canine mascot.


This story was researched and developed by Lisa Bullock as a contribution to the Workers’ History Museum’s Capital History Kiosk’s project for Ottawa 2017. It formed part of her course work for Professor David Dean’s graduate seminar on museums, national identity, and public memory (Department of History, Carleton University). She would like to thank Ottawa sports historian Mr. Jim McAuley, Ms Claire Sutton of the City of Ottawa Archives, and Mr. Grant Vogl of the Bytown Museum for their assistance.