1900   1910   1920   1930   1940   1950   1960   1970   1980   1990   2000

2004: University Archives Home to ParticipACTION Archives

Larger Version

In September 2004, the University of Saskatchewan became home to the ParticipACTION Archives. At the formal announcement President MacKinnon stated "This is a significant collection for the University Archives. Students and faculty will benefit considerably in terms of research from this donation. Given the faculty and alumni who were involved in ParticipACTION from the start, this collection also represents an interesting aspect of University history. Moreover, through [the ParticipACTION Archive Project site], health and physical activity leaders around the world will be able to benefit from this unique Canadian success story - today and in the future."

For nearly three decades ParticipACTION promoted fitness among Canadians. The success of the campaign is undeniable. ParticipACTION helped make fitness part of our lives. It took us from a nation of couch potatoes to a nation of walkers, skiers and cyclists. It also became part of the Canadian media landscape. Few of us could have missed the theme messages that came via television, radio and the print media. They became part of our collective psyche. Who can forget the comparison between the thirty year old Canadian and the sixty year old Swede or the phrase "Do It Do It Do It"?

ParticipACTION was the brain child of Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau. He saw the need for a national health promotion agency and in 1971 convinced former Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson to become its first Chairman. ParticipACTION set for itself three goals that would serve it throughout its history: 1) create a national awareness and education campaign promoting the health benefits of an active lifestyle and practical advice on "getting started"; 2) generate private sector support matching public funding; and 3) support the efforts of community-based health and fitness programs.

The University of Saskatchewan and Saskatoon were key players in the early years of ParticipACTION. In 1972 the city became the first model community. The experiment proved that a cooperative volunteer based program could successfully promote fitness in a community. The Saskatoon experience became the model for the rest of the country and an international challenge with Umea, Sweden moved the program into the international arena.

Update: While ParticipACTION had been forced to cease operations in 2001, it subsequently obtained additional funding was revitalized in 2007 "as the national voice of physical activity and sport participation in Canada."

Related Collections

ParticipACTION fonds, MG 291.


2004a: ParticipACTION advertisement, MG 291.


ParticipACTION fonds, MG 291.
On Campus News, 2004.

Previous YearReturn to Main PageNext Year