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Leisure Time

Picnic group, Pincher Creek, Alberta, ca 1887. L-R back row: Reverend Ronald Hilton. L-R third row: Walter Garnett; Martin MacLeod; Vere Allfrey; Mr. Pinder; Captian F. M. Scobie; Mrs. Ronald Hilton; Mrs. James F. (Mary) Macleod; Mrs. F. A. Mead; Colonel Robert William Elton. L-R second row, seated: Mrs. Barnes, nee Miss Martin; Mrs. F. M. Scobie; Mrs. E. M. Wilmot; Mary Macleod; Roma Macleod; Colonel J. F. Macleod. L-R front row: Mrs. A. B. Few, nee Miss Geoghegan; W. K. Humphrey; H. M. Hatfield. Polo game picnic. The leisure time of ranchers and their wives followed a pattern similar to that of their former life in England or eastern Canada. Although the most popular sport was horseracing, ranchers also enjoyed polo, cricket, hockey and tennis. A genteel mode of existence required that ranch wives attend formal dinners, picnics, and card parties, hopefully in the city. Musical and theatre evenings in Calgary were also common outings.

Pincher Creek polo team, 1890. L-R: William Humphrey; W. Smythe; Major Davidson; Mr. Garnet. The clubs were a place where ranchers and other well-placed citizens could gather and indulge in the "gentlemanly" pleasures of billiards or poker, smoke a cigar, or simply read and relax with friends. Mounted Policemen were often accepted into clubs of this sort, which reflected the great esteem in which they were held by the ranchers.

In 1892, the Ranchman's Club in Calgary was incorporated - the first of its kind in the west. Soon, gentlemen's clubs began up in other cities in Alberta: the Chinook Club in Lethbridge, the Cypress Club in Medicine Hat, and the High River and Pincher Creek gentlemen's clubs, incorporated in 1906.

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