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University of Toronto
U of T Great Past

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Photo: Michael Visser


Grace Under Pressure
They are as smooth as satin and light as bread. Bowling pins? Juggling batons for circus clowns?

Easy to clasp, they are actually clubs, used primarily by female students in the early 1900s for exercises that promoted physical health. Compared to the heavy metal barbells used today, wooden clubs speak of a more delicate and graceful period - one alumna remembers them being painted bright silver for gymnastic demonstrations.

These two were found at the Lillian Massey Building that housed the Faculty of Food Sciences until it was dissolved in 1975.

Times change. The building now houses a clothing store; the clubs, unused for decades, are stored in the university archives, and contemporary women pump serious iron.

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