Lamb, Arthur Stanley

Arthur S. Lamb, physical education instructor, physician, administrator (b at Ballarat, Australia 16 Sep 1886; d at Montréal 4 Sep 1958). On immigrating to Canada as a young man, Arthur S. Lamb worked for two years as director of physical education at the Vancouver Y.M.C.A. Following this, he enrolled at Springfield College, Massachusetts where he earned a B.A. in physical education in 1912. Then, he studied medicine at McGill University in Montréal. In 1916, during the First World War, he was a captain in the Royal Canadian Army Medical Corps in France and in Belgium.

Lamb, known as the "father of modern physical education in Canada," began his teaching career in 1919 at McGill, where he organized the first university department of physical education in Canada. He remained at McGill for more than 30 years, combining his work with multiple activities in national sports organizations.

In 1933, he was a founder of the Canadian Physical Education Association and presided over the organization that advocated for physical activity for three successive mandates, from 1933 to 1939.

He also distinguished himself in the Canadian Amateur Athletic Association for many years: he was secretary from 1925 to 1927, and was elected president in 1928. Within this organization that governed Canada's amateur athletic code, Lamb was considered an ultraconservative, fiercely defending the idea of "pure" sport with no room for professionals. Moreover, although he was in favour of women practising physical activity, he seriously questioned the place of women among elite athletes; he felt that the stress and effort required by top-level competition could seriously endanger participants' health.

Despite his sometimes controversial opinions, he was very devoted to the cause of sports. During the Olympics in Paris (1924) and Amsterdam (1928), he held the positions of secretary and manager of the Canadian team. In 1934, he formed the Province of Quebec Amateur Track & Field Association, and he remained its president until 1949. From 1934 until his death in 1958, he used his experience to help organize the Empire Games (1934, 1938 and 1950), and was on the advisory council for the British Empire and Commonwealth Games Association of Canada.

During his impressive career as a sports administrator, he was also involved in Montréal's Parks and Playgrounds Division.

In 1948, the Canadian Athletic Association honoured Arthur Lamb with the R. Tait McKenzie award for distinguished service to his profession. In 1953, he received the Queen Elizabeth II Coronation Medal, and seven years later was elected to the Canadian Olympic Hall of Fame as a builder. In 1974, he was inducted into the Québec Sports Hall of Fame (Temple de la renommée des sports du Québec).