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The Canadian Association for Leisure Studies
and the Canadian Congresses on Leisure Research

The first Canadian Congress on Leisure Research was convened in Quebec City in 1975, under the auspices of Laval University. It was conceived as a one-time event, with no conscious idea that it would become the first in a series of such congresses -- although there was discussion among some delegates about the need for a second congress perhaps five years down the road!

The success of the first Congress encouraged a group in Ontario to organize another, titled the Second Canadian Congress on Leisure Research, which was held in Toronto in 1978. It was at this Second Congress that a continuing series of conferences was first envisaged, together with the idea of a permanent organization to promote leisure research generally in Canada and, specifically, to take responsibility for the convening of the Congress. A group of delegates met and charged a small committee, headed by Jack Ellis from York University and Bill Knott from the Ontario Government, to prepare a proposal and constitution for a formal organization, which would be presented to delegates at a Third Congress tentatively scheduled to be held a year later in Edmonton.

It soon became apparent that organizing a national conference in the absence of a formal organization with permanent resources could not be done in a few months. And so, it was not until 1981 that the Third Canadian Congress on Leisure Research convened in Edmonton. The proposal and constitution for a Canadian Association for Leisure Studies (CALS) was unanimously endorsed by delegates. The Association also settled on the triennial pattern for the convening of the Congress which had emerged for the first three congresses, since this appeared to be reasonable from a logistical standpoint. Two years later, in 1983, the Association received its Federal Charter.

CALS is a loose organization of persons interested in leisure research which has, as its prime responsibilities, (1) awarding the triennial Canadian Congress on Leisure Research to organizations interested in convening it (usually universities), and (2) maintaining communication among members between Congresses. All delegates who attend a Congress are automatically members of the Association until the next Congress.

CALS is governed by a Board of Directors elected at each Congress, which serves until the next. It has no paid staff, and only a small budget, obtained from a modest per capita levy added to the registration fee at each congress. Its Head Office moves with the Presidency. For history buffs, the record of Congresses and President, with relevant organizations, is given below.

Locations of Canadian Congresses on Leisure Research (CCLR)


CCLR-1 Quebec City, Quebec, 1975 [Laval University]
CCLR-2 Toronto, Ontario, 1978 [Ontario Ministry of Culture and Recreation]
CCLR-3 Edmonton, Alberta, 1981 [University of Alberta]
CCLR-4 Trois-Rivieres, Quebec, 1984 [Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières]
CCLR-5 Halifax, Nova Scotia, 1987 [Dalhousie University]
CCLR-6 Waterloo, Ontario, 1990 [University of Waterloo]
CCLR-7 Winnipeg, Manitoba, 1993 [University of Manitoba]
CCLR-8 Ottawa, Ontario, 1996 [University of Ottawa]
CCLR-9 Wolfville, Nova Scotia, 1999 [Acadia University]
CCLR-10 Edmonton, Alberta, 2002 [University of Alberta]
CCLR-11 Nanaimo, British Columbia, 2005 [Malaspina University-College]
CCLR-12 Montréal, Quebec, 2008 [Concordia University]
CCLR-13 St. Catharines, Ontario, 2011 [Brock University]

Halifax, Nova Scotia, 2014 [Dalhousie University]

CCLR-15 Waterloo, Ontario, 2017 [University of Waterloo]


Presidents of the Canadian Association for Leisure Studies (CALS)


1981-1984 Tim Burton, University of Alberta
1984-1987 Jack Ellis, York University
1987-1990 Tim Burton, University of Alberta
1990-1993 Dick Butler, University of Western Ontario
1993-1996 Sue Shaw, University of Waterloo
1996-1999 Ed Jackson, University of Alberta
1999-2002 Susan Markham-Starr, Acadia University
2002-2005 Susan Markham-Starr, Acadia University
2005-2008 Bryan Smale, University of Waterloo
2008-2011 Bryan Smale, University of Waterloo
2011-2014 Bryan Smale, University of Waterloo
2014-2017 Heather Mair, University of Waterloo