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  • Writer's pictureCanada West

Ethel Mary Cartwright (Builder)

NAME: Ethel Mary Cartwright

UNIVERSITY: Saskatchewan

CATEGORY: Builder - Pioneer

YEARS ACTIVE: 1928-1943



  • Established the Women’s Athletic Directorate at the U of S, giving women’s sports autonomous recognition

  • Established the Bronze Baby Trophy, which is awarded annually to the U SPORTS women’s basketball champions

  • Athletics Hall of Fame member at both Saskatchewan and McGill


A leader and innovator for women in physical education and sport, Ethel Mary Cartwright served at the University of Saskatchewan for 15 years as a coach, teacher, and administrator.

Between 1928 and 1943 Cartwright organized the women's physical education department at the U of S and under her leadership women's sports at the university flourished, including receiving autonomous recognition with the establishment of the Women's Athletic Directorate.

Cartwright, pictured here at her desk at the University of Saskatchewan, was a leader in helping to increase women's roles in physical education and sport.

In 1942 she established the Spirt of the Youth award, which was presented annually to the woman who best demonstrated the qualities of leadership, sportsmanship, idealism, academic ability, character, and athleticism.

Cartwright was born October 1, 1880, in Clapham, England and was appointed as an instructor at McGill's Royal Victoria College in 1906, where she taught until 1927.

While at McGill, Cartwright served as a coach, teacher and administrator. She was instrumental in creating the McGill School of Physical Education in 1919. At McGill, she devised eligibility and playing rules for women's basketball, organized a women's intercollegiate league, and established the Bronze Baby Trophy in 1921-22, which is still awarded today to the U SPORTS women's basketball champions.

The Canadian Association for Health, Physical Education Recreation, and Dance (CAHPERD) presented Mary with the R. Tait McKenzie Honour Award, its highest distinction, in 1948.

Each year the U of S presents the Mary Ethel Cartwright Trophy to Huskie Athletics’ Female Athlete of the Year.

Cartwright passed away in Magog, Que., on Sept. 18, 1955. She has been posthumously enshrined in both the University of Saskatchewan Athletics Hall of Fame (class of 1984) and McGill University Athletics Hall of Fame (1996).

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