Along with Sports Illustrated, SPORT Magazine was an institution in the sports publishing business for most of the twentieth century. Launched in 1946, its heyday was the 50's and 60's when it was revered for its stunning colour sports photography and behind-the-scenes coverage of sporting events and their athletes.
SPORT Magazine ultimately succumbed to the better financed Sports Illustrated and ceased publication in August, 2000. But amid the scraps that remained after it closed was a massive and highly regarded archive of sports photography and illustrations. Today, that archive is owned by a Toronto man, and a selection of the more than 250,000 images are on permanent display at the SPORT Gallery.
Not the easiest space to find, the SPORT Gallery is tucked away on the second floor of the Stone Distillery Building in Toronto's Distillery District. The industrial space features a selection of photography, illustration and fine art from the magazine's archives. On my last visit, most of these were hockey, baseball and football photographs, my favourite of which was the one below of the Cleveland Browns.
Over the course of the year, the gallery features one or two focused exhibitions. Previous ones included The Italian Stallions, a retrospective of Italian-American athletes; and Hero, an exhibit that explored the private and public world of the star athlete. During the rest of the year, the SPORT Gallery displays a seemingly random rotating selection from its archives.
All the prints, as well as books and reproductions of SPORT Magazine covers are available for sale, and apparently the gallery fills regular orders from across North America.