The Cup was first awarded in 1980 to the winner of the Ontario-Quebec Interuniversity Football Conference and, upon re-organisation into the Quebec Intercollegiate Football Conference (later the Quebec University Football League and now part of RSEQ), continues to be awarded as the Quebec conference's championship.
The winner of the Dunsmore Cup goes on to play in either the Uteck Bowl or the Mitchell Bowl national semi-final, depending on annual rotations.
The Dunsmore Cup was donated by Bob Dunsmore of Queen's University, a 1915 Engineering graduate. He was the father of Robert Dunsmore, grandfather of Ross Dunsmore, Rosemary Dunsmore, and Katherine Camarta (née Dunsmore), and great grandfather of Andrew Dunsmore (b. 1983, Toronto), Shannon Sibold (b. 1984, Calgary), Michael Dunsmore (b. 1986, Toronto), William Sibold (b. 1989, Calgary), Georgia Sibold (b. 1992, Calgary), and Robert Van Wart (b. 1994, Toronto). Both Ross Dunsmore and Katherine Camarta are graduates of Queen's Law ('73, and '77 respectively).