Football Canada is the governing body for amateur Canadian football. It is Canada's representative member of the International Federation of American Football (IFAF), the world's governing body for American football, although it focuses primarily on the Canadian form of the game.
The organization now known as Football Canada was founded on June 12, 1880 as the Canadian Rugby Football Union, revived on February 7, 1884 and re-organized as the Canadian Rugby Union on December 19, 1891.
The CRU was founded to govern a sport which at the time had rules similar to the rugby football being played in the United Kingdom. In 1909, Albert Grey, 4th Earl Grey, then Governor General of Canada, donated a trophy to the CRU to be awarded for the Rugby Football Championship of Canada. This trophy became known as the Grey Cup.
Even by this time however, the rules being played in Canada were vastly different from the rules used in countries that were part of the International Rugby Board (IRB). In the years that followed, the CRU and its American counterparts would legalize forward passing and make other changes that would keep the Canadian game reasonably similar to the American one, but unrecognizable to a rugby union enthusiast.
Despite the divergence, the sport continued to be referred to as rugby for many years, and the CRU did not change its name despite the obvious confusion. By the 1950s, however, another development was to cause further changes to the CRU's mandate — it was now clear that two of its member leagues — the Interprovincial Rugby Football Union in eastern Canada and the Western Interprovincial Football Union in the West were far more competitive than other circuits. These teams would eventually leave the CRU and form the conferences of the Canadian Football League, which soon assumed control of the Grey Cup.
As an organization with no direct jurisdiction over the professional clubs and having nothing in common with rugby union by this time, the CRU finally changed its name to the Canadian Amateur Football Association (CAFA) in 1967. The CAFA changed its name again, to Football Canada in 1986.
As of 2005 Football Canada is primarily responsible for running amateur football in Canada, including the national amateur football championships. It is actively trying to foster closer working relationships with both the Canadian Football League and the National Football League.
Champions prior to 1909
These are the CRU champions before the dedication of the Grey Cup.
- 1892 - Osgoode Hall (Ontario) defeated Montreal (Quebec)
- 1893 - Queen's University (Ontario) defeated Montreal (Quebec)
- 1894 - Ottawa University (Quebec) defeated Queen's University (Ontario)
- 1895 - Toronto University (Ontario) defeated Montreal (Quebec)
- 1896 - Ottawa University (Quebec) defeated Toronto University (Ontario)
- 1897 - Ottawa University (Quebec) defeated Hamilton (Ontario)
- 1898 - Ottawa (Ontario) defeated Toronto University (Intercollegiate), Ottawa (Ontario) defeated Ottawa University (Quebec)
- 1899 - No game.
- 1900 - Ottawa (Ontario) defeated Brockville (Quebec)
- 1901 - Ottawa University (Quebec) defeated Argonauts (Ontario)
- 1902 - Ottawa (Ontario) defeated Ottawa University (Quebec)
- 1903 - No game.
- 1904 - No game.
- 1905 - Toronto University (Intercollegiate) defeated Ottawa (Quebec)
- 1906 - Hamilton (Ontario) defeated McGill University (Intercollegiate)
- 1907 - Montreal (Interprovincial) defeated Peterborough (Ontario)
- 1908 - Hamilton (Interprovincial) defeated Toronto University (Intercollegiate)
The 1909 game was the first game for the Grey Cup. See the article 'List of Grey Cup champions' for the complete Grey Cup listing.
Source: Ottawa Citizen, November 28, 1910, page 8.
- Canadian Football
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- Canadian Interuniversity Sport
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- Canadian Football League
- Comparison of Canadian and American football