The sporting culture of Canada
consists of a variety of games. Although there are many contests that Canadians value, the most common are ice hockey
, Canadian football
, soccer, and baseball
. Great achievements in Canadian sport are recognized by Canada's Sports Hall of Fame
, while the Lou Marsh Trophy
is awarded annually to Canada's top athlete by a panel of journalists.
Ice hockey, referred to as simply "hockey", is Canada's most prevalent winter sport, its most popular spectator sport, and its most successful sport in international competition as well as being Canada's official winter sport. Lacrosse, a sport with Native American origins, is Canada's oldest and official summer sport. Canadian football is Canada's second most popular spectator sport, and the Canadian Football League's annual championship, the Grey Cup, is the country's largest annual sports event. Association football, known in Canada as soccer in both English and French, has the most registered players of any sport in Canada.
Other popular team sports include curling, street hockey, cricket, rugby and softball. Cricket is the fastest growing sport in Canada currently. Popular individual sports include auto racing, boxing, cycling, golf, hiking, horse racing, ice skating, rodeo, skateboarding, skiing, snowboarding, swimming, tennis, triathlon, track and field, water sports, and wrestling. As a country with a generally cool climate, Canada has enjoyed greater success at the Winter Olympics than at the Summer Olympics, although significant regional variations in climate allow for a wide variety of both team and individual sports. Major multi-sport events in Canada include the 2010 Winter Olympics.
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The Victoria Skating Rink
was an indoor skating rink located in Montreal
, which opened in 1862. The building was used during winter seasons for pleasure skating, ice hockey and skating sports on a natural ice rink. In summer months, the building was used for various other events, including musical performances and horticultural shows. It was the first building in Canada to be electrified.
The Rink may be most famous for its connection to ice hockey history. It holds the distinction of having hosted the first-ever recorded organized indoor ice hockey match on March 3, 1875.The ice surface dimensions set the standard for today's North American ice hockey rinks. It was also the location of the first Stanley Cup playoff games in 1894 and the location of the founding of the first championship ice hockey league, the Amateur Hockey Association of Canada in 1886.
Frederic Stanley, the donor of the Stanley Cup, witnessed his first ice hockey game there in 1889. In 1896, telegraph wires were connected at the Rink to do simultaneous score-by-score description of a Stanley Cup challenge series between Montreal and Winnipeg, Manitoba teams, a first of its kind.
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Joseph Gilles Henri Villeneuve, better known as Gilles Villeneuve, (French pronunciation: [ʒil vilnœv]) (January 18, 1950 – May 8, 1982) was a Canadian racing driver. An enthusiast of cars and fast driving from an early age, he started his professional career in snowmobile racing in his native province of Quebec. He moved into single seaters, winning the US and Canadian Formula Atlantic championships in 1976, before being offered a drive in Formula One with the McLaren team at the 1977 British Grand Prix. He was taken on by reigning world champions Ferrari for the end of the season and from 1978 to his death in 1982 drove for the Italian team. He won six Grand Prix races in a short career at the highest level. In 1979 he finished second by four points in the championship to team-mate Jody Scheckter.
Villeneuve died in a 140 mph (225 km/h) crash with the March of Jochen Mass during qualifying for the 1982 Belgian Grand Prix at Zolder. The accident came less than two weeks after an intense argument with his team-mate, Didier Pironi, over Pironi's move to pass Villeneuve at the preceding San Marino Grand Prix. At the time of his death, Villeneuve was extremely popular with fans and has since become an iconic figure in the history of the sport. His son, Jacques Villeneuve, became Formula One world champion in 1997 and the only Canadian to win the Formula One World Championship.
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The Canada Masters
(also long known as the Canadian Open
), currently sponsored as the Rogers Cup
, is an annual tennis
tournament held in Canada
. The men's competition is a Masters 1000
event on the Association of Tennis Professionals
(ATP) tour. The women's competition is a Premier 5 tournament
on the Women's Tennis Association
(WTA) tour. The competition is played on hard courts
. The two competitions are currently held in separate weeks in the July-August period. The events alternate from year-to-year between the cities of Montreal
The event has a long and illustrious history. The men's tournament began in 1881, and was held at the Toronto Lawn Tennis Club, while the women's competition was first held in 1892. Of the major tennis tournaments in the world today, only Wimbledon and the US Open have been around as long. In 1989, two Canadian male tennis players, Grant Connell and Andrew Sznajder, reached the quarterfinals of the event. The women's tournament has recently been moved to just before the US Open grand slam tournament and is a Premier 5 event. The WTA's rules for 2010 require each year-end top-10 player from 2009 to participate in at least four Premier 5 tournaments during 2010.
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