Sports in Canada

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Sports in Canada consists of a wide variety of games. There are many contests that Canadians value, the most common are ice hockey, lacrosse, Canadian football, basketball, soccer, curling and baseball, with ice hockey and lacrosse being the official winter and summer sports. Curling is regarded by Western Canadians to be the most important community sport. As you look at communities across the prairies one would be hard pressed not to find an active curling rink. Curling remains at the epicenter of the Western Canadian social experience due to the rinks incorporation of bars/lounges, a laid back atmosphere, and bonspiels.

Ice hockey, referred to as simply "hockey", is Canada's most prevalent winter sport,[1] its most popular spectator sport, and its most successful sport in international competition. It is Canada's official national winter sport.[1] Lacrosse, a sport with Native American origins, is Canada's oldest and official summer sport.[1] Canadian football is Canada's second most popular spectator sport,[2] and the Canadian Football League's annual championship, the Grey Cup, is the country's largest annual sports event.[3] While other sports have a larger spectator base, Association football, known in Canada as soccer in both English and French, has the most registered players of any team sport in Canada.[4] Professional teams exist in many cities in Canada. Statistics Canada[5] reports that the top ten sports that Canadians participate in are golf, ice hockey, swimming, soccer, basketball, baseball, volleyball, skiing (downhill and alpine), cycling and tennis.[6]

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. Great achievements in Canadian sports 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. There are numerous other Sports Halls of Fames in Canada.

History[edit]

The history of Canadian sports falls into five stages of development: early recreational activities before 1840; the start of organized competition, 1840-1880; the emergence of national organizations, 1882-1914; the rapid growth of both amateur and professional sports, 1914 to 1960; and developments of the last century [7] Some sports, especially hockey, lacrosse and curling enjoy an international reputation as particularly Canadian.[8]

Governance[edit]

Federal and provincial governments are both actively involved in sports each has areas of jurisdiction which overlap sports. Sport Canada generally directs (or at least co-ordinates) federal activity in sports. While the federal government generally tries to take a leadership role in areas of international competition (where its jurisdiction is clearest) some provinces, especially Quebec, are actively involved in sports at all levels, even with elite international athletes. Provinces will often focus on student athletics, as it falls more clearly in an area of provincial jurisdiction (that being education).[9]

University and collegiate sport[edit]

Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) is the national governing body for university sports, while the Canadian Colleges Athletic Association governs college sports. A factor which affects athletic participation levels in CIS member institutions is the CIS restriction that scholarships cover tuition only, drawing many of Canada's best student athletes to the United States where organizations such as the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) allow "full ride" scholarships which include tuition, books, housing, and travel. Another is the popular Canadian Hockey League (for male hockey players aged 15 to 20), which effectively serves as the primary development league for the professional National Hockey League, although CHL teams offer financial support for players who choose to play CIS hockey after leaving the CHL.

Official sports[edit]

Since its founding, Canada's official sport was lacrosse. In 1994, First Nations groups objected to a government bill that proposed establishing ice hockey as Canada's national sport, arguing that it neglected recognition of the game of lacrosse, a uniquely Native contribution. In response, the House of Commons amended a bill "to recognize hockey as Canada's Winter Sport and lacrosse as Canada's Summer Sport," although lacrosse is played all year, in all seasons, indoor and outdoors. On May 12, 1994, the National Sports of Canada Act came into force with these designations.[10]

Ice hockey[edit]

The modern form of ice hockey began in Canada in the late 19th century, and is widely considered Canada's national pastime, with high levels of participation by children, men and women at various levels of competition. The Stanley Cup, considered the premiere trophy in professional ice hockey, originated in Canada in 1893. Prominent trophies for national championships in Canada are the Memorial Cup for the top junior-age men's team and the Allan Cup for the top men's senior team. There are national championships in several other divisions of play. Hockey Canada is the sport's official governing body in Canada and is a member of the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF). A Canadian national men's team, composed of professionals, competes in the annual IIHF Men's World Championship and in the Olympics.

In terms of spectators, the most popular league is the professional National Hockey League, which has seven teams in Canada: the Calgary Flames, Edmonton Oilers, Montreal Canadiens, Ottawa Senators, Toronto Maple Leafs, Vancouver Canucks, and the Winnipeg Jets. The Canadian NHL presence peaked with eight teams in the mid-1990s, before the Quebec Nordiques relocated to Denver, Colorado in 1995 and a previous incarnation of the Winnipeg Jets relocated to Phoenix, Arizona in 1996. The NHL returned to Winnipeg in 2011 when the Atlanta Thrashers relocated and became the current Jets. The league, founded in Canada, retains a substantial Canadian content as roughly half of its players are Canadian. Hockey Night in Canada is a longtime national Saturday night television broadcast featuring Canadian NHL teams. Junior-age ice hockey is also a popular spectator sport. The junior-age Canadian Hockey League is broadcast nationally and its annual championship is a popular television event. The annual IIHF Men's Junior World Championship, played during December and January, is popular among Canadian television viewers and has been held in Canada numerous times due to its popularity.

Lacrosse[edit]

The First Nations began playing the sport more than 500 years ago. Today lacrosse not only remains an integral part of native culture, but is played by tens of thousands of people across Canada and the north eastern United States. From its origin as 'The Creator's Game' to the overwhelming popularity of the Toronto Rock and the modern game, lacrosse has survived the test of time after treading down a long, controversial path that led it to become recognized as Canada's official national sport.

The Canadian Lacrosse Association, founded in 1925, is the governing body of lacrosse in Canada. It conducts national junior and senior championship tournaments for men and women in both field and box lacrosse. It also participated in the inaugural World Indoor Lacrosse Championship in 2003. The National Lacrosse League is a professional box lacrosse league, with franchises in Canada and the United States. Major League Lacrosse is a professional field lacrosse league, with seven U.S. franchises and one Canadian franchise. The 2006 World Lacrosse Championship was held in London, Ontario. Canada beat the United States 15-10 in the final to break a 28-year U.S. winning streak. One of the best lacrosse players of all time, Gary Gait was born in Victoria, British Columbia and has won every possible major lacrosse championship. Great achievements in Canadian Lacrosse are recognized by the Canadian Lacrosse Hall of Fame.

Professional sports[edit]

There are Canada-based teams in several top-level professional sports leagues.

Soccer[edit]

A match between Impact de Montréal and New York Red Bulls at Saputo Stadium in 2012.

While association football, known as soccer in Canada in both English and French, has been played in the country since 1876, the Dominion of Canada Football Association was inaugurated on May 24, 1912, and initially became a member of the Fédération Internationale de Football Association on Dec. 31, 1912. Today, Canada's governing body for Association Football (both professional and amateur) is known as the Canadian Soccer Association.

Canada's annual professional competition is known as the Amway Canadian Championship. The five competing teams are Toronto FC, Vancouver Whitecaps FC, Impact de Montréal, FC Edmonton, and Ottawa Fury FC. The national champion qualifies for the CONCACAF Champions League from which a confederation champion then qualifies for the annual FIFA Club World Cup.

In league competition, Toronto FC, Vancouver Whitecaps FC and Impact de Montréal all play in the USA-based Major League Soccer. Meanwhile, FC Edmonton and Ottawa Fury FC play in the USA-based North American Soccer League.

Canada's best soccer players - male and female - play in professional leagues around the world. Players are called into the national program at different times of the year, primarily in conjunction with the FIFA International Calendar (when professional clubs are required to release players for national duty).

Canada's national teams compete in CONCACAF, the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football. Canada's national "A" team has won two CONCACAF championships: in 1985 to qualify for the FIFA World Cup and in 2000 to qualify for the FIFA Confederations Cup.

Canada's women's "A" team has also won two CONCACAF championships: in 1998 and 2010. The Canadian women have participated in five FIFA Women's World Cups (Sweden 1995, USA 1999, USA 2003, China 2007 and Germany 2011) and two Women's Olympic Football Tournaments (Beijing 2008 and London 2012), winning a bronze medal in London. Canada will also host the next FIFA Women's World Cup in 2015. The country has also hosted three age-grade World Cups—the FIFA U-17 World Cup in 1987 (when the age limit was 16 instead of the current 17), the inaugural FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup in 2002 (when the age limit was 19 instead of 20), and the FIFA U-20 World Cup in 2007. The U-20 Women's World Cup will return to Canada in 2014.

Baseball[edit]

The world's first documented baseball game took place in Beachville, Ontario on June 4, 1838. Although more strongly associated with the United States, baseball has existed in Canada from the very beginning. The world's oldest baseball park still in operation is Labatt Park in London, Ontario. It is home to the London Majors of the semi-pro Intercounty Baseball League and the London Rippers of the Frontier League.

A Toronto Blue Jays baseball game at Rogers Centre in Toronto.

The Toronto Blue Jays are Canada's only Major League Baseball team, founded in 1977. The Montreal Expos club played in Montreal from 1969 until 2004 when they moved to Washington, D.C. and became the Washington Nationals. The Blue Jays were the first non-American team to host a World Series Game (in 1992) and the only non-American team to win the World Series (back to back in 1992 and 1993). The Blue Jays had the highest attendance in Major League Baseball during the late 1980s and early 1990s. Professional baseball has a long history in Canada, beginning with teams such as the London Tecumsehs, Montreal Royals, and Toronto Maple Leafs in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. All three were included on the National Baseball Association's top 100 minor league teams.

A number of Canadians have played in the major leagues, and several have won the highest honours in baseball. Ferguson Jenkins won the National League Cy Young Award in 1971 as the best pitcher in the league, and in 1991 became the first Canadian inducted in the (U.S.) Baseball Hall of Fame. Larry Walker was National League MVP for the 1997 season and was the league's batting champion 3 times. Since 2000, Éric Gagné won the National League Cy Young Award in 2003, Jason Bay was the first Canadian to be named rookie of the year in 2004, and Justin Morneau (American League, 2006) and Joey Votto (National League, 2010) have won MVP honours.

Canada participated in the 2006 World Baseball Classic, in which it upset Team USA in first-round play,[11] which some people in Canada call the "Miracle on Dirt" (a play on the phrase "Miracle on Ice" for the 1980 U.S. Olympic Hockey team). There are a number of minor league, semi-professional and collegiate baseball teams in Canada (see List of baseball teams in Canada). Great achievements in Canadian baseball are recognized by the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame.

Football[edit]

In Canada, the term "football" is used to refer to a version of Gridiron football with several significant rule differences from the version played in the USA, hence it is known as Canadian football. The first documented football game was played at University College, University of Toronto on November 9, 1861. One of the participants in the game involving University of Toronto students was (Sir) William Mulock, later Chancellor of the school. A football club was formed at the university soon afterward, although its rules of play at this stage are unclear.

In 1864, at Trinity College, Toronto, F. Barlow Cumberland and Frederick A. Bethune devised rules based on rugby football. However, modern Canadian football is widely regarded as having originated with a game of rugby played in Montreal, in 1865, when British Army officers played local civilians. The game gradually gained a following, and the Montreal Football Club was formed in 1868, the first recorded non-university football club in Canada.

Both the Canadian Football League (CFL), the sport's only professional league, and Football Canada, the governing body for amateur play, trace their roots to 1884 and the founding of the Canadian Rugby Football Union. Currently active teams such as the Toronto Argonauts and Hamilton Tiger-Cats have similar longevity. The CFL's championship game, the Grey Cup, is the country's single largest sporting event and is watched by nearly one third of Canadian television households.[3] The nine CFL teams are the B.C. Lions, Calgary Stampeders, Edmonton Eskimos, Saskatchewan Roughriders, Winnipeg Blue Bombers, Toronto Argonauts, Hamilton Tiger-Cats, Montreal Alouettes, and Ottawa RedBlacks.

Basketball[edit]

A packed ACC in a Toronto Raptors game against the Milwaukee Bucks.

Basketball was invented by a Canadian named James Naismith while teaching in Massachusetts. Most of the players in that very first basketball game were students from Quebec. Basketball has been part of Canada's sporting landscape ever since.

The National Basketball Association (NBA) recognizes its first ever game as being a contest between the New York Knickerbockers and Toronto Huskies at Toronto's Maple Leaf Gardens on November 1, 1946.[12] The NBA expanded into Canada in 1995 with the addition of the Toronto Raptors and Vancouver Grizzlies. The Grizzlies moved to Memphis, Tennessee in 2001, but the Raptors continue to draw healthy crowds at the Air Canada Centre. The 2005 and 2006 NBA MVP, Los Angeles Lakers point guard Steve Nash, is from Victoria, British Columbia and has played in international competitions for Canada's national team.

Eight Canadians—six born in the country, one naturalized, and one U.S.-born dual citizen—were on NBA rosters at the start of the 2013–14 season.[13] The Canadian-born players are Montreal native Joel Anthony with the Miami Heat; Toronto natives Anthony Bennett and Cory Joseph, respectively with the Cleveland Cavaliers and San Antonio Spurs; Mississauga native Andrew Nicholson with the Orlando Magic; Kelly Olynyk, a Toronto native raised both there and in Kamloops, with the Boston Celtics; and Brampton native Tristan Thompson with the Cavaliers. The naturalized Canadian is the South Africa-born Nash. The remaining Canadian, Robert Sacre of the Lakers, was born in Baton Rouge to an American father and Canadian mother and raised in North Vancouver.

The 2013 NBA draft saw two Canadians, both Toronto natives who moved from the city as children, selected in the first round. Bennett, who developed as a player in Brampton, became the first Canadian ever to be picked first overall when he was chosen by the Cavaliers. Later in the round, Olynyk, who moved to Kamloops after his father became athletic director at Thompson Rivers University, was chosen by the Dallas Mavericks at #13 and immediately traded to the Celtics. This marked the first time two Canadians had been lottery picks in the same draft.

Amateur sports[edit]

Canadian athletes are world-ranked in many amateur sports. These include the 'winter' sports of alpine skiing, cross-country skiing, figure skating, freestyle skiing, snowboarding, speed skating and biathlon. In ice hockey, Canada supports national teams in under-20 and under-18 categories. In 'summer' sports, Canadians participate in rugby, soccer, disc ultimate, track and field among most sports presented in the Summer Olympics. There are sports federations for most sports in Canada. Funding for amateur athletics is provided by governments, private companies and individual citizens through donation.

Team sports[edit]

Baseball[edit]

Basketball[edit]

Basketball has very strong roots in Canada. The inventor, James Naismith, was Canadian; born in Almonte, Ontario, he was working as a physical education instructor in Massachusetts when he created the game in 1891. As many as 10 of the players in that first game were Canadian students from Quebec.[citation needed]

Basketball is a popular sport in parts of Canada, especially in Nova Scotia, Southern Alberta, and more recently Southern Ontario.

The popularity of basketball in Nova Scotia is at the high school and college level. Nova Scotia is home to three perennially strong college basketball programs. Saint Mary's University, Acadia University, and St. Francis Xavier University have made 22, 21, and 13 appearances in the Canadian University championship, respectively. Carleton University has dominated the Canadian University championship in recent years, winning six titles in seven years from 2003 to 2009.

Four Canadian-born individuals have been inducted to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame—Naismith and longtime U.S. college coach and instructor Pete Newell as contributors; Ernie Quigley, who officiated over 1,500 U.S. college games, as a referee; and Bob Houbregs, a superstar at the University of Washington in the early 1950s who went on to a career in the NBA. Newell is also separately recognized by the Hall as the head coach of the 1960 USA Olympic team, which won a gold medal in overwhelming fashion and was inducted as a unit in 2010.

Football[edit]

Football in Canada has its origins in Rugby football beginning in the early 1860s,[14] but, over time, a unique code known as Canadian football developed. The first documented football match was a game played at University College, University of Toronto on November 9, 1861. A football club was formed at the university soon afterwards, although its rules of play at this stage are unclear.

In 1864, at Trinity College, Toronto, F. Barlow Cumberland and Frederick A. Bethune devised rules based on rugby football. However, modern Canadian football is widely regarded as having originated with a game of rugby played in Montreal, in 1865, when British Army officers played local civilians. The game gradually gained a following, and the Montreal Football Club was formed in 1868, the first recorded non-university football club in Canada.

This rugby-football soon became popular at Montreal's McGill University. McGill challenged Harvard University to a game, in 1874. The game grew in parallel from this point onward in the USA and Canada.

Canadian football is also played at the high school, junior, collegiate, and semi-professional levels: the Canadian Junior Football League and Quebec Junior Football League are for players aged 18–22, many post-secondary institutions compete in Canadian Interuniversity Sport for the Vanier Cup, and senior leagues such as the Alberta Football League have grown in popularity in recent years. Great achievements in Canadian football are recognized by the Canadian Football Hall of Fame which is located in Hamilton, Ontario.

Australian rules football[edit]

Australian rules football in Canada is a fast growing team and spectator sport. The governing body for the sport in the country is AFL Canada. The sport has been played in the country since 1989 when the first league was formed. The sport is quickly becoming popular with the Ontario Australian Football League being the biggest outside of Australia. There are Canadian national teams with the Canada national Australian rules football team the men's team, and a women's national team both who regularly play international matches and play in the Australian Football International Cup which is essentially a World Cup for all countries apart from Australia which is the only place where the sport is played professionally. Mike Pyke, a native of Victoria, British Columbia and a former Canada Rugby International, became the first Canadian to play in the Australian Football League when he was drafted by the Sydney Swans in 2008. Pyke went on to become the first Canadian to play on an AFL premier (championship-winning team) when the Swans won the 2012 AFL Grand Final.

Cricket[edit]

While Canada is not sanctioned to play Test matches, the national team does take part in One Day International (ODI) matches (there are a few grounds in Canada that are sanctioned to host ODI's by the International Cricket Council or ICC) and also in first-class games (in the ICC Intercontinental Cup) against other non-Test-playing opposition, with the rivalry against the United States being as strong in cricket as it is in other team sports. The match between these two nations is in fact the oldest international fixture in cricket, having first been played in 1844. This international fixture even predates the Olympics by over 50 years.

The most famous Canadian cricketer is John Davison, who was born in Canada and participated in the Cricket World Cup in 2003, 2007 and 2011. At the 2003 World Cup, Davison hit the fastest century in tournament history against the West Indies in what was ultimately a losing cause. In that World Cup he also smashed a half-century at a strike rate of almost 200 against New Zealand. One year later, in the ICC Intercontinental Cup against the USA, he proved the difference between the two sides, taking 17 wickets for 137 runs as well as scoring 84 runs of his own. In the 2007 Cricket World Cup in the West Indies, Davison scored the second-fastest half-century against New Zealand. Canada has participated in the 1979, 2003 and 2007 Cricket World Cups. It also participated most recently in the ICC Cricket World Cup in 2011.

Canada Senior Men's team qualified in April 2009 at the ICC World Cup qualifier held in South Africa to compete in 2011 World Cup, their third World Cup appearance in a row.[15]

Curling[edit]

Curling is most popular in the prairie provinces with the most competitive teams in recent years coming from the provinces of Alberta and Manitoba. However, curling has a degree of popularity across the country. For example, a team from Quebec, which is not a traditional hotbed of curling, won the Tim Hortons Brier (national men's championship) in 2006. The Scotties Tournament of Hearts is the national women's championship. The Canadian Curling Association is the sport's national governing body; great achievements are recognized by the Canadian Curling Hall of Fame.

Rugby union[edit]

Canada men's national team at the 2011 Rugby World Cup

Canada has around 13,000 seniors and twice as many junior players spread across the country. Many of these come from Canada's rugby stronghold of British Columbia while also being strong in Newfoundland and Ontario. The leading domestic competition is the Americas Rugby Championship (ARC), a competition sponsored by the sport's world governing body, the International Rugby Board, in which four regionally based Canadian teams take part in the opening phase, with the top two teams advancing to a four-team playoff with teams from Argentina and the United States. When the ARC was established in 2009, the sport's domestic governing body, Rugby Canada, scrapped its previous national competition, the Rugby Canada Super League, in favour of a new national under-20 league, the Rugby Canada National Junior Championship. Also in 2009, Rugby Canada entered into a partnership with the Welsh Rugby Union by which the new Welsh regional side RGC 1404, created to develop the sport in North Wales, would also include a number of young Canadian players.

The Canadian national side have competed in every Rugby World Cup to date, yet have only won one match each tournament with the exception of the 1991 tournament where they reached the quarter finals and the 2007 tournament when their best result was a draw against Japan in the group stage.

Highlights include famous victories over Scotland and Wales, and regular wins over their North American neighbours, the United States. Known for their trademark "hard nosed" style of play, many Canadian players play their trade professionally in English and French leagues.

Soccer[edit]

While Association football (soccer) has been played in Canada since 1876, the Dominion of Canada Football Association was inaugurated on May 24, 1912, and initially became a member of the Fédération Internationale de Football Association on Dec. 31, 1912. Today, Canada's governing body for Association Football (both professional and amateur) is known as the Canadian Soccer Association.

Soccer is the highest participation sport in Canada, with 847,616 registered players (according to the Canada Soccer 2012 Yearbook). Male/female participation is split roughly 59/41 percent. There are 1,456 clubs in 139 districts across 12 regions (provincial and territory member associations).

Canada's annual amateur competition is known as the National Championships. Senior men's teams play for The Challenge Trophy while senior women's teams play for The Jubilee Trophy. The men's national competition was first played in 1913, with the trophy (Connaught Cup) donated by Canadian Governor-General, the Duke of Connaught. The women's national competition was first played in 1982.

The Canadian Soccer Association's annual National Championships also feature competitions at the U-18, U-16 and U-14 levels. At all levels, clubs qualify for the National Championships through their respective provincial championships.

From 1967 to 1988, Canada's best men's amateur footballers also participated in Olympic Qualifying tournaments (although in the 1980s a number of those players were indeed professional). Canada qualified as host of the Montréal 1976 Olympics and then again for the Los Angeles 1984 Olympics (where it finished fifth overall). Since the early 1990s, the Men's Olympic Qualifying tournaments have featured U-23 footballers (with a mix of professional and amateur/university players).

At the St. Louis 1904 Olympics, Canada won the gold medal in Association Football. The Canadian team was represented by Galt FC of Ontario.

Ultimate and Disc Sports (Frisbee)[edit]

Australia vs Canada, ultimate players at the 2012 WUGC in Japan. Ultimate Canada

In Canada organized disc sports, began in the early 1970s, with promotional efforts from Irwin Toy, the Canadian Open Frisbee Championships, Toronto (1972-85) and professionals using Frisbee show tours to perform at universities, fairs and sporting events. Disc sports such as freestyle, double disc court, guts, disc ultimate and disc golf became this sports first events.[16][17] Two sports, the team sport of disc ultimate and disc golf are very popular worldwide and are now being played semi-professionally.[18][19] The World Flying Disc Federation, Professional Disc Golf Association, and the Freestyle Players Association are the rules and sanctioning organizations for flying disc sports worldwide. Ultimate Canada is the rules and sanctioning organization for disc ultimate in Canada.

Disc ultimate is a team sport played with a flying disc. The object of the game is to score points by passing the disc to members of your own team, on a rectangular field, 120 yards (110m) by 40 yards (37m), until you have successfully completed a pass to a team member in the opposing teams end zone. In the 1970s, Ken Westerfield introduced disc ultimate, along with other disc sports, North of the 49th parallel at the Canadian Open Frisbee Championships and by starting the Toronto Ultimate League (Club).[20] As of 2012, Canada is currently ranked number one in the Ultimate World Rankings according to the World Flying Disc Federation.[21] In 2013, as a founding partner, the Toronto Ultimate Club presented Canada's first semi professional ultimate team the Toronto Rush, [22][23] to the American Ultimate Disc League (AUDL). They finished their first season undefeated 18-0 and won the AUDL Championships.[24][25][26] The American Ultimate Disc League (AUDL) and Major League Ultimate (MLU) are the first semi professional ultimate leagues.

Individual sports[edit]

Motorsport[edit]

The Canadian Grand Prix Formula One auto race had been conducted every year since 1967, and since 1978 had been held at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal, apart from 2009 when the race was not on the FIA calendar for one year.[27] The track was named for Canada's first Grand Prix driver, the late Gilles Villeneuve, whose son, Jacques, won the Formula One World championship in 1997.

Several Canadians have starred in American Championship Car Racing, most notably Jacques Villeneuve, who won the 1995 CART championship and Indianapolis 500 before moving to Formula One, and Paul Tracy, who captured the 2003 CART title and collected 31 race wins. Races were held in Mont-Tremblant and Mosport road courses and in street circuits in Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver and Edmonton. In 2008, Champ Car merged with its long-time rival, the Indy Racing League, under the banner of the latter body's top series, the IndyCar Series. The Edmonton was transferred over to the new series immediately, and the Toronto event was added for 2009.

CASCAR (the Canadian Association for Stock Car Auto Racing) was the country's governing body for amateur and professional stock car racing, and the CASCAR Super Series was the highest-level stock car racing series in the country. In 2006, NASCAR purchased CASCAR and rebranded the Super Series as the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series; nevertheless, the series remains Canada's top-level stock car racing circuit. In 2007 the Castrol Canadian Touring Car Championship was formed.

Because Canada is NASCAR's largest market outside the United States, NASCAR brought the NAPA Auto Parts 200 Busch Series (now Nationwide Series) race to Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in 2007.[28] The race remained on the schedule until being discontinued after the 2012 season. Beginning the next year, NASCAR brought the Camping World Truck Series to Mosport with the Chevy Silverado 250.

Canadians have combined to win 53 races in American Championship Car Racing (Including 1 Indianapolis 500), 17 races in Formula 1 and 7 races in NASCAR's top 3 divisions (1 in Sprint Cup).

Bowling[edit]

The sport of bowling takes several forms in Canada, including ten-pin and lawn bowling, but most notably Canada has its own version: Five-pin bowling, which was invented circa 1909 by Thomas F. Ryan in Toronto, Ontario, at his Toronto Bowling Club, in response to customers who complained that the ten-pin game was too strenuous. He cut five tenpins down to about 75% of their size, and used hand-sized hard rubber balls, thus inventing the original version of five-pin bowling.[29] Five-pin is played in all parts of Canada, but not played in any other country. Candlepin bowling is played at several centres in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.

Boxing[edit]

The sport of boxing has a long history in Canada. Canada has produced several world champions, including heavyweights Tommy Burns and Lennox Lewis. Boxing is generally learned in independent gyms, located in most large Canadian cities. Canadian boxers compete in the Olympic Games and often then turn professional.

Golf[edit]

Golf is a widely enjoyed recreational sport in Canada, and the country boasts several highly rated courses. Golf Canada, historically the Royal Canadian Golf Association, is the governing organization, and has over 1,600 associated member clubs and over 300,000 individual members.[30] Golf Canada also conducts the only PGA Tour and LPGA tour events in Canada, and it also manages the Canadian Golf Hall of Fame. PGA Tour Canada, formerly known as the "Peter Jackson Tour" and "Canadian Professional Golf Tour" (or Canadian Tour), owned and operated by the PGA Tour since late 2012, operates an organization that runs a series of tournaments for professional players. In its first season under PGA Tour operation in 2013, it held a qualifying school in California, and followed it with nine tournaments in Canada. The 2014 season will see significant expansion. Three qualifying schools are being held—one in California, another in Florida, and finally in British Columbia. After the BC qualifying school, the main season will consist of 12 tournaments, all in Canada. The top five money-winners on the tour earn full membership in the following season of the PGA Tour's second-level Web.com Tour.

Ontario's Mike Weir won the 2003 Masters, becoming the first Canadian man to win one of golf's majors. The first Canadian to win any recognized major championship was Sandra Post, winner of the LPGA Championship in 1968. From 1979 through 2000, the du Maurier Classic (now known as the Canadian Women's Open) was one of the LPGA's four majors.

Cycling[edit]

Cycling has increased its participation in the past few years. Several new genres of the sport have become popular in Canada, including slopestyle competition, four cross, downhill racing, dirt jumping, and free-ride. With the sport increasing bikes have also increased in quality and durability.

Wrestling[edit]

Wrestling in Canada is very popular both as a recreational and as a competitive sport, and takes a variety of forms, reflecting Canada's diverse and multicultural makeup. At the middle, high school and collegiate level there is a broad-based varsity participation in Freestyle Wrestling and Greco-Roman Wrestling. Outside of schools among the general population, the dominant forms of wrestling are Judo, Submission Grappling, Brazilian Jiu-jitsu and Sambo. Each of these forms of wrestling was brought to Canada from abroad both by coaches who immigrated to Canada from elsewhere and by students of the sport who studied it overseas and carried enthusiasm for the sport back with them when they returned. Examples of famous Canadian wrestlers among these various wrestling sports are such as Daniel Igali for Freestyle Wrestling, Nicolas Gill, Ron Angus and Keith Morgan for Judo, Marc Bocek for both Submission Grappling and Brazilian Jiu-jitsu. Canada has a strong showing on the international scene, at world championships and at the Olympics in all these wrestling sports.

Mixed martial arts[edit]

MMA is a young and growing sport in Canada,[citation needed] which has produced several notable fighters in the UFC and other promotions. Canada is the home of the current UFC Welterweight Champion Georges St-Pierre.

Shooting sports[edit]

The shooting sports are a part of Canada's cultural heritage. Canadians enjoy participating in the various disciplines that make up this broad sport.

At the recreational level individuals and families can be found across the nation improving their marksmanship skills at various private and public shooting ranges. Hunting is also a popular activity due to Canada's vast wilderness and pioneer past.[31]

At the competitive level, many Canadians train in Olympic events. There are also a variety of other competitive shooting sports that operate provincially, nationally and internationally through their respective organizations.

Judo[edit]

The Japanese martial art Judo has been practised in Canada for nearly a century. The first Judo dojo in Canada, Tai Iku Dojo, was established in Vancouver in 1924 by Shigetaka "Steve" Sasaki.[32] Today, an estimated 30,000 Canadians participate in Judo programs in approximately 400 clubs across Canada.[33]

Canadians have won five Olympic medals in Judo since it was added to the Summer games in 1964. Doug Rogers won silver in the +80 kg category in 1964, Mark Berger won bronze in the +95 kg category in 1984, Nicolas Gill won bronze in the 86 kg category in 1992 and silver in the 100 kg category in 2000, and Antoine Valois-Fortier won bronze in the -81 kg category in 2012. The Canadian Judo team trains at the National Training Centre in Montreal under Gill's direction.[34]

Multi-sport events[edit]

Runners at the 2001 Canada Games in London, Ontario.
Adam van Koeverden, Olympic gold medallist in flatwater kayak racing.
Clara Hughes, multiple medallist at both the Summer and Winter Olympics.

Major multi-sport events with Canadian participation, or that have taken place in Canada, are the Olympic Games, Commonwealth Games, Canada Games, Word Championships in Athletics, Pan American Games, and the Universiade. Others include the North American Indigenous Games, the World Police and Fire Games, and the Gay Games.

Canada Games[edit]

The Canada Games is a high-level multi-sport event with held every two years in Canada, alternating between the Canada Winter Games and the Canada Summer Games. Athletes are strictly amateur only, and represent their province or territory. Since their inception, the Canada Games have played a prominent role in developing some of Canada's premier athletes, including Lennox Lewis, Catriona LeMay Doan, Hayley Wickenheiser, Sidney Crosby, Martin Brodeur, Steve Nash, Suzanne Gaudet and David Ling. The Games were first held in 1967 in Quebec City as part of Canada's Centennial celebrations. Similar events are held on the provincial level, such as the annual BC Games.

Commonwealth Games[edit]

Canada is one of only six nations to have attended every Commonwealth Games, and hosted the first ever British Empire Games in 1930 in Hamilton, Ontario. Canada also hosted the 1954 British Empire and Commonwealth Games in Vancouver, British Columbia, the 1978 Commonwealth Games in Edmonton, Alberta, and the 1994 Commonwealth Games in Victoria, British Columbia. Canada ranks third in the all-time medal tally of Commonwealth Games. Halifax, Nova Scotia had been nominated as Canada's selection to host the 2014 Commonwealth Games before it withdrew its bid due to unacceptably high cost projections.

Olympic Games[edit]

Canada has competed at every Olympic Games, except for the first games in 1896 and the boycotted games in 1980. Canada has previously hosted the games three times, at the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal, the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary, and the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.

At the summer games, the majority of Canada's medals come from the sports of athletics, aquatics (swimming, synchronized swimming and diving), rowing and canoeing/kayaking. In the post-boycott era (since 1988), Canada's medal total ranks 19th in the world, with the highest rank of 11th in 1992 and the lowest of 24th in 2000.

At the winter games, Canada is usually one of the top nations in terms of medals won. Canada is traditionally strong in the sports of ice hockey, speed skating (especially the short track variation), figure skating and every Canadian men's and women's curling teams have won medals since the sport was added to the Olympic program.

After Canada failed to win any gold medals at the 1976 Summer and 1988 Winter games, several organizations including Sport Canada and the Canadian Olympic Committee collaborated to launch "Own the Podium – 2010", a development program to help Canada earn the most medals at the 2010 Games. Canada did not win the most total medals at the Vancouver Olympics (they finished third, behind the United States, whose 37 total medals was the most of any country at a single Winter Olympics, and Germany, with 26), but did win the most gold medals, with 14, the most of any country at a single Winter Olympics.

The National Sport School in Calgary, founded 1994, is the first Canadian high school designed exclusively for Olympic-calibre athletes.

Other events sanctioned by the IOC[edit]

Paralympics[edit]
Youth Olympics[edit]
Deaflympics[edit]

Other International Competitions[edit]

Pan American Games[edit]

Canada has participated in each of the Pan American Games since the second edition of the games, held in Mexico City in 1955. The fifth games took place in Winnipeg in 1967, Canada's Centennial year. Winnipeg hosted again in 1999. Toronto has been selected as the host city for the 2015 games, which will be held in July, 2015 in venues located in Toronto and its surrounding municipalities.[35]

Jeux de la Francophonie[edit]

Goodwill Games[edit]

Universiade[edit]

North American Indigenous Games[edit]

World Police and Fire Games[edit]

Arctic Winter Games[edit]

Media[edit]

Major television broadcasters of sports in Canada include the CBC Television, Télévision de Radio-Canada, The Sports Network (TSN), Réseau des sports (RDS), Rogers Sportsnet, and The Score. A consortium led by CTVglobemedia outbid CBC for the broadcast rights to the 2010 Winter Olympics and 2012 Summer Olympics. Major national weekly sports broadcasts include Hockey Night In Canada and Friday Night Football. There are sports radio stations in most major Canadian cities as well as on satellite radio.

Sports Rankings[edit]

Sport Men's Women's
Baseball (IBAF World Rankings) 6 3
Basketball (FIBA World Rankings) 23 9
Cricket (World Cricket League) 16 -
Curling (WCF World Rankings) 1 2
Soccer (FIFA World Rankings
and FIFA Women's World Rankings)
68 7
Ice hockey (IIHF World Ranking) 2 2
Rugby union (IRB World Rankings) 14 -
Tennis (ITF Rankings) 13 21
Ultimate (WFDF World Rankings) 1 3
Volleyball (FIVB World Rankings) 18 22

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "National Sports of Canada Act (1994)". Consolidated Statutes and Regulations. Department of Justice. Retrieved 2006-07-20. 
  2. ^ Canadian Press (June 8, 2006). "Survey: Canadian interest in pro football is on the rise". Globe and Mail. Retrieved June 8, 2006. 
  3. ^ a b William Houston (December 20, 2006). "Grey Cup moves to TSN in new deal". The Globe And Mail. Retrieved 2006-12-23. [dead link]
  4. ^ "Canada's hockey obsession leading to burnout among young players". Canada.com. September 16, 2008. 
  5. ^ http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/81-595-m/81-595-m2008060-eng.pdf
  6. ^ "Most practised sports by Canadians, 2005". Statistics Canada. Retrieved 12 June 2012. 
  7. ^ Barbara Schrodt, "Problems of Periodization in Canadian Sport History," Canadian Journal of History of Sport (1990) 21#1 pp 65-76.
  8. ^ Heather Mair, "Curling in Canada: From Gathering Place to International Spectacle," International Journal of Canadian Studies (2007), Issue 35, pp 39-60
  9. ^ 'Taking Sports Seriously' 3rd edition Thompson Educational Publishing
  10. ^ [National Sports of Canada Act http://www.canlii.org/en/ca/laws/stat/sc-1994-c-16/latest/sc-1994-c-16.html]
  11. ^ "ESPN - U.S. rallies, but can't overcome 8-0 hole vs. Canada - MLB". Sports.espn.go.com. 2006-03-09. Retrieved 2011-02-25. 
  12. ^ Goldpaper, Sam. "The First Game". Retrieved 2009-05-10. 
  13. ^ "NBA Tips Off 2013-14 Season With Record International Player Presence" (Press release). National Basketball Association. October 29, 2013. Retrieved January 5, 2014. 
  14. ^ "Canadian Football Timelines (1860 – present)". Football Canada. Archived from the original on 2007-02-28. Retrieved 2006-12-23. 
  15. ^ "ICC President congratulates four qualifiers for ICC Cricket World Cup 2011". Iccworldcupqualifier.yahoo.net. 2009-04-20. Retrieved 2011-02-25. 
  16. ^ "World Flying Disc Federation". WFDF Official Website. Retrieved October 19, 2013. 
  17. ^ "World Flying Disc Federation". History of the Flying Disc. Retrieved October 20, 2013. 
  18. ^ "Professional Disc Golf Association". PDGA Official Website. Retrieved October 19, 2013. 
  19. ^ "American Ultimate Disc League". AUDL Official Website. Retrieved October 20, 2013. 
  20. ^ "Toronto Ultimate". Hall of Fame Ken Westerfield. Retrieved January 4, 2013. 
  21. ^ "WFDF World Ultimate Rankings". World Flying Disc Federation. Retrieved January 14, 2013. 
  22. ^ "Toronto Rush Ultimate". Retrieved January 4, 2013. 
  23. ^ The Toronto Star "Toronto Ultimate Franchise Ultimate". Retrieved January 4, 2013. 
  24. ^ "AUDL". Retrieved March 4, 2013. 
  25. ^ "Toronto Rush". Founding Partners. Retrieved March 4, 2013. 
  26. ^ "Toronto Rush". History of Ultimate. Retrieved March 4, 2013. 
  27. ^ "FIA issue revised 2009 calendar". Retrieved 2008-10-07. 
  28. ^ "Nascar.Com". Nascar.Com. 2011-02-19. Retrieved 2011-02-25. 
  29. ^ "C5PBA". C5pba.ca. 1962-11-19. Retrieved 2011-02-25. 
  30. ^ "About Us". Golf Canada. Retrieved May 22, 2011. 
  31. ^ http://www.outdoors.ca/en-CA/Articles/HuntingInCanada.aspx
  32. ^ "History of Judo in Canada". Vernon Judo Club Website. Retrieved 1 August 2012. 
  33. ^ "The History of Judo". Judo Canada Website. Retrieved 1 August 2012. 
  34. ^ "Contact Us". Judo Canada Website. Retrieved 1 August 2012. 
  35. ^ "How a Toronto Pan Am Games would look". Network.nationalpost.com. Retrieved 2011-02-25. 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]