The Amway Canadian Championship is a club football competition organized by the Canadian Soccer Association. The championship determines Canada's entry in the annual CONCACAF Champions League. Fully professional Canadian soccer teams play in United States based leagues. Prior to the creation of the official competition in 2007, there was no domestic competition to determine the best Canadian team. An unofficial Canadian Champion determined in the same manner as 2008-2010, a home and away series with the games taken from USL First Division (USL-1) regular season league games, was awarded by the Canadian national teams' supporters group, The Voyageurs. This unofficial Canadian Championship became less legitimate when Toronto was awarded a Major League Soccer (MLS) franchise to start play in 2007 in the USSF Division 1 MLS league above the USSF Division 2 USL-1 league. Toronto's USL-1 team self relegated, while the other two Canadian professional soccer teams did not play meaningful games against the new MLS team in 2007.
For the 2008-2009 season, CONCACAF changed their eight team FIFA Club World Cup qualification tournament from a two leg aggregate goals knockout elimination format, named the CONCACAF Champions Cup, to a format mirroring the UEFA Champions League with a play-in round, a group stage, and lastly a two-leg aggregate score knockout format for the final rounds. The format change for the 2008–09 CONCACAF Champions League provided the opportunity to expand the number of qualifying teams from different countries, and Canada was awarded a single entry in the play-in round preceding the group stage. The year 2008 was the first time a Canadian entry had been awarded by CONCACAF since 1992, and the first time a Canadian team participated since 1976. To award the new Canadian entry, the CSA created a new competition consisting of a home-and-away round-robin series between the three fully professional Canadian teams: Montreal Impact, Toronto FC and the Vancouver Whitecaps. As the Canadian champions, Montreal qualified for CONCACAF Champions League 2008–09.
In 2011 with the start of a fourth fully professional Canadian soccer team, F.C. Edmonton, the competition was changed from the home and away round robin series to a double-leg aggregate score knockout cup format with the two MLS teams seeded first and second, and NASL teams seeded third and fourth based on league standings of the previous year and the USSF tiering of Division 1 and Division 2. This format mitigated competitive concerns regarding already eliminated teams and the number of additional (extra to their regular league) games each team would be required to play during a season.
The winners of the Canadian Championship are awarded the Voyageurs Cup, a trophy previously awarded to the Canadian USL First Division side with the best regular season record against other Canadian USL-1 teams. Prior to 2008 there was no domestic cup competition open to top tier Canadian professional clubs only to amateur clubs. The Voyageurs developed a method of tracking league results between Canadian clubs to determine a professional Canadian champion. The USL was the highest level of Canadian soccer until in 2007 Toronto FC bought the first Canadian franchise in the US-based Division 1 league, Major League Soccer.
Prior to 2010, the tournament consisted of the top three professional teams in Canada in a home and away series with the top team winning entry into the qualifying stage of the CONCACAF Champions League. These teams were the only Canadian teams in the two top US-based professional soccer leagues, which for 2010 were Major League Soccer and the temporary USSF Division 2 Professional League. In 2011, the North American Soccer League received sanctioning as the USSF's new second-division league.
When FC Edmonton joined the NASL in 2011, the tournament was expanded to include the four most important professional clubs in the country. The tournament now consists of two two-legged semifinals and a two-legged final. In the first semifinal of 2011, Toronto, as reigning champions, was assigned the first-place seed and played Edmonton, which was assigned the fourth seed as newcomers to the tournament. The two remaining teams, Montreal and Vancouver, faced off in the other semifinal. This was to be followed by a one-game final to be hosted by the highest remaining seed; but the Canadian Soccer Association decided to go with a two-legged final instead. The format was repeated in subsequent years with the previous year's league placement being used to seed the teams.
For the 2014 competition, due to the introduction of the Ottawa Fury FC to the NASL, Ottawa and Edmonton will play in a play-off quarter final to see which team makes it to the semi-finals, in which the MLS teams will be introduced.
Statistics for Vancouver Whitecaps FC include the original Vancouver Whitecaps who took part in the tournament in the first three editions from 2008 through 2010. This team ceased operations in 2011 and was replaced by a new MLS franchise of the same name and ownership.
In 2012 the Montreal Impact of MLS replaced the former Montreal Impact of the NASL in the Canadian Championship. Statistics include data from both iterations of the Impact.
The George Gross Memorial Trophy was created by the Canadian Soccer Association in 2008 to recognize each tournament's most valuable player. The Trophy is named after the late George Gross, a respected journalist and soccer lover.