Current season, competition or edition:|
2017 AFL Ontario season
|No. of teams||9|
|Division 1: Toronto Rebels Women: Etobicoke Kangaroos|
AFL Ontario is the largest Australian Football league in North America. It is currently composed of teams from the Greater Toronto Area, Southwestern Ontario and the National Capital Region, who play off for the Conacher Cup (named after Lionel Conacher), presently awarded to the winner of the annual AFL Ontario Grand Final.
In 2009, AFL Ontario established a second tier competition known as Division 2. The teams in this division compete for the Mike Pyke Cup (named after Mike Pyke) the first Canadian to play in the AFL who also won an AFL premiership in 2012. In 2011, with the increased interest in women's football, AFL Ontario established their Women's League with great success. With the help of the Ontario Trillium Foundation, 2011 also saw the development of AFL Ontario's junior competition. 2012 saw the women's division double in size to 6 teams competing, and the junior competition continued over the summer holidays.
In 2006, AFL Ontario had around 330 senior players consisting of over 170 Canadian nationals. With the rapid increase in awareness and interest in Australian football in Ontario, this has increased in 2012 with almost 650 senior men and women members.
AFL Ontario which was originally known as the Canadian Australian Football League (CAFA) and more recently as the Ontario Australian Football League (OAFL), was established in 1989. Two teams were formed that year - the Toronto Panthers and the Mississauga Mustangs, with a draft of interested players prior to a three-game season and Grand Final. The coaches of those inaugural teams - John Pearson (Toronto Panthers) and Terence Wallis (Mississauga Mustangs) brought a significant amount of experience from playing at a high level in Australia. An interesting fact is that the first Grand Final was attended by a number of AFL executives including Ron Barrassi and members of the West Coast Eagles and Melbourne Demons.
Founding members of the original competition include: Kingsley Ellis (ex-Fitzroy VFL - lead central Umpire, founder of the Hamilton Tigers), Terence Wallis (founded & coached the Mississauga then Toronto Dingos), Bill Frampton (Mississauga then founded the Brampton Bulldogs), Sandro Mancino (Toronto Eagles, Scarborough Rebels and then founded the Balmy Beach Saints). These pioneers set the foundation for the current competition. During the early years CAFA played a number of International games against visiting teams from Australia (Balmain FC, Golden Oldies touring team) as well as the team representing the Australian Rules league in England. The Canadian team narrowly missed beating the touring Australian teams over the years, but soundly defeated England on the four occasions that it played them (1990 - 1996) culminating in a strong win by the touring Canadian team in London (1996) coached by Terence Wallis.