We’re the land of Tim Horton’s and apologizes. The only thing more famous than our brutal winters – and the crazy antics we’ve been known to get up to during them – is our kindness, and welcoming borders. If you want to go somewhere nice, go to Canada, but what about our sports? Aside from our constant obsession with hockey, what exactly is up with Canadian sports?
Well, this Canada Day, we’ve collected a few stats, and facts for you on sports from the True North:
- Lacrosse, Canada’s official summer sport, originate as a means to keep aboriginal warriors in fighting shape; it was then appropriated by the French in the mind-1800s. Although hockey is the more famous of the two sports, Lacrosse, it can be argued, is more uniquely North American.
- The Queen’s Plate, held today at Toronto’s Woodbine Racetrack, is the oldest continuously run horse race in North America; this year it has been rescheduled from June 27th, to September 12th.
- Mike Weir was the first Canadian to win the Masters in 2003. He is the only Canadian to have won a professional major championship. As a side note, he was also the first left hander to win the Masters as well.
- Basketball is a Canadian Sport! At least, Ontario born Dr. James Naismith helped form Basketballs modern rules in the 1890s – which is as good as making it Canadian.
- The Toronto Blue Jays were the fastest American League expansion team to win the world series, winning only 16 years after they were founded in 1992 (And then again in 1993)
- Unsurprisingly, Hockey and Football are the most popular professional sports in Canada.
- Continuing on the theme of winning, Canadian women really put on a show in 1928 when women were first allowed to participate in track and field events at the Olympics. The Canadian women won two gold, two silver and a bronze, giving them the best showing of the participating countries that year.
- Although Lacrosse and curling are two highly iconic Canadian sports, they have only limited public appeal.
- For five years, there were two Canadian Basketball teams. The Vancouver Grizzlies were founded the same years as the Toronto Raptors, in 1995, but were then relocated to Memphis in 2000.
- The Olympics have been hosted in Canada 3 times: Montreal (Summer, 1976) , Calgary (Winter, 1988) and Vancouver (Winter, 2010).
- Another one to add to the long list of sports that wouldn’t be possible without a Canadian: Ringette was invented in Canada by Sam Jacks, in 1963.
- The Montreal Canadiens are the oldest team in the NHL & one of the oldest continuously existing sports franchises in the world.
- Elizabeth Graham, a goal tender for the Queen’s University Women’s Hockey team, became the first goal tender in hockey to wear a mask when she donned a fencing mask in a game against the Toronto Varsity Blues in February 1927.
- Founded in 1873, The Royal Montreal Golf Club is the oldest golf club in North America.
- Babe Ruth hit his first professional home run at Maple Leaf Park in Toronto Island. Rumour states the ball went into the water, and could still be there to this day.
- Moreover, supposedly, the first recorded game of baseball was played in Beachville, Ontario on June 4th, 1838 a year before American Abner Doubleday is credited with founding the sport.
- The First National Basketball Association game was played in Toronto, Canada. Unfortunately, the Toronto Huskies lost, 68 to 66.
- And finally, as it should be, a Canadian Team, the Winnipeg Falcons, was the first team to win an Olympic gold medal in Hockey at the 1920 Antwerp (Belgium) games. What might not be as expected is that Antwerp was a summer Olympics; hockey was moved to Winter at the following event in 1924. The sport was moved permanently to the Winter Olympics in 1924 (Don’t worry, Canada won gold there too).