Canadian women have participated in every Olympic Winter Games since their inception in 1924. The first Canadian woman to medal at the Games was figure skater Barbara Ann Scott, who won gold in 1948. Her success was followed by gold medals in such sports as alpine skiing (e.g., Anne Heggtveit in 1960 and Nancy Greene in 1968), speed skating (e.g., Catriona Le May Doan in 1998 and 2002 and Cindy Klassen in 2006), biathlon (Myriam Bédard 1994), and hockey (2002, 2006, 2010 and 2014). Canadian women have also excelled in Olympic sports such as bobsled, snowboarding, short track speed skating, freestyle skiing, and curling. Since the 1948 Olympic Winter Games in St. Moritz, Switzerland, Canadian women have won 88 Olympic medals, including 33 gold medals.
Snowboarding is the sport of riding a large flat ski downhill over snow. Unlike downhill skiing, snowboarding does not require the use of poles and both feet are placed sideways on the same board. A relative newcomer to the family of winter sports, snowboarding began to gain popularity in the 1960s and rose in status from the latest "gimmick" to an accredited Olympic event in 1998, a relatively short period of time. Canadians have had great success over the years in international snowboarding at the Olympic Winter Games, Winter X Games and World Snowboarding Championships. Eight Canadian snowboarders have won Olympic medals — Ross Rebagliati, Dominique Maltais, Mike Robertson, Maëlle Ricker, Jasey-Jay Anderson, Mark McMorris, Max Parrot and Laurie Blouin. Rebagliati, Ricker and Anderson won Olympic gold, while Maltais and McMorris are multiple medallists.
Curling is a sport in which two teams of four players each send stones over an ice surface toward a target circle in an attempt to place nearest the centre. In Canada, curling has steadily grown in popularity since the first club was formed in Montréal in 1807. The national championships (Brier, Scotties) and Olympic trials are among some of the most popular sporting events in the country, and many winners of these tournaments have also achieved victory on the international stage. Curling is one of the country’s most popular sports, and is the most televised women’s sport in Canada.
The Coloured Hockey League of the Maritimes (CHL) was an all-Black men's hockey league founded in 1895 in Halifax, NS. Organized by Black Baptists and Black intellectuals, the league was designed as a way to attract young Black men to Sunday worship with the promise of a recreational hockey match between rival churches following religious services. Later, with the influence of the Black Nationalism Movement of the period — and with rising interest in the sport of hockey — the league came to be seen as a potential driving force for the equality of Black Canadians.
The Edmonton Eskimos are a community-owned football team that plays in the West Division of the Canadian Football League (CFL). In the CFL’s modern era (post-Second World War), the Eskimos have won the Grey Cup championship 14 times, second only to the 16 championships held by the Toronto Argonauts. This included three victories in a row from 1954 to 1956 and an unprecedented five straight championships from 1978 to 1982. The club also holds a North American professional sports record for reaching the playoffs in 34 consecutive seasons between 1972 and 2005. Notable Eskimos alumni include former Alberta premiers Peter Lougheed and Don Getty, former lieutenant-governor of Alberta Norman Kwong and former Edmonton mayor Bill Smith.
The Calgary Stampeders are a professional football team that plays in the West Division of the Canadian Football League (CFL). The Stampeders are one of the nine founding teams of the CFL and have won the Grey Cup seven times. The team played its first game in 1945 and has won the second-most CFL West Division championships, with 16.
The Montreal Alouettes are a Canadian Football League (CFL) franchise located in Montréal, Québec. The team was founded in 1946 and played until 1987 before folding due to financial difficulties (from 1982 to 1986, the team was known as the Montreal Concordes). In 1996, the Baltimore Stallions relocated to Montréal and were renamed the Alouettes, reviving the franchise. The Alouettes play in the East Division and have won seven Grey Cup championships.
The Hamilton Tiger-Cats are a professional team in the Canadian Football League (CFL). The franchise dates back to the formation of the Hamilton Football Club (the Tigers) in November 1869. The Tigers and another Hamilton football team, the Wildcats, amalgamated as the Tiger-Cats for the 1950 season and played in the Inter-provincial Rugby Football Union (IRFU), which became the Eastern Conference of the CFL in 1960. Since the early 20th century, the Tigers and Tiger-Cats have been associated with a tough, physical brand of football that reflects the blue-collar roots of Hamilton as an industrial city. The team’s iconic cheer, “Oskie Wee Wee, Oskie Waa Waa, Holy Mackinaw, Tigers… Eat ’em Raw!” is well known throughout Canada and dates back to the early 20th century. The Tiger-Cats have won the Grey Cup 13 times, including five times as the Tigers.
The Saskatchewan Roughriders are a team that plays in the Western Conference of the Canadian Football League. They are the oldest continuously operating professional football club in western Canada, and second only to the Toronto Argonauts of the Eastern Conference in length of history. One of only three community owned football teams in the CFL, they play their games in Regina, the least populated sports market in Canada; only the Green Bay Packers of the National Football League are based in a smaller centre. Like the Packers, however, the Roughriders are famed for the intensity of their supporters, known as “Rider Nation,” many of whom live well beyond the borders of Saskatchewan.
Montreal Canadiens are a hockey team that plays in the National Hockey League (NHL). The Canadiens are the only existing NHL club to have formed prior to the league’s inception in 1917, and are the only team to have operated continuously throughout the league’s history. The Canadiens have won 24 Stanley Cup championships.
Basketball is a game played between two teams of five players each. The objective is to score by throwing a ball through a netted hoop located at each end of the court. Invented by Canadian James Naismith in 1891, while he was teaching at the YMCA in Springfield, Massachusetts, basketball is now one of the most popular sports in the world.
The National Hockey League (NHL) is a men’s professional ice hockey league. Widely recognized as the world’s premier hockey league, it was established in Montréal, Québec, in 1917. The league currently includes 31 franchises: 7 in Canada and 24 in the United States. The Canadian teams are the Montreal Canadiens, Toronto Maple Leafs, Ottawa Senators, Winnipeg Jets, Edmonton Oilers, Calgary Flames and Vancouver Canucks. Teams compete annually for the Stanley Cup, the oldest professional sports trophy in North America.
The Lou Marsh Trophy is awarded annually to Canada's best athlete, as decided by a committee of Canadian sports journalists. Named after Louis Edwin Marsh, a former sports editor of the Toronto Star, the trophy was first awarded in 1936. It was not awarded from 1942 to 1944, during the Second World War. The most recent recipient is swimmer Penny Oleksiak (2016).