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Macleans

Curling: Special Report

Sean O'Hare is a little nervous as he stares through the windows of the Fort Simpson Curling Club at the action on the ice below. It is clear that he is trying to figure out just what exactly the people are doing with the rocks and brooms.

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Canadian Sports History

Sports have a long history in Canada, from early Indigenous games (e.g., baggataway) to more recent sports such as snowboarding and kitesurfing. Officially, Canada has two national sports: lacrosse (summer) and hockey (winter).

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Montreal Expos

The first Canadian team admitted to baseball's National League, the Expos began playing in 1969 at Jarry Park in Montréal's north end.

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Ice Hockey in Canada

Hockey is Canada's official national winter sport and perhaps its greatest contribution to world sport. Canada is considered the birthplace of ice hockey, and Canadians generally regard the sport as their own.

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Royal St John's Regatta

The Prince of Wales, later Edward VII, visited in 1860 and offered £100 to the winner. Times improved in the late 19th century, and in 1901 a crew from Outer Cove set a record time, 9:13.75, that was not broken until 1981 (the crew has been elected to the CANADA SPORTS HALL OF FAME).

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Edmonton Grads

The Edmonton Grads (1915–40) was a women’s championship basketball team coached by Percy Page. During their 25 years as a team, the Grads won an astounding 95 per cent of their matches. The Grads were national and world champions, often defeating their opponents by lopsided scores. The team won the Underwood International Trophy (USA–Canada) for 17 years straight (1923 to 1940), and was undefeated in 24 matches held in conjunction with the Olympic Summer Games in 1924, 1928 and 1936. The Grads were named to Canada's Sports Hall of Fame in 2017.

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Vancouver Grizzlies

The Vancouver Grizzlies were a basketball team. Spurred on by the intent of the National Basketball Association to expand to Toronto, Vancouver Canucks owner Arthur Griffiths launched a bid to secure an NBA expansion franchise for Vancouver in 1993.

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Edmonton Mercurys

The Edmonton Mercurys, a team consisting of amateur hockey players, was the last Canadian hockey team to win an Olympic gold medal until 2002. The 1952 win at Oslo was the fifth gold medal in six Winter Olympics to that point for Canada.

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Jackie Robinson and the Montreal Royals (1946)

On 15 April 1947, Jackie Robinson played in his debut game with the Brooklyn Dodgers, becoming the first African American to play in the major leagues in the modern era. Prior to that point, professional baseball in the United States was segregated, with African Americans playing in the Negro leagues. When Robinson broke Major League Baseball’s colour barrier in 1947, he entered American history books. What many baseball fans may not realize, however, is that Robinson was embraced by Canadian fans one year earlier as a member of the Montreal Royals, a farm team for the Brooklyn Dodgers.

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Paris Crew

The Paris Crew was a rowing team from Saint John, New Brunswick, that achieved global acclaim days after Confederation by placing first at the International Regatta during the Paris Exposition of 1867.

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Canada at the 1960 Olympic Winter Games

The 1960 Olympic Winter Games were held in Squaw Valley, California, from 18 to 28 February 1960. Canada sent 44 athletes (34 men, 10 women) and finished eighth in the overall medal count with four medals (two gold, one silver and one bronze). Anne Heggtveit won gold in the slalom, becoming the first Canadian Olympic ski champion. Robert Paul and Barbara Wagner dominated the pairs figure skating competition in their second Winter Games, while Donald Jackson added a bronze medal in men’s figure skating. The Kitchener-Waterloo Dutchmen represented Canada in the Olympic hockey tournament and finished second to the Americans. It was the last time Canada was represented by a club team in Olympic hockey.

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Canada at the 1948 Olympic Winter Games

The 1948 Olympic Winter Games were held in St Moritz, Switzerland, from 30 January to 8 February 1948. Canada sent 28 athletes (24 men, 4 women) and placed eighth in the overall medal count with two gold medals and one bronze medal. The RCAF team was victorious in the ice hockey tournament, while Barbara Ann Scott won gold in women’s figure skating. It was the first time Canada had won more than one gold medal at the Winter Games, and the first gold medal in a sport other than hockey. Suzanne Morrow Francis and Wallace Diestelmeyer took bronze in pairs figure skating.

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Canada at the 1952 Olympic Winter Games

The 1952 Olympic Winter Games were held in Oslo, Norway from 14 to 25 February 1952. Canada sent 39 athletes (31 men, 8 women) and tied with Italy for eighth in the overall medal count with one gold and one bronze medal. Speed skater Gordon Audley took bronze in the 500 m final and the Edmonton Mercurys won Canada’s fifth gold medal in ice hockey. The country would not win hockey gold again until 50 years later, when the women’s and men’s teams defeated the Americans at the 2002 Olympic Winter Games in Salt Lake City.

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Canada at the 1956 Olympic Winter Games

The 1956 Olympic Winter Games were held in Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy, from 26 January to 5 February 1956. Canada sent 35 athletes (27 men, 8 women) and finished ninth in the overall medal count with one silver and two bronze medals. Figure skating pair Frances Dafoe and Norris Bowden took home silver, while Lucile Wheeler won Canada’s first medal in alpine skiing, finishing third in the women’s downhill race. In ice hockey, Canada took the bronze medal, defeated by both the Americans and the Soviets, who won gold in their debut at the Olympic Winter Games.

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Canada at the 1932 Olympic Winter Games

The 1932 Olympic Winter Games were held in Lake Placid, New York, from 4 to 15 February 1932. Canada sent 42 athletes (38 men, 4 women) to the Games and placed third in the overall medal count with seven medals (1 gold, 1 silver, 5 bronze). The Winnipeg Hockey Club won Canada’s fourth consecutive Olympic medal in ice hockey, while speed skaters Alexander Hurd, William Logan and Frank Stack became the first Canadian medallists in speed skating. Montgomery Wilson took bronze in the men’s figure skating competition, becoming the first Canadian to win an Olympic medal in the sport.

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Canada at the 1936 Olympic Winter Games

The 1936 Olympic Winter Games were held in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany, from 6 to 16 February 1936. Canada sent 29 athletes (22 men, 7 women) and placed ninth in the overall medal count with one silver medal. For the first time at the Olympic Winter Games, Canada did not win the gold medal in ice hockey. It was a controversial result, with the Port Arthur Bear Cats finishing second to a British team that included several Canadian players. The 1936 Olympic Winter Games were themselves contentious, given the anti-Semitic policies of German Chancellor Adolf Hitler and his Nazi Party. Left-wing and Jewish groups in Canada and other countries proposed a boycott of the Games but were unsuccessful.