Happy Canada Day, EH!

Did you know that Baseball; American Football; Basketball and Hockey originated in Canada?

Not only is Canada known to be friendly and beautiful, but we also created some of America’s favourite sports. Here are a few examples of how Canadians have impacted the sports world.


In 1891, Canadian born physician James Naismith developed basketball while at the YMCA International Training school in Springfield, Massachusetts.  An article in the January, 1892 edition of The Triangle detailed Naismith’s 13 rules for a “new game of ball”.  The sport caught on quickly at other YMCAs and quickly spread to college campuses.  Although consisting of just 13 rules at its inception, the NBA’s official rule book is now a detailed 65 pages in length.

American Football

In 1874, McGill University challenged Harvard University to a game of “Foot-ball” in Cambridge, Massachusetts.  Two games were played – one using Harvard’s rules, the other with McGill’s rules.  On the first day, they played by Harvard’s rules.  This “Boston game” resembled the modern game of soccer, and involved 11 players per side kicking a soccer ball and running with it.  On day two, the teams faced off under McGill’s rules, which resembled the gridiron football we know today. With 13 players per side, an oblong ball, and tackling and touchdowns, the two rivals tied.  Scores aside, the sport was so well received by Harvard that they taught it to their rivals at Yale the next year.  The sport spread widely amongst the American Universities, and became American Football as it is known today.


Baseball developed over many decades. Although there were many versions of baseball-like games being played in North American by the mid-1800s, the earliest reputable record of baseball being played was in Beachville, Ontario, on June 4, 1838.  Two teams from neighbouring townships went head-to-head, and the details were eventually reported in Sporting Life magazine.  Although the citizens of Hoboken, New Jersey claim they witnessed the first game of baseball, their first notable game of baseball was played on June 19, 1846, several years after the game in Beachville.  Although the popularity of the sport quickly spread from Hoboken, it would appear Canadians can claim the first baseball game as their own.


Although it is thought that ice hockey was being played in Canada by the early 19th century, the first notable game was played on March 3, 1875.  The Montreal Gazette reported a game of “Hockey” that was to take place on that date at the Victoria Skating Rink in Montreal. The event was well received by the audience, and the community team captained by James Creighton triumphed over that of Charles Torrance.  The first truly competitive ice hockey games were played on January 26 and 27, 1883, at the Montreal Winter Carnival hockey tournament.  Soon after, Canada became a powerhouse in the development of hockey. The first ice hockey world championship was held during the 1920 Olympics in Antwerp, Belgium, and won by the Winnipeg Falcons.  Though the rules have evolved , Canada’s national winter sport has enjoyed a near 150-year legacy since its beginnings on the Victoria Skating Rink.

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