As a reflection of Canada’s passion for sports, the country has decided to have two national sports– lacrosse for summer and hockey for winter.
Engaging in sports obviously gives our body the boost it needs to remain healthy and strong. But more than the physical benefits, participating in sporting events supports positive mental health, fosters camaraderie, and prepares you for a leadership role whether in school or the workplace. For international students, joining recreational sports is one of the most fun ways to connect to the campus and the local’s culture.
In Canada, sports have been part of the country’s history, from early Indigenous games like baggataway to today’s snowboarding and kitesurfing. The country has hosted the Olympics thrice– the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal and two Olympic Winter Games in Calgary in 1988 and Vancouver in 2010. In the recently concluded Winter Olympics 2022 held in Beijing, Canada won the fourth rank among all competing countries, taking home 26 medals–4 Gold, 8 Silver, 14 Bronze.
In this article, we’ll take a sneak peek at Canada’s love affair with sports and list down some of the most popular sports in the country.
Did you know that the inventor of basketball James Naismith is Canadian? Today, basketball is one of the most popular sports in Canada and the world. In 1994, the global professional league NBA awarded franchises to two Canadian cities– the Toronto Raptors and Vancouver Grizzlies, with the latter moving to Memphis, Tennessee in 2001. Some of the most famous NBA players are also from Canada namely Steve Nash, Andrew Wiggins, Fred Vanfleet, Tristan Thompson, RJ Barrett, and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander.
Owing to the country’s endless winter, ice hockey or hockey as Canadians call it has become a national sport in 1964 and perhaps, the country’s best contribution in the world of sports. The National Hockey League (NHL), the Canadian ice hockey league, has a presence in both Canada and the United States, with 7 participating teams from Calgary, Edmonton, Calgary, Montreal, Toronto, Ottawa, and Winnipeg. Canada dominates the Winter Olympics’s ice hockey recording 13 gold medals, 6 silver, and three bronze.
Known as one of the oldest organised sports in North America. Lacrosse was officially recognised as Canada’s summer sport in 1994 and the Canadian national lacrosse teams have since been highly recognised worldwide. Dubbed as the Creator’s Game, Lacrosse is also known in North America’s various First Nations as baggataway (Algonquian), kabocha-toli (Choctaw), and tewaarathon (Mohawk).
The newest form of lacrosse named Inter-Crosse is specifically developed as a recreation programme for students, which teaches the fundamentals of lacrosse such as scooping, carrying, passing, and catching the ball.
The rapid adoption of baseball in Canada can be traced back to southwestern Ontario during an international game in 1860 when New York’s Buffalo won over Ontario’s Burlington. Canada has produced some of the best baseball players including Ferguson Jenkins, Justin Morneau, Joey Votto, and Larry Walker. Currently, Toronto Blue Jays is the only team from Canada in the Major League Baseball (MLB).
For international students in Canada who are interested to learn baseball, several colleges and universities offer comprehensive baseball programmes including Bishop’s University, University of Victoria, University of New Brunswick, and the University of Guelph.
Aside from being regarded as one of Canada’s most popular sports, Curling is also known as the most televised women’s sporting event in the country. This winter sport can be enjoyed by both pros and beginners. The Men’s curling team of Canada won the bronze medal in the latest Winter Olympics 2022.