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The Sports of Canada Portal
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Introduction

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The sporting culture of Canada consists of a variety of games. Although there are many contests that Canadians value, the most common are ice hockey, Canadian football, basketball, soccer, and baseball. Great achievements in Canadian sport are recognized by Canada's Sports Hall of Fame, while the Lou Marsh Trophy is awarded annually to Canada's top athlete by a panel of journalists.

Ice hockey, referred to as simply "hockey", is Canada's most prevalent winter sport, its most popular spectator sport, and its most successful sport in international competition as well as being Canada's official winter sport. Lacrosse, a sport with Native American origins, is Canada's oldest and official summer sport. Canadian football is Canada's second most popular spectator sport, and the Canadian Football League's annual championship, the Grey Cup, is the country's largest annual sports event. Association football, known in Canada as soccer in both English and French, has the most registered players of any sport in Canada.

Other popular team sports include curling, street hockey, cricket, rugby and softball. Cricket is the fastest growing sport in Canada currently. Popular individual sports include auto racing, boxing, cycling, golf, hiking, horse racing, ice skating, rodeo, skateboarding, skiing, snowboarding, swimming, tennis, triathlon, track and field, water sports, and wrestling. As a country with a generally cool climate, Canada has enjoyed greater success at the Winter Olympics than at the Summer Olympics, although significant regional variations in climate allow for a wide variety of both team and individual sports. Major multi-sport events in Canada include the 2010 Winter Olympics.

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The 2010 Winter Olympics, officially the XXI Olympic Winter Games or the 21st Winter Olympics, were a major international multi-sport event held on February 12–28, 2010, in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, with some events held in the suburbs of Richmond, West Vancouver and the University Endowment Lands, and in the resort town of Whistler. Approximately 2,600 athletes from 82 nations participated in 86 events in fifteen disciplines. Both the Olympic and Paralympic Games were being organized by the Vancouver Organizing Committee (VANOC). The 2010 Winter Olympics were the third Olympics hosted by Canada, and the first by the province of British Columbia. Previously, Canada hosted the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal, Quebec and the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary, Alberta.

Following Olympic tradition, the then-current Vancouver mayor, Sam Sullivan, received the Olympic flag during the closing ceremony of the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy. The flag was raised on February 28, 2006, in a special ceremony and was on display at Vancouver City Hall until the Olympic opening ceremony. The event was officially opened by Governor General Michaëlle Jean.

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The Canada national rugby union team represents Canada in international rugby union. They are governed by Rugby Canada, and play in red and black. Canada is classified by the International Rugby Board (IRB) as a tier two rugby nation. There are ten tier one nations, and seven tier two nations, the others being Fiji, Japan, Romania, Samoa, Tonga and the USA. Canada competes in competitions such as the Churchill Cup and the Rugby World Cup. The sheer size of Canada means that talent is scattered across the country making the job of coaches and selectors very difficult. The climate is also unfavourable for playing rugby union for much of the year in most parts of the country.

Canada has been playing international rugby since the early 1930s, making their debut in 1932 against Japan. Canada have competed at every World Cup since the tournament was first staged in 1987, the only North American team to do so. Canada achieved their best result at the World Cup in 1991, where they reached the quarter-finals. Canada is currently ranked fourteenth by the IRB.

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Canadian men's ice hockey team celebrates winning the gold medal (2010 Winter Olympics).

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Terrance Stanley "Terry" Fox, CC, OD (July 28, 1958 – June 28, 1981) was a Canadian humanitarian, athlete, and cancer research activist. In 1980, as a one-legged amputee, he embarked on a cross-Canada run to raise money and awareness for cancer research. Though the spread of his cancer forced him to end his quest after 143 days and 5,280 kilometres (3,280 mi), and ultimately cost him his life, his determination and example created a lasting, worldwide legacy. The annual Terry Fox Run, first held in 1981, has grown to involve millions of participants in over 60 countries and is now the world's largest one-day fundraiser for cancer research; over C$500 million has been raised in his name.

In 1980, he began the Marathon of Hope, a cross-country run to raise money for cancer research. Fox hoped to raise one dollar for each of Canada's 24 million people. He started with little fanfare from St. John's, Newfoundland in April and ran the equivalent of a full marathon every day. Fox was the youngest person ever named a Companion of the Order of Canada, the nation's highest civilian award. He won the 1980 Lou Marsh Award as the nation's top sportsman and was named Canada's Newsmaker of the Year in both 1980 and 1981. Considered a national hero, he has had many buildings, roads and parks named in his honour across the country.

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The Summer Stakes is a Canadian Thoroughbred horse race run annually at Woodbine Racetrack in Toronto, Ontario. Contested on turf over a distance of 1 mile (8 furlongs), it is open to two-year-old horses. Raced in late September/early October, the Grade III event was a Grade II event but in 2006 was downgraded to its present Grade III status. Part of the Breeders' Cup Challenge series, the winner of the 2008 Summer Stakes automatically qualifies for the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf.

Inaugurated in 1953 at Fort Erie Racetrack as a sprint race on dirt, the Summer Stakes was moved to the turf in 1962. Since inception it has been run at various distances:

  • 5 furlongs : 1953-1956 on dirt at Fort Erie Racetrack
  • 5.5 furlongs : 1957-1960, 1961 on dirt at Fort Erie Racetrack
  • 8 furlongs (1 mile) : 1962-1984 on turf at Fort Erie Racetrack, since 1985 on turf at Woodbine Racetrack

The Summer Stakes showcases the rise to fame of many horses including Northern Dancer. Northern Dancer won the "Summer Stakes" in 1963 and won 14 of his next 18 races. Northern Dancer was a Canadian-bred thoroughbred racehorse and would go on to be the most successful sire of the 20th Century.

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