A SHORT HISTORY OF CANADIAN FOOTBALL
1861 First documented football game in Canada on November 9, 1861 at the University of Toronto.
1868 First documented football game in Québec on October 10, 1868 in Montréal.
1869 Hamilton Foot Ball Club formed on November 3, 1869.
1872 Montréal Football Club formed on April 8, 1872.
1873 Toronto Argonauts formed on October 4, 1873 by the Toronto Argonaut Rowing Club. Hamilton Foot Ball Club renamed the Hamilton Tigers.
1875 First inter-provincial football game played on October 16, 1875 between Ontario and Québec in Toronto.
1876 Ottawa Football Club formed on September 20, 1876.
1879 Winnipeg Rugby Football Club formed.
1883 Ontario Rugby Football Union formed on January 6, 1883. Québec Rugby Football Union formed on January 16, 1883.
1884 Canadian Rugby Football Union formed on February 7, 1884.
- Montréal Football Club joined the Montréal Amateur Athletic Association.
1887 Ontario Rugby Football Union withdrew from the Canadian Rugby Football Union.
1888 Manitoba Rugby League formed by Winnipeg RugbyFootball Club, WinnipegSt. John’s College Rugby Club, and the Royal School of Infantry.
1890 First football game played in Alberta.
1891 Canadian Rugby Union formed on December 19, 1891 by the Québec Rugby Football Union and the Ontario Rugby Football Union.
1892 Manitoba Rugby Football Union formed on February 22, 1892.
1895 Toronto Argonauts withdrew from the Ontario Rugby Football Union.
1897 Canadian Intercollegiate Rugby Football Union formed on November 24, 1897. Ottawa Football Club suspended by the Québec Rugby Football Union.
1898 First intercollegiate game played on October 8, 1898 in Kingston. Canadian Intercollegiate Rugby Football Union joined the Canadian Rugby Union but left later on during in the year. Ottawa Football Club re-organised as the Ottawa Rough Riders on September 9, 1898. Ottawa Rough Riders joined the Ontario Rugby Football Union. Toronto Argonauts re-joined the Ontario Rugby Football Union.
1903 Ottawa Rough Riders joined the Québec Rugby Football Union.
1906 Calgary City Rugby Foot-ball Club formed on March 14, 1906.
1908 Calgary City Rugby Foot-ball Club renamed the Calgary Tigers on August 27, 1908.
1907 Edmonton Rugby Foot-ball Club formed on April 10, 1907. Interprovincial Rugby Football Union established on September 13, 1907 as a four-team league consisting of the Hamilton Tigers and Toronto Argonauts from the Ontario Rugby Football Union and Montreal Amateur Athletic Association and Ottawa Rough Riders from the Québec Rugby Football Union. Ottawa St. Patrick College merged with the Ottawa Rough Riders. Saskatchewan Rugby Football League established.
1908 Calgary Rugby Football Union established on September 29, 1908. Edmonton Rugby Foot-ball Club renamed the Edmonton Esquimaux on October 16, 1908.
1909 Albert Henry George, the fourth Earl of Grey donated a trophy for the rugby football champion of Canada. Only teams registered with the Canadian Rugby Union could enter competition for the Grey Cup. Hamilton Tigers defeated the Ottawa Rough Riders 11-6 in an exhibition game played in New York City.
1910 Regina Rugby Club formed on September 13, 1910. Saskatchewan Rugby Football Union established on September 22, 1910. Edmonton Esquimaux renamed the Edmonton Eskimos.
1911 Alberta Rugby Football Union, Manitoba Rugby Football Union, and Saskatchewan Rugby Football Union merge together and establish the Western Canada Rugby Football Union on October 21, 1911.
- Interprovincial Rugby Football Union suspended operations for the duration of the First World War.
1919 Interprovincial Rugby Football Union re-commenced play.
1921 Western Canada Rugby Football Union joined the Canadian Rugby Union.
1923 Calgary Tigers renamed the Calgary 50th Battalion.
1924 Regina Rugby Club renamed the Regina Roughriders.
1925 Ottawa Rough Riders merged with Ottawa St. Bridgit’s Club and renamed the Ottawa Senators. Calgary 50th Battalion renamed the Calgary Tigers.
1926 British Columbia Rugby Football Union established on September 1, 1926.
- Ottawa Senators reverted to their previous name of Rough Riders. Western Intercollegiate Rugby Football Union established.
1928 Manitoba and Saskatchewan Rugby Football Unions form the Tri-City Rugby Football Union on August 25, 1928.
1929 Tri-City Rugby Football Union disbanded and separate Manitoba and Saskatchewan Rugby Football Unions reformed.
1930 Winnipeg Rugby Football Club renamed the Winnipegs Rugby Football Club on June 10, 1930. Calgary Tigers renamed the Calgary Altomah-Tigers.
1932 Winnipeg St. John’s College Rugby Club merged with the Winnipegs Rugby Football Club. Calgary Altomah-Tigers renamed the Calgary Altomahs.
1934 Eastern Intercollegiate Rugby Football Union stopped competing for the Grey Cup.
1935 Calgary Altomahs renamed the Calgary Bronks.
1936 Montréal Amateur Athletic Association football club withdrew from competition and replaced by the Montréal Indians. Winnipegs Rugby Football Club renamed the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. Western Interprovincial Football Union established as a three-team league consisting of the Calgary Bronks, Regina Roughriders, and Winnipeg Blue Bombers. Intercollegiate teams stopped competing for the Grey Cup.
1937 Québec Rugby Football Union stopped competing for the Grey Cup.
1938 Edmonton Eskimos joined the Western Interprovincial Football Union. Montréal Indians renamed the Montréal Cubs.
1939 Montréal Cubs renamed the Montréal Royals.
1940 Edmonton Eskimos withdrew from the Western Interprovincial Football Union.
1941 Interprovincial Rugby Football Union renamed the Eastern Canada Rugby Football Union. Hamilton Tigers withdrew from the Interprovincial Rugby Football Union and joined the Ontario Rugby Football Union. Toronto Balmy Beach joined the Interprovincial Rugby Football Union as replacement for Hamilton. Montréal Royals renamed the Montréal Bulldogs. Calgary Bronks withdrew from the Western Interprovincial Football Union and replaced by the Vancouver Grizzlies for one season.
1942 Eastern Canada Rugby Football Union and Western Interprovincial Football Union suspended operations for the duration of the Second World War.
1945 Interprovincial Rugby Football Union re-commenced play. Montréal club renamed the Montréal Hornets. Western Interprovincial Football Union teams playoff for the Grey Cup. Calgary Bronks renamed the Calgary Stampeders on September 28, 1945.
1946 Western Interprovincial Football Union re-commenced play. Montréal Hornets renamed the Montréal Alouettes.
1947 Regina Roughriders unofficially renamed the Saskatchewan Roughriders.
1948 Hamilton Tigers withdrew from Interprovincial Rugby Football Union and joined the Ontario Rugby Football Union. Hamilton Wildcats replaced the Hamilton Tigers. Regina Roughriders unofficially renamed the Saskatchewan Roughriders.
1949 Edmonton Eskimos rejoined the Western Interprovincial Football Union. Western Canada Rugby Football Union ceased operations.
1950 Hamilton Wildcats of the Interprovincial Rugby Football Union and the Hamilton Tigers of the Ontario Rugby Football Union merged to form the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. Regina team officially renamed the Saskatchewan Roughriders on April 1, 1950.
1953 British Columbia Lions formed on January 22, 1953.
1954 British Columbia Lions joined the Western Interprovincial Football Union.
1955 Ontario Rugby Football Union stopped competing for the Grey Cup.
1956 Interprovincial Rugby Football Union and Western Interprovincial Football Union established the Canadian Football Council on January 22, 1956.
1958 Canadian Football Council withdrew from the Canadian Rugby Union and renamed the Canadian Football League on June 19, 1958.
1960 Interprovincial Rugby Football Union renamed Eastern Football Conference.
- Western Interprovincial Football Union renamed Western Football Conference.
1965 Continental Football League commenced operations with a franchise based in Toronto named the Toronto Rifles.
1966 Trusteeship of the Grey Cup passed from the Canadian Rugby Union to the Canadian Football League. Fort Wayne Warriors of the Continental Football League transferred to Montréal and became the Beavers.
1967 Victoria Steelers commenced operations in the Continental Football League.
1968 Toronto Rifles of the Continental Football League folded in mid-season after four games played. Montréal Beavers also folded in mid-season after twelve games played. Victoria Steelers folded after the completion of the season and the Continental Football League withdrew from Canada. The league would later cease operations during the following year.
1974 Bill C-22 “An Act Respecting Canadian Football” – referred usually as the Canadian Football Act – was drafted in April 1974. This legislation, introduced into Parliament by health minister Marc Lalonde, would effectively have prevented the operation of the Toronto franchise in the upstart World Football League. It would have set roster limits on import players, prevented the Canadian Football League from expanding to or operating outside of Canada, and prevented foreign-based players from playing league games in Canada. Bill C-22 never became law. Ontario Rugby Football Union ceased operations.
1981 Eastern and Western Football Conferences renamed the Eastern and Western Divisions.
1982 Montréal Alouettes folded on March 13, 1982 and replaced with a new Montréal franchise named the Montréal Concordes.
1986 Montréal Concordes renamed the Montréal Alouettes.
1987 Montréal Alouettes folded on June 24, 1987 prior to the start of the 1987 season. Winnipeg Blue Bombers switched from the Western Division to the Eastern Division.
1991 World League of American Football commenced operations with a franchise based in Montréal. The Montréal Machine played two seasons in the league before both the team and league ceased operations after the 1992 season.
1992 Montréal hosted the second WLAF World Bowl championship game between the Sacramento Surge and Orlando Thunder.
1993 Sacramento Gold Miners joined the Canadian Football League as the first American team in the league on February 26, 1993. Las Vegas Posse joined the Canadian Football League for the 1994 season on July 26, 1993. Sacramento Gold Miners played in the Western Division.
1994 Baltimore CFL Colts joined the Canadian Football League on February 17, 1994. Shreveport Pirates joined the Canadian Football League on the following day. Baltimore CFL Colts and Shreveport Pirates played in the Eastern Division. Las Vegas Posse played in the Western Division. Baltimore CFL Colts prevented by court injunction to use “Colts” in their nickname and the team was referred to as the Baltimore CFLers during the season. Baltimore franchise renamed the Baltimore Football Club just prior to the commencement of the 1994 Grey Cup game.
1995 Sacramento Gold Miners transferred to San Antonio on February 21, 1995 and renamed the San Antonio Texans one month later. Birmingham Barracudas joined the Canadian Football League on January 11, 1995. Memphis Mad Dogs joined the Canadian Football League on January 28, 1995. Las Vegas Posse disbanded on April 18, 1995 after attempts to transfer the franchise to Jackson, Mississippi failed. Divisional format changed to an all-Canadian North Division and an all-American South Division. Baltimore Football Club renamed the Baltimore Stallions after first game of the season.
1996 Birmingham Barracudas, Memphis Mad Dogs, San Antonio Texans, and Shreveport Pirates folded when the Canadian Football League withdrew from the United States on February 6, 1996. Baltimore Stallions transferred to Montréal and renamed the Alouettes. Divisional format reverted back to Eastern and Western Divisions. Montréal Alouettes competed in the Eastern Division while Winnipeg Blue Bombers moved to the Western Division. Ottawa Rough Riders folded at the conclusion of the season on November 6, 1996.
- Winnipeg Blue Bombers switched from the Western Division to the Eastern Division.
2001 Ottawa Renegades granted expansion fra.nchise on October 16, 2001 to commence play in the 2002 season.
2006 Ottawa Renegades folded on April 9, 2006 prior to the 2006 season.
2021 Edmonton Eskimos renamed Edmonton Football Team
References (Canadian Football Almanac 1875-2012 – David Stewart-Candy & Dave Clamen)
Ontario Rugby Football Union
Québec Rugby Football Union
Western Canada Rugby Football Union
Manitoba Rugby Football Union
Saskatchewan Rugby Football Union
Alberta Rugby Football Union
British Columbia Rugby Football Union
Canadian Intercollegiate Rugby Football Union
Kingston Rugby Football League
Winnipeg Rugby Football League
CFL Attendance Statistics – All Teams for 1982, 1983, 1986 and 1987
Calgary Stampeders Attendance Statistics 1979
Edmonton Eskimo Attendance Statistics 1966-1987
Montréal Alouettes Attendance Statistics 1977
CFL versus NFL Scores
kindly supplied by David Clamen
Canadian Football League Facts Figures & Records 1986 Edition
Canadian Football League Facts Figures & Records 1994 Edition
Canadian Football League Facts Figures & Records 1995 Edition
Canadian Football League Facts Figures & Records 1996 Edition
Canadian Football League Facts Figures & Records 1997 Edition
published by Canadian Football League
110 Elginton Avenue West
1986-1997 Canadian Football League
Canadian Football League
Canadian Football – The Grey Cup Years
written by Frank Cosentino
published by Musson Book Company Limited
Don Mills, Ontario
1969 Frank Cosentino
A Passing Game – A History of the CFL
written by Frank Cosentino
published by Bain & Cox
1995 Frank Cosentino
100 Years of Canadian Football
written by Gordon Currie
published by Pagurian Press Limited
1968 Pagurian Press Limited
Rider Pride – The Story of Canada’s Best-Loved Football Team
written by Bob Calder and Garry Andrews
published by Western Producer Prairie Books
Gael Force – A Century of Football At Queen’s
written by Merv Daub
published by McGill-Queen’s University Press
Montréal, Québec & Kingston, Ontario
1995 British Columbia Lions Media Guide
1996 British Columbia Lions Media Guide
published by Jim Dorash
1996 British Columbia Lions Football Club
Montréal Alouettes Guide Média / Media Guide ’86
published by Club de Football Les Alouettes de Montréal
Ottawa Rough Riders ’87 Media Guide / Guide Média
published by the Ottawa Rough Riders Football Club
Ottawa Rough Riders 1995 Fact Book
published by the Ottawa Rough Riders Football Club
1995 Ottawa Rough Riders
Toronto Argonauts ’89 Yearbook & Media Guide
published by the Toronto Argonauts Football Club
Sports Logo Guide – Third Edition
written by John M. Fulgano
published by The Sports Fanatic
San Ramon, California
1997 John M Fulgaro
The Vancouver Sun
October 24th 1998
published by Pacific Press
Vancouver, British Columbia
1997 & 1998 Attendance
kindly supplied courtesy of the Saskatchewan Roughriders Football Club
Canadian Junior Football League
Ottawa Rough Riders Fan Page
Professional Football Researchers Association
University of Western Ontario Mustangs
Many thanks to Jim Stevenson (Statistician – Ontario Football Conference) for kindly providing OFC material for 1984 to 2000
Many thanks to Mitch Soivenski of Hampton, New Hampshire for submitting errata corrections
[Canada 1] Canadian Football League (2019) CFL Logo [Internet] Available from: https://www.cfl.ca/wp-content/themes/cfl.ca/images/og-image-default.jpg?_t=201902271522 [Accessed 20 May 2019]
Thanks to David Stewart-Candy
About this document
Data Compiled by Dave Stewart-Candy & Dave Clamen, (Canadian Football Almanac 1875-2012, unpublished, Vancouver 2012).
Edited by Enda Mulcahy
Kindly given to and edited by Enda Mulcahy for the
Eirball | Irish North American & World Sports Archive
Last Updated: 27 March 2021
(c) Copyright Enda Mulcahy and Eirball 2021
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