Organized sports in Canada had their origins in the 1770s, with horse racing in British military garrisons, curling in Scottish colonies, and lacrosse among Indians. The Canadian scullers, who won multiple world championships, were maybe the first sporting celebrities. In 1877, the first Canadian national sport team was formed for an international competition against the United States.
The first official Olympic games were held in Athens, Greece, in 1896. Canada's first appearance in the event was at the Toronto Olympics of 1908. We boycotted those games because they didn't include a winter sports season, but Canada did send a team to Venice later that year for what was then called the European Championships. That's when Canadians first got to see some of the great athletes of our country run on water instead of land -- men like Charles Avery, John McCrae, and Alexander Graham Bell's son Gordon.
Canada's first world championship in any sport was in rowing, which took place in Montreal in 1910. It was here that Canadians first became aware of the talent of our own Norman Deane, who went on to win gold medals in both single and double sculls at the 1920 Antwerp Olympics.
Rugby squad from Canada. Sports helped enhance this nation after WWI by bringing people together and allowing them to interact and unite through the ensuing Great Depression. Hockey was regarded then, as it is now, as an integral element of Canadian culture. Both games were widely played throughout the country, and thousands of Canadians made their living from either sport.
The first Women's Rugby World Cup was held in 1975, but it wasn't until much later that women's rugby became mainstream in Canada. The Vancouver Valkyries are the only remaining team from that early era and they have been playing since 1973. They currently compete in the Women's National League and have won three championships over the years. In more recent times, women have become involved in both hockey and lacrosse too. There are many teams across the country for girls to choose from.
In Canada, there is no national anthem or official song. However, "O Canada" by Andrew Lloyd Webber is widely known and sung by Canadians when representing their country at events such as the Olympics and World Championships. It has become one of the most popular songs in the world over time and continues to be used by today's athletes.
There are several reasons why Canada has never won a Olympic gold medal. The main one is probably the lack of funding for sports programs.
Lacrosse, which had become Canada's national sport at the time of confederation, was played throughout the country and was adopted by subsequent immigrants. By 1867, clear regulations had been created, and the game had grown more structured. In terms of history and leadership, ice hockey is also uniquely Canadian. It became popular among Canadians in large part due to the efforts of one man: James Norman "J.A." Simpson. Born in Scotland, he came to what was then called New York City as a child and later moved with his family to Montreal where he learned to play ice hockey.
Simpson helped form the first professional ice hockey team in Canada when he joined the McGill University Redmen in 1875. He also organized the first national championship tournament that same year. After retiring from hockey, he went on to create the modern-day Olympic movement. The first Olympic games were held in Greece in 1896, and since then they have taken place once every four years. In total, there have been 21 Summer Olympics and 39 Winter Games so far.
Canada has won the most gold medals in both the Summer and Winter Games - 10 each. The United States is second for both summer and winter with nine and seven gold medals respectively.
Canada has also won the most trophies at the FIFA World Cup, having done so five times (1930, 1934, 1938, 1990, 1994).