History
jackie robinson

The 1997 baseball season belonged to the memory of Jackie Roosevelt Robinson, the African American who broke Major League Baseball’s colour barrier fifty years earlier. In commemoration of Robinson’s courage, integrity, and determined excellence as a player and as a model for young people, every major league player wore a Jackie Robinson insignia, and Robinson’s uniform number, 42, was retired by every team in the National and American Leagues.

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Russ Jackson was the premier Canadian-born quarterback ever to play in the CFL (courtesy Canada's Sports Hall of Fame).

Russ Jackson was the premier Canadian-born quarterback ever to play in the CFL (courtesy Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame).

With the Grey Cup coming up on November 25 in Toronto and the NFL still working their way through the season to their various bowls, football fans have a lot to talk about. One topic that is debated regularly is whether football is better in Canada or the US because there are some differences between the game played by the CFL and the NFL. I am not a football fan, but I will try to explain some of the differences and provide a little background on the game here at home. We hope that readers will weigh in the comments below.

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History
In the News
Marilyn-Bell
Marilyn Bell

Marilyn Bell starting her swim, September 8, 1954 (courtesy Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame).

[Editor’s Note: The Canadian Encyclopedia is proud to present its second free app, Toronto in Time, highlighting the stories of the city. “Marilyn Bell Swims Lake Ontario” is one of over 160 unique stories in the app, available for iOS and Android.]

Marilyn Bell waded into the frigid waters of Lake Ontario at Youngstown, NY, at 11:07 p.m. September 8, 1954. It wasn’t supposed to be a race, but she made it into one. The Canadian National Exhibition had offered $10,000 to American swimmer Florence Chadwick to swim the lake. Many thought it was unfair not to include Canadians in the event. Only two others took up the challenge, Winnie Roach Leuszla and 16-year old Marilyn Bell.

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History
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Toronto Maple Leafs centre Dave Keon was awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy in 1967 (courtesy Hockey Hall of Fame).

[Editor’s Note: The Canadian Encyclopedia is proud to present its second free app, Toronto in Time, highlighting the stories of the city. “The Maple Leaf’s Last Stanley Cup” is one of over 160 unique stories in the app, available for iOS and Android.]

No one expected the 1967 Maple Leafs to win the Stanley Cup and no one expected that it might never happen again! The Leafs themselves that year knew they were flawed. They were mostly old, erratic, tired and had a poisonous relationship with their coach and general manager “Punch” Imlach. They lost the first game of the playoffs against the highly favoured Chicago Black Hawks but then the magic began as the goaltending of 42-year old Johnny Bower and 37-year old Terry Sawchuk turned back a dispirited Hawks team.

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In the News
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On Saturday, September 29, the Bluenose II, a reconstructed version of Canada’s most famous ship, the Bluenose, will launch in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia!

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In the News
heymans-abel

Les Jeux olympiques de Londres sont terminés depuis quelques jours. La communauté sportive mondiale a souligné de façon unanime la qualité de l’organisation de ces Jeux de la trentième olympiade. Me Marcel Aubut, président du Comité olympique canadien, a qualifié ces Jeux d’exceptionnels. Pour lui, l’équipe canadienne « a livré (la marchandise), la ville de Londres a livré. Il n’y a pas un athlète qui a laissé échapper de la frustration comme c’est toujours le cas. Même les journalistes ne se sont pas lamentés comme ils savent le faire souvent. Tout a fonctionné à la perfection », a-t-il déclaré au Journal de Montréal. Bref, tout le monde semble satisfait.

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olympics_chariot

The charioteer was one of the few clothed athletes at the ancient Olympic Games. The vitor’s crown went to the owner of the horses, not the driver.

Legend dictates that the games of the Olympiad owed their origin to the Theban hero Heracles who staged them to honour his grandfather Pelops. It was said of Heracles that while engaged in his 12 labours he brought back a twig of wild olive from the legendary land of Hyperboreans and planted it in Olympia. This was the tree whose branches served to crown the victors. If we look for more practical explanations, the Olympic Games more likely derived from funeral games held in honour of fallen heroes, like the one Achilles held for his friend Patroclus in Homer’s Iliad.

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In the News
George Orton. Canada's Sports Hall of Fame.
George_Orton-Young

George Orton, Canada’s first Olympic medallist. Credit: public domain.

George Orton is known as Canada’s first Olympic gold medal winner. On the official Olympic Games website, there are two records concerning George Orton at the 1900 Paris Olympics. The records show that he won a bronze medal in the 400 m men’s hurdles and a gold medal in the 3000 m steeplechase. The records note his country as Canada, making George Orton the first Canadian to win at the Olympic Games. The Canadian Olympic Association supports that record; it regards Orton as the first Canadian Olympic medalist. But Canada did not send a team to the Olympics in 1900; Canada had no Olympic team until 1904 at the St. Louis games. Orton, a student, competed as part of the University of Pennsylvania team. Because he was entered as an American athlete, it was not until years later that anyone even realized that a Canadian had won an Olympic competition.

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History
Victoria Skating Rink
Early_indoor_ice_rink

Hockey team playing on an indoor rink, Québec City, Quebec, date unknown. Source: Library and Archives Canada/Jules-Ernest Livernois collection/PA-024066

In past winters when there were no radios, televisions, cars, computers or video games, people found other kinds of diversions. For some, skating was a great way to enjoy themselves and get a grip on winter.

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History
Victoria Skating Rink

Un match de hockey à la patinoire Victoria, Montréal, 1893. Library and Archives Canada/Molson Archives collection/PA-139443

En hiver, à une époque où il n’y avait pas de radio, pas de télévision, pas d’automobile, pas d’ordinateur et de jeux vidéo, les amusements existaient tout de même sous d’autres formes. Pour certains, le patinage était un bon moyen de se divertir et d’apprivoiser l’hiver.

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