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La saison de baseball de 1997 fut consacrée à la mémoire de Jackie Robinson, ce joueur noir qui brisa les chaînes du racisme dans les ligues majeures il y a un demi-siècle. En commémoration du courage, de l’intégrité et de l’excellence de Robinson en tant que joueur et modèle pour les jeunes, tous les joueurs des ligues majeures ont porté une insigne commémorative, et toutes les équipes canadiennes et américaines ont retiré le chandail portant le numéro 42.

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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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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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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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George Orton. Canada's Sports Hall of Fame.
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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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Joe Fortes teaching swimming at English Bay, Vancouver, circa 1912. Vancouver Archives

Statistics Canada released its 2011 census information this Wednesday. The National Post has a nifty infographic that visually lays out changes in population growth. Lets take a look at the changing face of our nation, shall we?
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After outing myself as a Canadian who dislikes snow, I suffered the virtual slings and arrows of outrageous readers who called me a snow (w)itch and wanted to send me to Siberia. Funny. I have another Canadian tradition to reject: I don’t like hockey either. (The comment section is below, or you can tweet your opinion to us, but if you read on, you’ll probably find something to really sink your teeth into.)

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History
Victoria Skating Rink
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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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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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Maurice Richard, Bernard Geoffrion et Dick Gamble. Photo: Archives, La Presse

Every year when the National Hockey League season gets under way we feel the excitement of hockey lovers all over the country. In Québec, after several months of calm, supporters of Les Canadiens finally have something to sink their teeth into, because the club returns to the ice at the Bell Centre.

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History

Maurice Richard, Elmer Lach, et Toe Blake, 1942

Chaque année, lorsque la saison de la Ligue nationale de hockey se met en branle, on sent la fébrilité des amateurs de hockey partout au pays. Au Québec, après quelques mois d’accalmie, les partisans des Canadiens ont enfin quelque chose à se mettre sous la dent, car le club est de retour sur la glace du Centre Bell.

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CTV The National
CTV The National

James Marsh on CTV talking about the Stanley Cup. Of note is the picture of his granddaughter over his right shoulder—her first appearance on TV!

The other day CTV National News invited me to say something about the Stanley Cup in connection with its tumble in Newfoundland. I was surprised when a young man showed up at my home, all by himself. I remember a few years ago when I was on TV and a crew—interviewer, cameraman, sound guy—came. Today’s economies, I guess. (Lloyd Robertson seems to be doing his own tribute to himself as he nears retirement).

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