Sports that were Invented in Canada

September 26, 2022

In the land of the True North strong and free, Canada has been one of the most innovative countries in the world. From the universally loved peanut butter to more bizarre inventions such as bagged milk, there's no doubt that Canadians have invented many creations that changed our world.

These creations include popular sports that we see loved across the world. Some of them you might be expected but some of them may surprise you. Can you guess them all?

On top of Canada's contribution to the world of sports, many Canadians are avid players themselves in both competitive and recreational sports. If you're interested in connecting with fellow Canadians in your town or city check out the Javelin Sports App! The Javelin Sports App, available on the App Store or Google Play offers a range of volleyball pick up games and training sessions for players of all levels. 

1. Hockey

Ice hockey is recognized as one of the two national sports of Canada. More specifically, it is the national winter sport. The origin of ice hockey has always been long debated, but in 2008, the International Ice Hockey Federation officially declared that the first game of organized ice hockey was played in Montreal in 1875. However, recent research has determined that ice hockey and it's earliest rules were formed in England. Despite this, Canada has made significant contributions to the sport from the 1870s and onwards by changing the rules, reshaping it to be a new sport completely. By the 20th century, Canada's rules and modifications changed the sport to how we know and love today.

2. Lacrosse

One of the oldest sports in the history of North America as well as the second national sport of Canada, lacrosse was a sport that was originated by the First Nations. According to the Federation of International Lacrosse, this game was first played in the St. Lawrence Valley by the Algonquian tribe in the 1630s and was known simply as "stickball" during this time. This game later spread to other tribes in the eastern half of North American as well as the western Great Lakes.

During 1636, a French Jesuit missionary named Jean de Brébeuf documented this game and named it "lacrosse". Fast forward to 1834, lacrosse was then demonstrated by the Caughnawaga First Nations in Montreal. A Canadian dentist by the name of Dr. William George Beers was fascinated by this game and founded the Montreal Lacrosse Club in 1856 and decided to modify the rules and fundamentals of the game. By 1860, lacrosse had been dubbed the title of Canada's national game and has been prominent ever since.

3. 5-pin Bowling

A variation of the popular 10-pin bowling, 5-pin bowling uses 5 pins arranged in a V shape and much smaller ball. The origin of 5-pin bowling started in a humble 10-pin bowling alley in downtown Toronto. Ran by a man named Thomas F. Ryan, this was the first 10-pin bowling alley that was opened in Canada. As he was running the club, many members had began to complain that the 10-pin game took too long to complete and that the standardized 16-pound ball was too heavy.

After some long thoughts, Ryan had his father reduce the pins used by half and constructed a much smaller ball weighing around 2.5 pounds. This ball had no holes and could be held within the palm of one's hand. With this reduction in the pins used, Ryan had also changed the rules of the game in order to better accommodate the amount of pins used. By 1909, Ryan had tested his 5-pin variation long enough for it to be officially established and by 1910, Canada's first 5-pin bowling league was formed.

4. American Football

Despite being called American football, this sport was actually originated in Canada. For why it was named football... well it's a bit harder to explain. In fact, we have an entire post dedicated for it. Although American sports history often state that the first football game was between Rutgers University and Princeton during 1869, the sport had completely different rules than what we have today. For example, teams would consist of 25 players on each side. During this time, Canadians were also playing football, but had a completely set of rules. In 1874, Harvard University invited Montreal's McGill University to play against them, but the rules of American and Canadian football were entirely different.

Instead of playing by one set of rules, they decided to have the teams play two games. One with American rules and another played with Canadian rules. The first game was played with Harvard's rules, which was a game that used a round ball and resembled soccer more so than the football we know today. The second game was playing using McGill's rules, using an oblong ball that we now associate with football. After the games, the Harvard team liked the Canadian rules so much, they adopted the rules and introduced them to Yale the following year. After that, the rest was history.

5. Basketball

Loved internationally, basketball is one of the most popular sports in the world. Developed by the Canadian-born physician, James Naismith, basketball was developed in 1891 at the YMCA International Training School in Springfield, Massachusetts. Word quickly spread about this new game and many associations contacted Naismith for a copy of the rules. Eventually, Naismith published the official rules of basketball in January 15, 1892. Soon after, basketball become a worldwide phenomenon, being played in countries all over the world. From France to Japan and every country in between, basketball became a sport that everyone played.

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Did this list surprise you? Let us know in the comments below!

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