:cowboy: Here are some Canadian Football timelines:
First documented football game was played at the University of Toronto on the present site of
University College (400 yards west of Queen's Park) on November 9. One of the participants in
the game involving University of Toronto students was (Sir) William Mulock, later it's
First written account of a football game played in Quebec on October 10 was by R. Tait
Mackenzie. It was between a team of officers from the English troops garrisoned in Montreal and
a team of civilians, mainly from McGill University, and was played on the St. Catherine Street
The Hamilton Foot Ball Club was formed on November 3 in a room over George Lee's Fruit
Store and adopted the colours of black and orange. Games were played on the Maple Leaf
Baseball Club Grounds on Upper James Street. The first game for the HFBC was on December
18 against the 13th Battalion (now Royal Hamilton Light Infantry) at the Baseball Grounds. No
score was reported. According to the Hamilton Spectator on November 30 the HFBC had more
than 100 members.
The Montreal Foot Ball Club was organized on April 8 in one of the lower rooms of the
Mechanics Hall building. The first game played in Quebec occurred when the Montreal FC
played Quebec City on October 12 at the Esplanade in Quebec City. The two teams met again on
October 26 at McGill University. Both games ended in 0-0 ties.
The Toronto Argonaut Rowing Club formed the Toronto Argonaut Football Club on October 4
and played its first game against the University of Toronto on October 11. The University of
Toronto won by a Goal and a Try to Nil. The Argonauts adopted dark blue as the team colour.
The first meeting of the Argonauts and HFBC was on October 18 at the University of Toronto.
Toronto won by a Goal and a Try to Nil . The HFBC wore yellow and black for the first time in
this game The following Saturday, the two clubs met in Hamilton at the Cricket Ground (later
Hamilton A.A.A. Ground). Hamilton won by a Goal and Try plus a Touch In Goal to two Goals
and two Trys. It was in the reporting of this game that the HFBC was first referred to as the
The rules of a hybrid game of English rugby devised by the University of McGill were first used
in the United States in a game at Boston between McGill and Harvard. On May 14, Harvard won
3-0 using Harvard rules. The next day, the teams tied 0-0 while playing Canadian rules. Harvard
liked the new game so much they introduced it into the Ivy League. Both U.S. and Canadian
football evolved from these games.
The first inter-provincial game was played between Ontario and Quebec on October 16 at the
Toronto Cricket Grounds. Ontario won on a Goal from a Try.
The Ottawa Football Club was formed on September 20 at the Russell House and played the
Aylmer Club at Jacques Cartier Square on September 23. (Sir) Percy Sherwood kicked a Goal
from a Try for the winning point. Ottawa team colours were cerise (moderate red), French grey
and navy blue.
required the previous year's champion to defeat all challengers. The Toronto Argonauts defeated
the Ottawa FC 9-7 in the first ORFU Championship on 1877
The Ottawa and Britannia Football Clubs played their first game at Montreal. Britannia won 2
Trys and 3 Rouges to 1 Rouge.
Second inter-provincial game is played to a scoreless draw on October 28 between an "All-
Ontario" team and a team from Montreal at Montreal.
The University of Michigan played a game against the University of Toronto. The Winnipeg
Rugby Football Club was formed.
The "Open Formation" was introduced for the first time. Both teams were required to lineup
across from each other.
The Ontario Rugby Football Union was formed on January 6; 10 days later the Quebec Rugby
Football Union was formed. The ORFU played a Tie Schedule with teams of 15-men per side.
Team A played Team B and the winner played Team C until only one team remained
undefeated. Three divisions were formed in the ORFU. Referees were used for all games. A
point-scoring system was put into place with six points for a Goal from the Field (field goal);
four points for a Try (touchdown), Goals from a Try, Penalties and Free Kicks; two points for
Safety Touches; and one point for Kicks to the Deadline, Rouges and Touch in Goals. The
Quebec Union adopted the Challenge System with Scoring by Goals and Trys. This format
The Canadian Rugby Football Union was formed on February 7 at the Montreal Gymnasium and
used the ORFU and New English Rugby Union Rules to form the Code of Rules for Canadian
football. The QRFU adopted the OFRU system of scoring and the Tie Schedule. The Montreal
Foot Ball Club (QFRU) defeated the Toronto Argonauts (ORFU) 30-0 on November 6 in the
first CRFU Championship game.
The ORFU divided into City and College groups. The CRFU stated that the playing field should
be as close to 100 yards in length as practical by 65 yards wide. A combined team from the
Montreal and Britannia Football Clubs (QRFU) defeated an Ontario Combined Team (ORFU) 3-
0 on November 12 in the CRFU Championship game. The CRFU ruled the game was a draw
because the Montreal team did not score four points.
The CRFU ruled that a quarterback could run or kick the ball only after the defenders had pushed
the ball through the scrimmage. The ORFU objected to the CRFU rules governing championship
games and refused to participate. No championship game was played.
The ORFU withdrew from the CRFU and the governing body ceased to function. The ORFU
adopted "heeling" the ball as a method of putting it into play. They also began using a five-man
scrimmage. Goals from the Field were reduced to five points. At the end of the season, team
executive members arranged a Dominion Championship game at McGill University in which
Ottawa College (ORFU) defeated the Montreal Football Club (QRFU) 10-5 on November 5.
ORFU aligned into one unit and competed in a Challenge System. Penalty Kicks were lowered in
value to two points. Hamilton Tigers introduced the three-man scrimmage. ORFU and QRFU
executives arranged a Dominion Championship at Ottawa. Ottawa College (ORFU) and the
Montreal Football Club played to a scoreless tie. This was the last title match until 1892.
Winnipeg Football Club, St. John's College and the Royal School of Infantry formed the
Manitoba Rugby League.
ORFU lowered the value of a Goal from Field to five points. Intercollegiate teams used a twopoint
Goal from a Try. The QRFU adopted a Challenge System
ORFU returned to the Tie Schedule. All teams adopted the two-point Goal from a Try. QRFU
adopted the three-man scrimmage. First game in Alberta, as Edmonton and Clover Bar played to
a scoreless tie. In October, Regina North West Mounted Police played the Winnipeg Football
Club twice in Winnipeg with each side winning once.
At a meeting of delegates of the Quebec and Ontario Rugby Unions at the Windsor Hotel in
Montreal on December 19, the Canadian Rugby Union was formed. Games were to consist of
two 45-minute halves, scoring values: Goal from the Field five points; Try four points; Goal
from a Try two points; Penalty Kick and Free Kick four points each; Safety Touch two points;
and a Rouge one point. ORFU rules were adopted by the CRU including an increase in the height
of the goal posts to 20 feet from 13; the Scrimmage had to release the ball before the lines could
come together and games were to be won by a majority of points scored. Edmonton defeated
Calgary 6-5 in the Alberta Total-point Challenge Series.
The first CRU championship game was played on Thanksgiving Day, November 10 at Toronto's
Rosedale Field with Osgoode Hall of ORFU defeating the Montreal Foot Ball Club of the QRFU
45-5. ORFU assigned Umpires for all games. QRFU adopted the Balanced Schedule (all teams
played the same number of games) and lowered the value of a Goal from a Try to two points.
The Manitoba Rugby Football Union was formed on February 22 and played Fall and Spring
QRFU assigned Umpires for all games and returned to the Challenge System format.
Ottawa College and the Ottawa AAA joined the QRFU. QRFU adopted the Balanced Schedule.
Timekeepers were appointed for the first time to relieve the referees of that duty. ORFU and
QRFU lowered the value of Penalty Kicks to two points.
CRU game length was reduced to two 40-minute halves and the size of a field was set at 110
yards by 65 yards. CRU published the first "Constitution, Rules of the Championship
Competitions and Rules of the Game". MRFU adopted the CRU rules. QRFU introduced fiveyard
On November 24, the Canadian Intercollegiate Rugby Football Union was organized in
Kingston, Ontario. CRU changed the length of a game to two 35-minute halves. The QRFU
lowered the Free Kick to two points and adopted a three-team playoff format. Ottawa FC was
suspended by the QRFU executive for excessive rough play.
First Intercollegiate game was played at Kingston on October 8 between McGill and Queen's.
McGill won by 3 Rouges to 2. McGill then played the University of Toronto on October 15. The
U of T won 11-5 in the rain. Toronto went on to win the Yates Trophy as Intercollegiate
champions. The CIRFU was accepted into the CRU, but left later in the year. Ottawa FC reorganized
as the Rough Riders on September 9 and adopted the colours of the Canadian
Regiment in the Spanish-American War - red and black. Ottawa joined the ORFU which adopted
the Balanced Schedule of play. The CRU again changed the length of a game to two 30-minute
The ORFU prohibited the use of CIRFU players and the CRU stated that players must block with
their bodies and not hold opponents with their arms or hands.
The ORFU stated that all players must sign amateur cards. CRU rules that the ball was to be
placed on the ground in line with the front foot of the Scrimmage before the lines could come
together. John Thrift Meldrum Burnside's revised football rules were put into play in University
of Toronto Inter-faculty games, and later in the Mulock Cup championship games.
The ORFU adopted the Burnside Rules which reduced teams to 12 men per side, put into play
the Snap-Back system of moving the ball, required the offensive team to gain 10 yards on three
downs, abolished the Throw-In from the sidelines, permitted only six men on the line, stated that
all Goals by Kicking were to be worth two points and the opposition was to line up 10 yards
from the defenders on all Kicks. The Rules were to be made uniform across the country as
quickly as possible. The CIRFU, QRFU and CRU refused to adopt the new Rules. QRFU and
CRU reduced their rosters from 15 to 14 players. CRU ruled that possession could not go beyond
three scrimmages unless during the third scrimmage the ball was moved five yards on a run or a
kick. Ottawa returned to the QRFU and MRFU moved to a fall schedule.
The value of a Try (touchdown) was increased to five points and Goals from a Try was reduced
to one point in the ORFU. QRFU adopted a rule by Tom (King) Clancy of Ottawa that a team
must make five yards on its third scrimmage to keep possession of the ball.
The Intercollegiate and Quebec Unions refused the Burnside Rules. For championship games,
the CRU ruled the teams would use QRFU rules for the first half and the intercollegiate rules for
the second half. QRFU moved to four 15-minute quarters; Trys worth five points and Goals from
Trys worth one point. CIRFU adopted 10-yard rule for three downs and the ORFU gave captains
the option of playing four 15-minute quarters. Goals from the Field were increased to three
points and the Fair Catch rule was replaced by a three-yard Punt Return rule
Specifications first laid down for the size of football - 11 inches long, 23 inches in circumference
and 13-3/4 ounces in weight. Goals from the Field and Free Kicks were increased to four points
in the ORFU. Games were four 15-minute quarters in length. CIRFU lowered Goals from the
Field to four points and Free Kicks to three points. Calgary City Rugby Foot-ball Club was
formed March 14 at Calgary City Hall.
The Interprovincial Rugby Football Union (Big Four) grew out of an amalgamation between the
Hamilton Tigers, Toronto Argonauts of the ORFU and the Ottawa Rough Riders and the
Montreal Foot Ball Club of the QRFU on September 13. The QRFU withdrew from senior
competition. The Ottawa entry was the result of the amalgamation of the Ottawa St. Pats and
Rough Riders. Montreal won the Big Four's first game, 17-8 over Toronto and subsequently
became the league's first championship team. Calgary City Rugby Foot-ball Club played its first
game on October 31 and defeated the Strathcona Rugby Foot-ball Club 15-0 at Calgary. The
CRU adopted the intercollegiate rule of one yard between opposing lines and stated that the lines
could not move until the ball was put into play by the Scrimmage. Teams had to gain 10 yards in
three downs; a Try was five points; a Goal from a Try was one point; a Goal from the Field was
four points; a Free Kick was three points and a Penalty Kick was worth two points The ORFU
adopted the CRU rules. The Edmonton Rugby Foot-ball Club was formed on April 10 and
adopted the uniform colors of black with yellow facings. Edmonton played its first game on
November 9 and defeated the Calgary City Rugby Foot-ball Club 26-5 at the Edmonton
Exhibition Grounds. The Saskatchewan Rugby Football League was formed.
Calgary City Rugby Foot-ball Club was re-organized as the Tigers on August 27 and adopted
yellow and black as the team colors. Calgary Rugby Football Union was formed on September
29 in the offices of the Sovereign Life Insurance Company. The Caledonia and Hillhurst Football
Clubs play for the championship of the Central Alberta Rugby Football League on September 4.
The Edmonton Rugby Foot-ball Club was re-organized as the Esquimoux on October 16. Goals
from the Field were reduced to three points by the CRU.
Lord Earl Grey, the Governor General of Canada, donated a trophy to be awarded for the Rugby
Football Championship of Canada. Only teams registered with the Canadian Rugby Union were
eligible to compete for the trophy. The first game was played in Toronto at Rosedale Field on
December 4 between the University of Toronto and the Parkdale Canoe Club with the University
of Toronto winning 26-6 before 3,807 fans. Hugh Gall kicked a record eight singles in the game
for the U of T. The gross revenue was $2,616.40. On December 11, following an invitation from
the New York Herald newspaper, Hamilton Tigers and Ottawa Rough Riders played an
exhibition game of Canadian football in New York City at Van Cortland Park. Tigers won 11-6
before 15,000 fans.
Regina Rugby Club was formed on September 13 at the Regina City Hall and adopted the colors
of old gold and purple. On September 22 the Saskatchewan Rugby Football Union was
organized in the Flanagan Hotel at Saskatoon. SRFU adopted the CRU rules. Regina played
Moose Jaw Tigers in its first game on October 1 at the Moose Jaw Baseball Grounds. The Tigers
won 16-6. Edmonton changed its name to the Eskimos.
Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta Unions formed the Western Canada Rugby Football Union
on October 21. Regina RC changed its colors to blue and white. Winnipeg realtor Hugo Ross
donated the championship trophy bearing his name; he subsequently drowned in the sinking of
the S.S. Titanic in April, 1912. Calgary Tigers won the Western Championship and challenged
for the Grey Cup, but the CRU would not accept the challenge because the WCRFU was not a
full member of the CRU. University of Toronto defeated the Argonauts 14-7 on November 25 to
win its third consecutive Grey Cup championship.
Regina Rugby Club adopted the colors of the Canadian contingent in the Spanish-American War
- red and black Hamilton Alerts were suspended by the ORFU on November 23 for flaunting the
authority of the Union. Toronto Rowing and Athletic Club had protested a penalty call which had
resulted in a victory for the Alerts. The ORFU ordered the game be re-played on the 23rd, but the
Alerts refused to field a full team. The Alerts lost to Toronto 39-7 while the main squad lost a
regularly scheduled match in Hamilton to the Tigers 12-8. The Alerts went on to defeat the
Toronto Argonauts 11-4 in the Grey Cup game. Many of the players joined the Tigers of IRFU
the following season.
Hamilton Tigers played four exhibition matches in Western Canada defeating Winnipeg 26-1,
Regina 26-4, Moose Jaw 25-1 and Calgary 19-2. This is the first documented East-West series of
games. On September 6 the Hamilton Alerts applied for reinstatement. In the ORFU under the
name of the East Hamilton Athletic Association, but the request was denied. The Hamilton
Rowing Club, however, was accepted.
The remnants of the Hamilton Alerts operated separately from any Union for several seasons
before fading from the scene. The CRU appointed Head Linesmen and the CIRFU adopted a
three-yard Interference rule IRFU adopted a Residence Rule.
No games because of the First World War.
No playoff games because of a rules dispute with the CRU in the West, lack of interest in the
East and student studies to the Intercollegiate Union which were deemed more important.TIMELINE: 1920's
CIRFU and IRFU adopted a four-yard Interference rule while the CRU opted for three yards of
Western Canada Rugby Football Union joined the CRU and challenged for the Grey Cup.
Edmonton Eskimos, first Western team to play in a Grey Cup game, lost to Toronto Argonauts
23-0. Rule changes included reducing players from 14 to 12 per side; putting ball into play by
snapping it back; limit of 18 players with substitutes permitted freely.
Calgary Tigers renamed the 50th Battalion. Queen's defeats Regina 54-0 as Queen's scored a
record nine touchdowns on December 1. Edmonton withdrew from competition.
Coach Bill Hughes of Queen's introduced the use of films as a coaching technique. Numbering
of players, although used for years was made compulsory. The Regina Rugby Club became the
McGill coach Frank Shaughnessy introduced the huddle system to Canadian football. It was at
first called the Conference System. Calgary 50th Battalion became the Tigers. Ottawa changed
its name to the Senators.
British Columbia Rugby Football Union was formed on September 1.
Western Canada Intercollegiate Union was formed. Ottawa reverted to the name Rough Riders
Tri-City Rugby Football Union was formed on August 25 and consisted of Moose Jaw, Regina
and Winnipeg. The Union disbanded the following year because of travel expenses.
Saskatchewan and Winnipeg re-formed their unions. First radio play-by-play broadcast of a Grey
Cup Game was on December 1. Hamilton Tigers shutout Regina Roughriders 30-0 before a
crowd of 4,767 at the Hamilton Amateur Athletic Association Grounds.
CRU adopted use of the forward pass on a limited basis in Junior, Interscholastic, Western
Canada Rugby Union, Western Intercollegiate Union and the Grey Cup final. First legal pass in
Canada was thrown by Gerry Seiberling and the first reception was by Ralph Losie of Calgary
Altomah-Tigers against Edmonton on September 21. Jersey Jack Campbell of Regina threw the
first forward pass in a Grey Cup game and Jerry Erskine made the first reception. First
touchdown pass was by Edmonton's Joe Cook to Pal Power in the second quarter of a game
against the University of Alberta on September 28. The first interception return for a touchdown
was by Joe Hess of the University of Alberta in the same game when he caught a pass by Cook.
On June 10, the Winnipeg Winnipegs Rugby Football Club was formed and adopted the colors
of green and white. Winnipeg played its first game against St. John's Rugby Club at Carruthers
Park on September 13. St John's won 7-3. On September 29 in the first game played in Canada
under floodlights, the Hamilton Tigers defeated University of British Columbia in an exhibition
game at Athletic Park. The first game in Eastern Canada under floodlights was on October 29
between Oshawa and Toronto Balmy Beach in Toronto's Ulster Stadium. The Convert kicking
spot was moved from the 35-line to the 25 but only drop kicks were allowed.
CRU approved the forward pass for all leagues and the first TD pass in Grey Cup history was a
Warren Stevens to Kenny Grant play in Montreal's 22-0 win over Regina. Convert scrimmage
line was moved to the five-yard line, and the point could be scored by a drop-kick, place kick,
run or pass.
Calgary Altomah-Tigers became the Altomahs. Winnipeg and St. John's amalgamated to field a
stronger team, and adopt the colors of blue and gold.
Edward (Red) Tellier of Montreal, who had been suspended for life for attacking George
Gilhooley of Regina in the 1931 Grey Cup final, was re-instated. Eastern Intercollegiate Union
formally withdrew from Grey Cup competition. The horn was introduced to officiating
For the first time a Western team won the Grey Cup. Winnipeg Pegs (they weren't Blue Bombers
for another year) defeated the Hamilton Tigers 18-12 at Hamilton. Calgary became the Bronks.
Teams were restricted to a maximum of five imports and only players who had lived in Canada
for a full year could compete in the Grey Cup game. The Western Interprovincial Football Union
(WIFU) was formed with Winnipeg Blue Bombers, Calgary Bronks and Regina Roughriders.
IRFU and WIFU adopt playoff format of a two-game total-point series between first and second
place teams. A white ball was used for games played under floodlights in Western Canada.
Intercollegiate teams stop competing for the Grey Cup.
The Quebec Rugby Football Union discontinued challenging for the Grey Cup.
Edmonton Eskimos joined the Western Interprovincial Football Union and adopted the colors of
blue and white, but withdrew in 1940.