What's the National Sport of Canada?


What's the National Sport of Canada?

The game commonly known as ice hockey is hereby recognized and declared to be the national winter sport of Canada and the game commonly known as lacrosse is hereby recognized and declared to be the national summer sport of Canada. Ice hockey is the national game of Canada. It is listed as Canada’s national winter sport and LaCrosse is listed as Canada’s national summer sport.

  • The most common sports in Canada are ice hockey, lacrosse, gridiron football, soccer, basketball, curling, and baseball.
  • In 1994 Parliament passed the National Sports of Canada Act which declared lacrosse to be ‘Canada’s National Summer Sport’, with ice hockey as the National Winter Sport.
  • Lacrosse, a sport with Indigenous origins, is Canada’s oldest sport.
  • Lacrosse was played by First Nations peoples before the arrival of European colonists.
  • Ice hockey is a contact team sport played on ice, usually in an indoor or outdoor rink, in which two teams of skaters use their sticks to shoot a vulcanized rubber puck into their opponent’s net to score goals

Canada is a country that at its genesis was comprised of more than two cultures, each of which had its own unique language and set of traditions. Although these cultures were united into a single state, there has never been a common ethno linguistic quality or shared past on which the country could found a nation (Des Granges 8). This has manifested itself in constant efforts by the state to construct a pan-Canadian nation that can encompass all people within the country’s vast territory (Des Granges 8).

One of the most consistent mediums used to create a nation has been sport, most notably lacrosse. A traditional game of the Aboriginal peoples of the Plains and eastern Woodlands, lacrosse was the most popular sport in North America at the time of European contact (Jette 14). Through a process of amateurization and codification described by Michael A. Robidoux, the game was appropriated by non-Aboriginal Canadians and used to define the Canadian nation. This is represented in the National Sports Act of Canada (1994), which designates a modernized version of lacrosse one of the country’s national sports. This article draws on the research of Benedict Anderson, who argues that nations are social constructs considered to be homogenous by their members.

It discusses the role of sport in the creation and perpetuation of national identities and describes the role of lacrosse in the development of Canadien and later Canadian identity. It then explains the process by which lacrosse was amateurized, modernized and appropriated, illustrates how the National Sports Act created an imagined Canada and finally, it outlines how representations of lacrosse in the Canadian Museum of Civilization fail to contextualize the sport in terms of other socio-economic and cultural shifts throughout Canadian history.

Sport and Nation-building in Canada Canada is a country that at its genesis was comprised of more than two cultures, each of which had its own unique language and set of traditions. Although these cultures were united into a single state, there was never a common ethno linguistic quality or shared past on which the country could found a nation (Des Granges 8). In rejecting the traditional “nation-to-state” model found in England and France (where Canada receives its European heritage), Canada has been the site of constant efforts to construct a pan-Canadian nation that can encompass all people within the state’s vast territory (Des Granges 8).

One of the most successful attempts to create a nation has been through the use of sport. Canadian historian Michael A. Robidoux, who has studied the history and development of hockey in Canada, argues that sport has been the most consistent expression of Canadian nationalism since Confederation (Robidoux 209). Similarly, academics Frey and Eitzen suggest that, while sport may be based upon competition, in giving diverse populations something to share in the name of national solidarity, sport can “counteract internal racial, ethnic, regional and class diversity and conflict [and] contribute to a national identity or sense of nationalism that temporarily overrides differences”

AAP Athlete Assistance Program

AAU Amateur Athletic Union of Canada

ABC American Broadcasting Company

ASC Aboriginal Sport Circle

AWAD Athlete(s) with a disability

BASM British Association of Sports Medicine

CAAWS Canadian Association for the Advancement of Women and Sport and Physical Activity

CAC Coaching Association of Canada

CAD Canadian Dollars

CAN Fund Canadian Athletes Now Fund

CBC Canadian Broadcasting Corporation

CCES Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport

CEO Chief Executive Officer

CFLRI Canadian Fitness and Lifestyle Research Institute

CFTC Children’s Fitness Tax Credit

CGC Commonwealth Games Canada

CGC IDS Commonwealth Games Canada International Development through Sport

CICS Canadian Intergovernmental Conference Secretariat

CIHR Canadian Institutes of Health Research

COA Canadian Olympic Association

COC Canadian Olympic Committee

CODA Calgary Olympic Development Association

COF Canadian Olympic Foundation

CP-ISRA Cerebral Palsy International Sport and Recreation Association

CPC Canadian Paralympic Committee

CS4L Canadian Sport for Life

CSC Canadian Sport Centre

CSDP Commonwealth Sport Development Program

CSI Canadian Sport Institute

CSP Canadian Sport Policy

CTV Canadian Television Network

DMWG Deputy Minister Working Group

FACE Fuelling Athlete and Coaching Excellence

FCFA Fédération des communautés francophones et acadienne du Canada

FIFA Fédération internationale de football association

FINA Fédération internationale de natation

FISU Fédération internationale du sport universitaire

FPTSC Federal-Provincial/Territorial Sport Committee GSS General Social Survey

HIV/AIDS Human Immunodeficiency Virus/Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome

IAAF International Association of Athletics Federation

IBSA International Blind Sport Association

IDS International Development through Sport

IF International Sport Federation

IICGADS International Intergovernmental Consultative Group on Anti-Doping in Sport

INAS-FID International Sports Federation for Persons with Intellectual Disability

IOC International Olympic Committee

IOSD International Organizations of Sports for the Disabled

IPC International Paralympic Committee

ISDO Indigenous Sport Development Officer

ISRC Interprovincial Sport and Recreation Council

IWAS International Wheelchair and Amputee Sport Association

IWG  International Working Group on Women and Sport

LGBT Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgendered persons

LTAD Long-Term Athlete Development

M&E Monitoring and Evaluation

MSO Multi-Sport/Service Organization

NAIG North American Indigenous Games

NFC National Fitness Council

NFL National Football League

NGO Non-Government Organization

NOC National Olympic Committee

NSERC Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council

NSO National Sport Organization

NWT Northwest Territories

OCASI Ontario Council for Agencies Serving Immigrants

OCOG Organizing Committee of the Olympic Games

OCOL Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages

OTP Own the Podium

PAGS Pan American Games Society

PARC Federal-Provincial/Territorial Physical Activity and Recreation Committee

PASM Physical Activity and Sport Monitor

P.A.Y. Physically Active Youth

P.L.A.Y. Promoting Life-Skills in Aboriginal Groups

PSO Provincial Sport Organization

PTASB Provincial/Territorial Aboriginal Sport Bodies

RTE Road to Excellence

RTP Right to Play

SCRI Sport Canada Research Initiative

SDP Sport for Development and Peace

SFAF Sport Funding and Accountability Framework

SPARC Sport, Physical Activity, and Recreation Committee

SPIN Sport Programs in Inner City Neighbourhoods

SPRI Sport Participation Research Initiative

SSHRC Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council

UK Sport United Kingdom Sport

UN United Nations

UNESCO United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization

UNOSDP United Nations Office on Sport for Development and Peace

USA United States of America

USSR Union of Soviet Socialist Republics

VANOC 2010 Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010

Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games

WAAF Women’s Amateur Athletic Federation

WADA World Anti-Doping Agency

WOAW Women Organizing Activities for Women

YMCA Young Men’s Christian Association

YWCA Young Women’s Christian Association

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