A History of Canadian University Football
By Robert E. Watkins, B.A., M.Sc., Ph.D. - revised May 2006
Conference Membership - Ontario
Ontario University Athletics (OUA)
Much of the history of university football in Quebec is irrevocably intertwined with that of Ontario. For ease of organizational structure and because the majority of institutions with football programs in the early years were located in Ontario, the early years of Quebec varsity football are also included in this section.
The oldest interuniversity football league was the Canadian Intercollegiate Rugby Football Union (CIRFU) formed in late 1897 commencing competition in 1898. The Yates Cup was donated by Dr. H. B. Yates of McGill University in 1898 to be awarded to the league champion each year.
1Following the Second World War, the CIRFU became known as the Senior Intercollegiate Football League (SIFL), from circa 1956 onward it was known as the Ontario-Quebec Athletic Association (OQAA) football conference.
|Canadian Intercollegiate Rugby Football Union (CIRFU)1|
|McGill University Redmen||1898-1970|
|McMaster University Marauders||1952-19532, 1968-1970|
|University of Ottawa||1905-1912|
|Queen's University Golden Gaels||1898-1970|
|Royal Military College||1913|
|University of Toronto Varsity Blues||1898-1970|
|University or Waterloo Warriors||1968-1970|
|University of Western Ontario Mustangs||1929-1970|
2McMaster was granted probabitionary playing privileges (exhibition games) in the SIFL for the 1952 seasion with full participation in league competition and standings to apply in the 1953 season.
A second senior-level university football conference was established in 1957--the Ontario Intercollegiate Football Conference (OIFC)--consisting of a combination of newly created post-secondary institutions as well as established institutions which had previously played football at the intermediate level in the South-Western Conference of the Intercollegiate Intermediate Football Union (IIFU) and the West or "A" Division of the Ottawa-St.Lawrence Intercollegiate Athletic Association (OSLIAA) football conference.
*These four teams, in addition to being charter members of the OIFC, concurrently constituted the West Division of the OSLIAA football conference (see below for details).
|Ontario Intercollegiate Football Conference (OIFC)|
|Carleton University Ravens*||1957-1966|
|Laurentian University Voyageurs||1966|
|Loyola College Warriors*||1963-1966|
|McMaster University Marauders||1957-1966|
|Université de Montréal Carabins||1966|
|Ontario Agricultural College Aggies||1957-1966|
|University of Ottawa Gee-Gees*||1957-1966|
|Royal Military College Redmen*||1957-1966|
|University of Waterloo Warriors||1957-1966|
|Waterloo Lutheran University Golden Hawks||1963-1966|
Existing before and then concurrently with the OIFC was a group of football-playing post-secondary institutions in Ontario and Quebec which originally had made up the Ottawa-ST. Lawrence (OSL) football conference of the IIFU and, later, the OSLIAA football conference. The level of play might be described as a mixture of intermediate and senior although this distinction was fast disappearing. For the 1958 season, the OSLIAA was reorganized along eastern and western divisional lines with the West Division initially consisting of mainly Ontario-based colleges (see table above) and the East Division consisting largely of Quebec-based institutions (see Quebec section following). By 1960, the OSLIAA instituted a league championship game between the two divisional winners.
In 1967 a new university football conference was created--the twelve-team Central Canada Intercollegiate Football Conference (CCIFC). This league was made up of the ten members of the OIFC plus two teams from the East Division of the now defunct OSLIAA football conference. In 1968, with the addition of two more members (plus another in 1969), the conference was split into two divisions.
1The Ontario Agricultural College became the University of Guelph in 1968.
|Central Canada Intercollegiate Football Conference (CCIFC)|
|Bishop's University Gaiters2||1967-1970|
|Carleton University Ravens3||1967-1970|
|Sir George Williams University Georgians2||1968-1970|
|Laurentian University Voyageurs3||1967-1970|
|Loyola College Warriors2||1967-1970|
|Macdonald College Aggies2||1967-1970|
|McMaster University Marauders||1967|
|Université de Montréal Carabins2||1967-1970|
|OAC Aggies1/University of Guelph Gryphons3||1967-1970|
|University of Ottawa Gee-Gees3||1967-1970|
|Royal Military College Redmen2||1967-1970|
|University of Waterloo Warriors||1967|
|Waterloo Lutheran University Golden Hawks3||1967-1970|
|University of Windsor Lancers3||1968-1970|
|York University Yeomen3||1969-1970|
2Denotes members of the CCIFC East Division after 1968.
3Denotes members of the CCIFC West Division after 1968.
A major reorganization of intercollegiate sport in Central Canada took place in 1971 with the division of intercollegiate athletic associations along provincial lines, that is, the Ontario University Athletic Association (OUAA) and the Quebec University Athletic Association (QUAA). The OUAA football conference was a twelve team league organized in the following manner. The Yates Cup was awarded to the league champion.
|Ontario University Athletic Association (OUAA)|
|Eastern Section||Western Section|
|Northern Division||Capital Division||Central Division||West Division|
Following the 1973 season, with the collapse of the QUAA football conference, another major reorganization of football conferences in Ontario and Quebec took place. The remaining football programs from the two provincial associations were folded into the new Ontario-Quebec Intercollegiate Football Conference (OQIFC) consisting of two groupings--the East and West Divisions. During the 1974 and 1975 seasons, teams in one division played a partial interlocking schedule with teams from the other division. Following the 1975 season, the partial interlocking schedule was dropped. From 1974 to 1978, the Yates Cup was awarded jointly to the two divisional winners.
1Waterloo Luthern University became Wilfrid Laurier University in 1974.
|Ontario-Quebec Intercollegiate Football Conference (OQIFC)|
|West Division||East Division|
2Loyola College and Sir George Williams University merged in 1974 to become Concordia University.
For the 1980 season, the OQIFC West Division was renamed the OUAA football conference, in 1997 the OUAA became simply Ontario University Athletics (OUA) and the football conference the OUA football conference. The Yates Cup became emblematic of the OUAA/OUA championship each year.
*York University changed the nickname of its varsity teams from the Yeomen to the Lions in 2003.
|Ontario University Atletics (OUA)|
|University of Guelph Gryphons||1980-Present|
|McMaster University Marauders||1980-Present|
|University of Ottawa Gee-Gees||2001-Present|
|Queen's University Golden Gaels||2001-Present|
|University of Toronto Varsity Blues||1980-Present|
|University of Waterloo Warriors||1980-Present|
|University of Western Ontario Mustangs||1980-Present|
|Wilfrid Laurier University Golden Hawks||1980-Present|
|University of Windsor Lancers||1980-Present|
|York University Lions*||1980-Present|