The place for fans of Canadian University Football

A Brief Introduction

Origins of the Game

Central Canada
- CIRFU 1898-1914
- Post WWI 1919-39
- Post WWII 1946-54
- A New Era 1955-66
- Ontario & Quebec 1967-79
- Ontario & Quebec 1980-

Western Canada
- WIRFU 1927-58
- WIFL 1959-1971
- CWUAA 1972-1998
- CW 1999-Present

Atlantic Canada
- Nova Scotia 1940-57
- NB and PEI 1948-57
- Atlantic Canada 1958-73
- AUFC 1974-Present

National and Regional Championships
- Introduction
- Churchill Bowl 1953-1964
- Churchill Bowl 1965-2002
- Atlantic Bowl 1959-2001
- Mitchell Bowl 2002-Present
- Uteck Bowl 2003-Present
- Vanier Cup 1965-Present

Conference Membership
- Atlantic
- Ontario
- Quebec
- West


A History of Canadian University Football
By Robert E. Watkins, B.A., M.Sc., Ph.D. - revised May 2006

The Canadian Intercollegiate Rugby Football Union (CIRFU) 1898-1914

  • The CIRFU was established at a meeting held at Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario, Nov. 24, 1897

  • The charter senior members of the union were McGill, Queen's and Toronto

  • There were three levels of play in the Union - senior, intermediate and junior; the senior and intermediate series began play in the Autumn of 1898, the junior series in 1906:
    • The senior series: McGill, Queen's and Toronto firsts;
    • The intermediate series: McGill, Queen's and Toronto seconds, other colleges' firsts (e.g., RMC, Ottawa, Bishop's College, OAC, and McMaster College);
    • The junior series: senior teams' thirds, other colleges' (of the intermediate series) seconds, and collegiate institutes' firsts (i.e., public and private secondary schools which were members of the Union).

  • The University of Ottawa was a member of the senior series from 1905 to 1912; RMC played in the senior series in 1913

  • 1898 - the Yates Cup, emblematic of the senior series championship, was donated by Dr. H. B. Yates of McGill - the Cup has been up for competition continuously ever since (excepting the war years of 1915-1918 and 1940-1945)

  • The intermediate champion was awarded the RMC Cup (first donated for intercollegiate intermediate play in 1906)

  • 1906 - the Canadian Intercollegiate Athletic Union (later to be called the Canadian Intercollegiate Athletic Union Central [CIAUC] as its members were located in Ontario and Quebec only) was formed and became the umbrella athletic organization for all university sport in Central Canada

  • By 1903, one version of the Canadian-rules football game had twelve men per side, the centre snapped the ball rather than heeled it to the quarter, putting the ball into play via a throw-in from the sidelines (typical of English rugby) had been eliminated, and a team was given three plays to gain ten yards or lose possession of the ball

  • The CIRFU series champions competed against the winners of other rugby football unions for the Dominion championships at all three levels; notably, in the senior series, Toronto won the Grey Cup in 1909, 1910 and 1911; it was thought by many that the McGill Yates Cup teams of 1912 and 1913 would also have won national honours but McGill declined to participate in the Grey Cup game due to the lateness of the season, the approaching exam period and the consequent pressure of studies

  • Play was suspended in the CIRFU after completion of the 1914 season due to the war effort

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