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

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.

Canadian Intercollegiate Rugby Football Union (CIRFU)1
McGill University Redmen1898-1970
McMaster University Marauders1952-19532, 1968-1970
University of Ottawa1905-1912
Queen's University Golden Gaels1898-1970
Royal Military College1913
University of Toronto Varsity Blues1898-1970
University or Waterloo Warriors1968-1970
University of Western Ontario Mustangs1929-1970
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.
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.

Ontario Intercollegiate Football Conference (OIFC)
Carleton University Ravens*1957-1966
Laurentian University Voyageurs1966
Loyola College Warriors*1963-1966
McMaster University Marauders1957-1966
Université de Montréal Carabins1966
Ontario Agricultural College Aggies1957-1966
University of Ottawa Gee-Gees*1957-1966
Royal Military College Redmen*1957-1966
University of Waterloo Warriors1957-1966
Waterloo Lutheran University Golden Hawks1963-1966
*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).

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.

Central Canada Intercollegiate Football Conference (CCIFC)
Bishop's University Gaiters21967-1970
Carleton University Ravens31967-1970
Sir George Williams University Georgians21968-1970
Laurentian University Voyageurs31967-1970
Loyola College Warriors21967-1970
Macdonald College Aggies21967-1970
McMaster University Marauders1967
Université de Montréal Carabins21967-1970
OAC Aggies1/University of Guelph Gryphons31967-1970
University of Ottawa Gee-Gees31967-1970
Royal Military College Redmen21967-1970
University of Waterloo Warriors1967
Waterloo Lutheran University Golden Hawks31967-1970
University of Windsor Lancers31968-1970
York University Yeomen31969-1970
1The Ontario Agricultural College became the University of Guelph in 1968.
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 SectionWestern Section
Northern DivisionCapital DivisionCentral DivisionWest 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.

Ontario-Quebec Intercollegiate Football Conference (OQIFC)
West DivisionEast Division
1Waterloo Luthern University became Wilfrid Laurier University in 1974.
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.

Ontario University Atletics (OUA)
University of Guelph Gryphons1980-Present
McMaster University Marauders1980-Present
University of Ottawa Gee-Gees2001-Present
Queen's University Golden Gaels2001-Present
University of Toronto Varsity Blues1980-Present
University of Waterloo Warriors1980-Present
University of Western Ontario Mustangs1980-Present
Wilfrid Laurier University Golden Hawks1980-Present
University of Windsor Lancers1980-Present
York University Lions*1980-Present
*York University changed the nickname of its varsity teams from the Yeomen to the Lions in 2003.

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