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

National and Regional Championships

Churchill Bowl (and other early inter-league play) 1953-1964

  • The Sir Winston Churchill Bowl game was originally established as an annual, often pre-season, invitational football contest between the sister universities of McGill and UBC in aid of the Canadian Paraplegic Association

  • The trophy emblematic of the Churchill Bowl is an impressive piece of sculpture created by R. Tait MacKenzie, a McGill alumnus and celebrated Canadian war hero, entitled "The Onslaught"

  • 1953 - the first Churchill Bowl was played at McGill's Molson Stadium between McGill and UBC, it was a pre-season match-up with McGill winning 22-4

  • 1954 - the second game between McGill and UBC was again held at McGill's Molson Stadium and again was a pre-season affair, outcome: McGill 8, UBC 5; in this same year, UBC also played a post-season game against Toronto who were the 1954 Yates Cup champion and which the latter won 5 to 3; and McMaster University, unaffiliated with any league at the time and playing an exhibition schedule only, played a post-season game against StFX of the MIAA at Antigonish, N.S., score: McMaster 35, StFX 13

  • 1955 - the third pre-season game of the McGill/UBC series took place at UBC's Thunderbird Stadium, outcome: McGill 0, UBC 0

  • 1956 - this year the Churchill trophy was a pre-season invitational match between Western and UBC played at Thunderbird Stadium, outcome: Western 38, UBC 13

  • 1957 - a second pre-season challenge match between Western and UBC, this time played at J. W. Little Stadium, London, Ontario, score: Western 54, UBC 0

  • 1958 - a return to the McGill/UBC pre-season series this year held at Thunderbird Stadium, McGill 9, UBC 6

  • 1959 - for the first time, the Churchill Bowl game was a post-season affair involving two teams which had won their respective conference titles: Western, the Yates Cup (OQAA), and UBC, the Hardy Trophy (WIFL, the first time the trophy had been competed for since 1948); the game was played at Varsity Stadium, Toronto, outcome: Western 34, UBC 7

  • Although the claim was made by many of those involved in organizing and playing in the 1959 Churchill Bowl that the game was for the national university football championship of Canada, the claim is disputable in that the other three intercollegiate leagues of the day, also claiming to play senior level university football--the OSLIAA, OIFC and MIAA conferences--were not involved and thus not represented; the point is made by supporters of the claim, however, that although all five leagues claimed to be playing football at the senior level, the level of competition in the OQAA and the WIFL was, in their eyes at least, superior to that of the other conferences

  • Interestingly, also in 1959, play for the Atlantic Bowl at the university level was inaugurated; this bowl game was first established in 1956 and was originally a competition between the winner of the MIAA football conference and mostly championship intermediate teams from Central Canada; in 1959 participation became restricted to the MIAA champions and the winners of the OIFC, one of three university football conferences then in existence in Central Canada; the first university inter-conference Atlantic Bowl was won by StFX of the MIAA over the Ontario Agricultural College (OAC, now the University of Guelph) of the OIFC by a score of 26-14

  • 1960 - for the second straight year, the Yates Cup winner (McGill) and the Hardy Trophy winner (Alberta) met in the Churchill Bowl, again billed as a national championship match-up, the game was played in Montreal, score: McGill 46, Alberta 7

  • 1961 - a national championship Churchill Bowl game did not take place, Queen's, the Yates Cup winner, declined an offer to play UBC, the Hardy Trophy winner, in Vancouver; McGill did play an inter-conference, pre-season game against StFX which may have been for the Churchill trophy, outcome: McGill 21, StFX 7

  • 1962 - the Churchill Bowl game in 1962 was a pre-season affair, McGill challenged St. Francis Xavier, the 1961 Atlantic Bowl winners, to a match at McGill's Molson Stadium which sources agree was for the Churchill trophy, McGill 13, StFX 6

  • 1963 - some confusion as to whether or not a Churchill Bowl game was played; McGill, the 1962 Yates Cup champion did play a pre-season game against StFX, the 1962 Jewett Trophy winner, in Antigonish, N.S., which at least one source claims to have been for the Churchill trophy, McGill 7, StFX 14

  • 1963 - also in 1963, Alberta (winners of the WIFL Hardy Trophy) challenged Queen's (that year's OQAA Yates Cup winners) to a post-season match to be played in Edmonton (but not for the Churchill trophy); instead, the game was billed as the Golden Bowl with the winner to be awarded a new trophy: The Lieutenant-Governor of Alberta Trophy; outcome: Queen's 7, Alberta 25

  • 1964 - more confusion as to whether or not a Churchill Bowl game was played; McGill did play an exhibition game against Saint Mary's in Halifax, score: McGill 31, Saint Mary's 14; also in 1964, McMaster and UBC played a mid-season exhibition game with UBC winning 47-0

  • 1964 - Queen's (SIFL champions and eventual Yates Cup winners) and Alberta (Hardy Trophy winners) seemed destined to meet again in post-season challenge play this year however McMaster (OIFC champions) and an OQAA affiliate challenged Queen's (also an OQAA member) to a post-season match for the Yates Cup which Queen's was apparently obliged to accept; Queen's administration had instituted a rule some years earlier which stipulated that, for academic reasons, the football team could not play any post-season games after mid-November, the earliest the Queen's/Alberta could take place was November 21, therefore, the match did not take place; prior to mid-November, Queen's did play and defeat McMaster 63-6 for the Yates Cup

  • 1965 - another mid-season affair was played between McMaster and UBC with the game ending in an 8-8 draw

©1998-2006 Robert E. Watkins, All Rights Reserved
- is a privately operated web site - Canadian Interuniversity Sport Football -