Berlitz Blog

Published : Thu, Nov 21, 2019 5:00 PM GMT

Canada: The birthplace of sports

Hockey might be Canada’s national sport, but its rich history and diversified cultural heritage has contributed to sports around the world, far beyond the hockey arena.

Here are some examples.

Lacrosse, perhaps the oldest sport in North America, was played by indigenous people long before Europeans came to Canadian shores. It’s believed lacrosse was played by Algonquins in the St. Lawrence valley in the 1600s, or before.

Broomball, is a lot like ice hockey but played with brooms, rubber-soled shoes and a ball, rather than skates, curved sticks and pucks. Thought to have been invented in the early 1900s, perhaps for players who did not want or were not able to wear skates, the first known organized game was played in Saskatchewan in 1909. The first “brooms” were similar to the brooms we use today. Still called brooms, they are now broom-shaped, triangular rubber heads attached to a stick. Broomball is played around the world and even has its own governing body, the International Federation of Broomball Associations, headquartered in in Canada.

Baseball, yes baseball, the United States’ past time. The first game resembling a modern baseball game was played in Beachville, Ontario in 1838, according to CBS sports. There were five bases and players threw overhand, not common at the time in the U.S. One difference, according to CBS, the batter was out if the ball was caught after the first bounce. Some baseball fans say the first game was played in Hoboken, New Jersey. By this account, however, that was second.

Disc golf, similar to traditional golf, the idea is to get to the target with the fewest number of shots. This time, however, the ball is a disc, and players throw it as many times as necessary to reach the target. As with golf, the fewest throws wins. It’s believed the first game was played in Saskatchewan, according to Wikipedia. There are now more than 100,000 members worldwide of the Professional Disc Golf Association, including Canada which won gold at the 2017 WFDF World Team Disc Golf Championships, defeating Finland in the finals.

Basketball, popular all over the world, was created by a Canadian. Almonte, Ontario native Dr. James Naismith was looking for a winter sport for his athletes at a YMCA in Springfield, Massachusetts. He set up peach baskets at each end of the gym, produced a soccer ball and the rest is history.

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