As we celebrate our amazing country’s 150th birthday, let’s take a look at the 10 most iconic sports moments in Canadian history!
Marilyn Bell was a long distance swimmer who won virtually every possible athletic award including the Lou Marsh Trophy as Canada’s Athlete of the Year (1954) and induction into Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame (1958). However, Bell is best known for being the first person to swim 51.5 Kilometers across Lake Ontario from Youngstown, New York all the way to Toronto. To make it even more impressive, she was only 16 years old!
2. Nancy Greene wins Olympic gold in skiing, 1968
Nancy Greene’s victory in the 1968 giant slalom race is still considered amongst the most dominant wins in Olympic history, as she defeated the second place skier by an incredible margin of 2.68 seconds. Greene also won a silver medal at the games, quickly becoming the face of Canadian skiing.
3. Paul Henderson’s game winning goal in the Summit Series, 1972
More than just a hockey game, Paul Henderson’s game-winning goal over the Soviets transcended sports and will forever be engrained in Canadian history. At a time when the Soviets had dominated international hockey, this was the first time a Canadian team had been represented by professional players currently playing in the NHL.
4. Terry Fox’s Marathon of Hope, 1980
Celebrated across the country by millions of people every year, Terry Fox is a national hero. After losing his leg to cancer at the age of 18, Fox set out to run across Canada to raise money for cancer research and averaged nearly a marathon a day for 143 days before he was forced to stop. Fox’s legacy will always be remembered as one of the most incredible athletic achievements, but more importantly, as an inspiration to all those affected by cancer.
5. Joe Carter’s walk-off home run, 1993
The definition of a “where-were-you-when” moment, Joe Carter’s walk-off home run in Game 6 of the 1993 World Series led the Toronto Blue Jays to Back-to-Back World Series titles. For many young Canadians (Including the founders of True North Sports Camps!), this was the start of a love affair with baseball.
6. Donovan Bailey winning the 100m dash, 1996
Often considered the purest form of sport, the 100m sprint is the ultimate test of human athletic performance. In 1996, Donovan Bailey shocked the world by winning the Gold Medal and setting a World Record of 9.84s.
7. Olympic Women’s Hockey Gold Medal, 2002
Led by the greatest female hockey player of all-time, Hayley Wickenheiser, Team Canada managed to overcome questionable officiating (13 penalties!) to defeat the U.S. 3-2 in the Gold Medal game. After the game, Wickenheiser famously quipped, “I hear they had our flag on their dressing room floor…I wonder if they’d like us to sign it.”
8. Mike Weir wins The Masters, 2003
Golf is a sport traditionally dominated by Americans and Europeans. However, in 2003, a left-hander from Brights Grove, Ontario captured the imagination of an entire nation. Playing in the most prestigious golf tournament in the world, Weir won The Masters to become the first Canadian to ever win one of the four major golf tournaments.
9. Cindy Klassen wins five Olympic medals, 2006
Cindy Klassen’s performance at the 2006 Olympics was historical, becoming the first Canadian to win five medals in one Olympic Games. A world-class speed skater, Klassen won five medals including a gold, two silver, and two bronze. Klassen missed out on a second gold medal by just 0.04 seconds in the 100m race.
10. Sidney Crosby’s Golden Goal, 2010
Winter Olympics on home soil. Gold medal game. Canada vs. USA. Overtime. Sidney Crosby scores the most iconic goal since Mario Lemieux in the 1987 Canada Cup and Paul Henderson in 1972, and legendary broadcaster Chris Cuthbert passionately exclaims, “Crosby scores! Sidney Crosby! The golden goal! And Canada has a once-in-a-lifetime Olympic gold!
Did we miss an iconic Canadian sports moment? Share your top picks by posting in the comment section below or tweeting at us on Twitter (@truenorthcamps) with hashtag #playallday and #canada150!