Sports in Canada

When you think of Canada, you may think about the cultural proximity with the US, the freezing cold but also about sports. Sport is an integral part of Canadian culture. The major sports in Canada are similar to those of the US, but with a bit of a Canadian twist!

  • Ice Hockey: The Canadian national sport. It is considered something of a rite of passage for newcomers to go to a hockey game, so don’t miss out! There are hundreds of lower league teams across the entire country, as well as casual or ‘pond hockey’ at every turn. The Canadian teams in the North American ‘National Hockey League’ (NHL) are: Montréal Canadians, Ottawa Senators, Toronto Maple Leafs, Winnipeg Jets, Calgary Flames, Edmonton Oilers and Vancouver Canucks.
  • Baseball: Also very popular in Canada, although since the relocation of the Montréal Expos to Washington in 2005, the only Canadian team to play in the American ‘Major League Baseball’ (MLB), is the Toronto Blue Jays.
  • Canadian Football: Although closely resembling American Football (as played in the ‘National Football League’ or NFL), there are a few distinct differences in Canadian Football that make it proudly Canadian – it is the second most popular sport in the country! The ‘Canadian Football League’ (CFL) is contested by nine teams – Hamilton Tiger-Cats, Montréal Alouettes, Ottawa Redblacks, Toronto Argonauts, BC Lions, Calgary Stampeders, Edmonton Eskimos, Saskatchewan Roughriders and Winnipeg Blue Bombers.
  • Basketball: a sport that traditionally shares its stadiums with hockey, basketball has had a surge in popularity recently, particularly in eastern Canada. While there is a Canadian league (the NBL), this surge is partly thanks to the successes of the Toronto Raptors, which is the only Canadian team to play in the American ‘National Basketball Association’ (NBA), since the relocation of the Vancouver Grizzlies to Memphis, Tennessee in 2001.
  • Soccer: Perhaps surprisingly, soccer is officially the most played sport in Canada, according to respective participation surveys. Although the sport doesn’t receive the same media or public attention, there are now three Canadian teams in the top-level ‘Major League Soccer’ (MLS): Montréal Impact, Toronto FC and Vancouver Whitecaps FC.

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About the Author:

I founded ARIANNE Relocation Canada in 1997 in order to assist families relocating to Montreal, and then all over Canada. I have a lot of advice and stories to share about how to successfully move and relocate to Canada! If I can be of help please contact me at

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