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Ever wondered what gets Canadian hearts racing?

It’s not just maple syrup!

While ice hockey undeniably tops the list, Canada boasts a diverse sporting culture.

Discover the 11 most popular sports in Canada in our list below.

Most Popular Sports in Canada:

  1. Ice Hockey
  2. Soccer
  3. Basketball
  4. Baseball
  5. Tennis
  6. Golf
  7. Cricket
  8. Curling
  9. Rugby
  10. Lacrosse
  11. Skiing

#1 Ice Hockey

Ice Hockey
  • πŸ“… (Estimated) Year of Introduction in Canada: Late 1800s
  • 🌟 Most Famous Player from Canada: Wayne Gretzky (Canadian)
  • 🌍 Estimated Number of Players in Canada: 600,000

Ice hockey is synonymous with Canadian sports culture, ingrained in the nation’s DNA. The speed, skill, and fierce competition make it a thrilling watch for Canadians.

The National Hockey League (NHL) serves as a stage for Canadian talent and boasts a devoted viewership in the country. Wayne Gretzky, widely regarded as the greatest hockey player of all time, hails from Canada and has left a lasting impact on the sport.

Canada’s numerous Olympic and World Championship victories underscore the country’s ice hockey dominance. For Canadians, ice hockey is more than a mere sport; it’s a way of life.

#2 Soccer

Soccer
  • πŸ“… (Estimated) Year of Introduction in Canada: Late 1800s
  • 🌟 Most Famous Player from Canada: Christine Sinclair (Canadian)
  • 🌍 Estimated Number of Players in Canada: 850,000

Soccer may not be Canada’s national sport, but its fan base and participation are rapidly growing. Canadians are drawn to the sport’s accessibility and global appeal, fostering a passionate soccer community.

Major League Soccer’s (MLS) Canadian franchises, including Toronto FC, Vancouver Whitecaps, and CF MontrΓ©al, are gaining fervent support. Canada’s national team captain, Christine Sinclair, is celebrated by soccer fans as a role model and all-time international top scorer.

Though still emerging on the international stage, soccer continues to gain momentum in Canada with a promising future ahead.

#3 Basketball

Basketball
  • πŸ“… (Estimated) Year of Introduction in Canada: 1892
  • 🌟 Most Famous Player from Canada: Steve Nash (Canadian)
  • 🌍 Estimated Number of Players in Canada: 450,000

Basketball, invented by Canadian James Naismith, has come full circle as its popularity surges in its birthplace. The sport’s universal appeal and blend of athleticism, skill, and strategy continue to captivate Canadians.

The Toronto Raptors’ historic NBA Championship win in 2019 only amplified basketball’s prominence in Canada. Steve Nash, a two-time NBA MVP from Canada, remains an iconic figure and role model in the sport.

Basketball’s growth in Canada shows no signs of slowing, as the country consistently produces top-tier talent and passionate fans.

#4 Baseball

Baseball Softball
  • πŸ“… (Estimated) Year of Introduction in Canada: 1860s
  • 🌟 Most Famous Player from Canada: Larry Walker (Canadian)
  • 🌍 Estimated Number of Players in Canada: 200,000

Baseball has a long history in Canada, intertwined with the nation’s cultural fabric and providing exciting, high-stakes sports entertainment.

The Toronto Blue Jays, Canada’s sole Major League Baseball (MLB) team, have a dedicated fan base, with their 1992 and 1993 World Series wins being unforgettable moments in Canadian sports history. Larry Walker, the first Canadian player inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame, remains an example of the nation’s baseball potential.

The cultural significance of baseball in Canada is undeniable, as the sport thrives as a beloved pastime and professional pursuit for many.

#5 Tennis

Tennis
  • πŸ“… (Estimated) Year of Introduction in Canada: Late 1800s
  • 🌟 Most Famous Player from Canada: Milos Raonic (Canadian)
  • 🌍 Estimated Number of Players in Canada: 1 Million

Tennis in Canada has gained remarkable traction over the years, becoming a popular pursuit for recreation and intense competition alike.

The Rogers Cup, an ATP and WTA event hosted in Canada, is a significant tournament that garners international attention and showcases the nation’s talent. Milos Raonic, a top-ranked player and Wimbledon finalist, has put Canadian tennis on the global map with his powerful game play.

Culturally, tennis holds a prominent position in Canada, with a growing fan base and increasing number of players, the sport is set to continue reaching new heights.

#6 Golf

Golf
  • πŸ“… (Estimated) Year of Introduction in Canada: Late 1800s
  • 🌟 Most Famous Player from Canada: Mike Weir (Canadian)
  • 🌍 Estimated Number of Players in Canada: 5.7 Million

Golf in Canada has a rich history and a devoted following, with enthusiasts drawn to the sport’s serene setting and strategic gameplay.

The RBC Canadian Open, part of the PGA Tour, is a significant golf event held annually in the nation, featuring elite players from around the world. Canadian golfer, Mike Weir, has elevated the country’s standing in the sport, becoming the first Canadian to win the Masters Tournament.

With a blend of picturesque courses and strong golfing talent, Canada’s golf scene is flourishing, propelled by passionate fans and committed players.

#7 Cricket

Cricket
  • πŸ“… (Estimated) Year of Introduction in Canada: Early 1800s
  • 🌟 Most Famous Player from Canada: John Davison (Canadian)
  • 🌍 Estimated Number of Players in Canada: 30,000

Cricket enjoys a niche but dedicated following in Canada, with its fan base growing rapidly due to the nation’s diverse demographic.

Global T20 Canada, a professional Twenty20 cricket league, has brought attention and recognition to the sport within the country. Canadian cricketer John Davison etched his name in history by scoring the then-fastest century in a World Cup match in 2003.

As the country embraces various cultures, cricket’s popularity in Canada is on the rise, with passionate fans and players nurturing the sport’s development.

#8 Curling

Curling
  • πŸ“… (Estimated) Year of Introduction in Canada: Early 1800s
  • 🌟 Most Famous Player from Canada: Jennifer Jones (Canadian)
  • 🌍 Estimated Number of Players in Canada: 130,000

Curling is a quintessential Canadian sport, widely played and adored in the nation. Known for its strategic and precise gameplay, it has a longstanding tradition and deep cultural roots in Canada.

The Tim Hortons Brier and the Scotties Tournament of Hearts are both prestigious annual curling events showcasing the best of Canadian talent. Jennifer Jones, an Olympic gold medalist and multiple-time national champion, is a celebrated figure in Canadian curling.

The sport’s cultural significance in Canada is undeniable, earning a devoted fan base and solidifying its place in the nation’s sporting landscape.

#9 Rugby

Rugby
  • πŸ“… (Estimated) Year of Introduction in Canada: Late 1800s
  • 🌟 Most Famous Player from Canada: Gareth Rees (Canadian)
  • 🌍 Estimated Number of Players in Canada: 100,000

Rugby, in both its union and league forms, has a dedicated following in Canada, offering a captivating mix of speed, strength, and skill for sports enthusiasts.

Major League Rugby welcomes the Toronto Arrows, Canada’s first professional rugby union team, demonstrating the nation’s growing interest in the sport. Gareth Rees, an iconic Canadian rugby player, has enjoyed an illustrious career representing Canada at four Rugby World Cups.

The cultural impact of rugby in Canada continues to grow, with passionate players and fans strengthening the sport’s position in the Canadian sports scene.

#10 Lacrosse

Lacrosse
  • πŸ“… (Estimated) Year of Introduction in Canada: Ancient Times (Indigenous Origins)
  • 🌟 Most Famous Player from Canada: Gary Gait (Canadian)
  • 🌍 Estimated Number of Players in Canada: 190,000

Lacrosse, a sport with deep Indigenous roots in Canada, is held in high esteem as the country’s national summer sport. Providing a mix of skill, athleticism, and strategy, lacrosse commands a strong following in Canada.

The National Lacrosse League (NLL) showcases the indoor version of the sport, known as box lacrosse, with Canadian teams competing against American opponents. Canadian legend Gary Gait revolutionized the sport with his exceptional skills and creativity on the field.

As a sport of historical and cultural significance, lacrosse remains a cherished pastime and competitive pursuit in Canada.

#11 Skiing

Alpine Skiing
  • πŸ“… (Estimated) Year of Popularity Surge in Canada: Late 1800s
  • 🌟 Most Famous Skier from Canada: Nancy Greene (Canadian)
  • 🌍 Estimated Number of Skiing Enthusiasts in Canada: 2.5 Million

Canada’s stunning mountain ranges and snowy landscapes make skiing, both downhill and cross-country, a popular winter activity across the nation.

Skiers like Nancy Greene, who won the 1968 Olympic gold medal in giant slalom, have left an indelible mark on the sport in Canada. World-class ski resorts such as Whistler Blackcomb and Banff offer incredible skiing and snowboarding experiences for enthusiasts of varying skill levels.

With its rugged terrain and passionate skiing culture, Canada remains a top destination for skiers worldwide, celebrating the sport’s exhilarating blend of speed and natural beauty.

FAQ

What is the most popular sport in Canada?

Ice hockey is the most popular sport in Canada, with deep cultural ties and a passionate fan base. A significant number of Canadians play, watch, and follow the sport, especially the National Hockey League (NHL).

What is the national sport of Canada?

The national sport of Canada is ice hockey in the winter and lacrosse in the summer, reflecting the country’s diverse sporting interests and its Indigenous heritage, with both sports having passionate followings.

What are the most watched sports in Canada?

The most watched sports in Canada include ice hockey, soccer, basketball, baseball, tennis, and golf, attracting enthusiastic fans and viewers from all parts of the country with various sporting preferences and interests.

I'm a sports enthusiast who loves all kinds of ball and water sports. I run stand-up-paddling.org (#1 German Paddleboarding Blog), played competitive Badminton, took part in the German Mini Golf Championships, started learning 'real' Golf and dabbled in dozens of other sports & activities.

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