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Canadian Lacrosse Foundation

Lacrosse - Canada's National Sport

"We believe that in lacrosse and hockey, our two National Games, we have the best moral, physical and mental developers of any games known to the athletic world."

A.E.H. Coo, President
Canadian Amateur Lacrosse Association
April 12, 1926
Revised January 1995

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

The Canadian Lacrosse Association would like to thank the Montreal Amateur Athletic Association for its assistance and support in researching this document.

We would also like to extend our appreciation to the Lacrosse Hall of Fame in New Westminster, British Columbia and the Public Archives of Canada in Ottawa for their assistance in preserving our legacy with such care and dedication.

Thanks also to Mike Mitchell, Director of the North American Indian Travelling College for his contribution.

PREFACE

The roots of our country lay in many cultural soils, and Canadian society has grown and benefited from the contributions of people of many cultural backgrounds. The English and French are recognized as the dominant influences in the creation of this country and the foundation of our nation.

Before the English, French and many other immigrants to this continent strove and competed to build Canada, the aboriginal societies and cultures dominated North America. Unfortunately today there is little common knowledge among Canadians of the nature and complexity of the societies of the First Nations. There is even less understanding or appreciation of the rituals and activities of those cultures.

Lacrosse, because of its unique history, exists as a link between these disparate components of Canadian society. It is one of the rare examples of the culture of the First Nations being accepted and embraced by Canadian society. To the religious and social rituals of the first North Americans, the settlers brought the European concepts of structure and rules, and together they produced one of the first symbols of the new Canadian nation, the sport of Lacrosse. "There is a long history of speculation about where the game of Lacrosse originated, but as Natives of North America, this question has little significance. We do not wonder who invented Lacrosse, or when and where; our ancestors have been playing the game for centuries - for the Creator."

Tewaraathon, Akwasasne's Story of Our Indian National Game: North American Indian Travelling College, 1978

LACROSSE 'A GIFT FOR PEOPLE OF CANADA'

by Mike Mitchell, Director, North American Indian Travelling College

One of the greatest contributions of our Native people in Canada is that of the game of Lacrosse, which in turn has been shared with the world.

At the time of European settlement in Canada it was discovered that all nations and tribes across the country played Lacrosse in one fashion or another and they all had names for their sport.

The two largest linguistic families in Canada both had names for Lacrosse; the Algonquin referred to it as "Baggataway" and the Iroquois Nation referred to it as "Tewaarathon".

To the early French settlers, the stick reminded them somewhat of a Bishop's crozier or staff. The French word for crozier is "crosse" and soon they started calling the game "La Crosse", which is the name everyone is familiar with now.

Originally, Lacrosse, when played only by the Native people, had a spiritual significance in the Indian's way of life. Lacrosse was a game to be played for their Creator, for the Native people to show their gratitude to the Great Spirit for living a full life, one that allowed them to live in harmony with nature and at peace with themselves.

Lacrosse was also played for honoured members within the Indian nation, and a game would be played to acknowledge to the Great Spirit that they were grateful that an elder or medicine person with great knowledge of many things existed in their midst.

In early days, contrary to popular belief, a Lacrosse game would be played to settle a dispute between two tribes. In times of differences between Indian nations, the leaders and elders would arrange a Lacrosse game and the winner of that game would be considered the one with the correct viewpoint, sanctioned by the Great Spirit.

Lacrosse was very much a part of the culture of the Indian people, as well as a spiritual link with their Creator. Once settlers began to establish themselves in Canada, they took a great liking to Lacrosse and it wasn't long before almost every small community in Canada boasted of a Lacrosse team. During that time, rules were established for the number of players on each side and the playing area to be covered.

Today, Lacrosse has evolved from a spiritual game of our Native people to the exciting, thriving sport played in every province in Canada.

It is commonly referred to as the "fastest sport on two feet" and rightfully so. In addition Lacrosse is one of very few sports in this country that can boast of originating from the land proudly called Canada.

HISTORY OF LACROSSE IN CANADA

No one can question the origin of this sport. Jean de Brebeuf recorded observations of a Lacrosse game in 1683 in what is now Southern Ontario, Canada. The legacy of the original North Americans to the European settlers, Lacrosse remains one of the few aspects of Native culture which has survived and prospered under the settlers' tutelage. Pre-dating recorded history, the sport has roots which are long and deep in North American society in general and the life and culture of the Natives of Ontario and Quebec.

"Many centuries before the white man set foot on the North American continent, our Native people were given the gift of lacrosse from the Creator. Although there was a great variation in the kind of stick used and the kind of game played, the philosophy, the spirit and the relation of lacrosse and the Creator was one; each tribal group held lacrosse in very high esteem."

Tewaarathon, Akwesasne's Story of Our Indian National Game, North American Indian Travelling College, 1978It was in the early 1800s that the Montreal townspeople became interested in this activity of the Mohawk tribes. In the 1840s the first games of Lacrosse were played between the townsfolk and the Natives. The action and skill of the game soon won the hearts of the locals, and though it was many years before any significant wins were logged against the Natives, the game of Lacrosse was quickly winning the loyalty and interest of the newest North Americans.

By the late 1850s and early 1860s Lacrosse had its foothold in the sporting society of the time and the first non-native Lacrosse clubs were being formed. This quickly led to the formation of inter-city rivalries and challenges, and the competitive base of the sport of Lacrosse was born.

The role of the Montreal athletes and organizers in creating a structured sport which captured the imagination of a young nation cannot be ignored. Those visionaries took the Native game with all its beauty, skill and dedication of spirit and molded it into a competitive sport which won the hearts and minds of the early Canadians.

Lacrosse was first declared the National Game of Canada in 1859. Although the original government records have never been located, hundreds of references cite this event, from renowned encyclopediae, books on Canada's history, government communications and educational textbooks to newspaper and other media accounts dating back in history.

One such reference occurs in Scribner's Monthly, Volume 14, May-October 1877. "The game of Lacrosse, which was adopted as the national game of Canada on the 1st of July, 1859, the first Dominion Day...

"The game of Lacrosse was granted this status in the 1800s, not merely because of its popularity or economics, but because it has made significant and lasting contributions to the history and development of this nation, its people, and the sport community. Indeed, Lacrosse is known as Canada's National Game throughout the world.

Symbol of a Nation

The birth of a nation is soon followed by a need for the populace to establish their identity and proclaim themselves to the rest of the world. Peter Lindsay stated in his paper to the Symposium on the History of Sport in Canada (1972) that nationalism can be seen to manifest itself in predictable characteristic ways such as the attempt to focus attention and promote positive identity. George Beers, a staunch Canadian patriot, embodied this reality in his words and deeds as a leader of sport and science in this country.

Beers clearly understood and accepted the role of sport in integrating the disparate aspects of the new Canadian society, and his love of the new country demanded that the symbolic sport through which this nationalism be channeled would be wholly and uniquely Canadian. He wrote in 1869: "If the Republic of Greece was indebted to the Olympic Games; if England has cause to bless the name of cricket, so may Canada be proud of Lacrosse. It has raised a young manhood throughout the Dominion to active, healthy exercise; it has originated a popular feeling in favour of physical exercise, and has, perhaps, done more than anything else to invoke a sentiment of patriotism among young men in Canada; and if this sentiment is desireable abroad, surely it is at home."The acceptance of this principle by Beers' peers in the sporting community was reflected in the motto of the first national sport governing body which proclaimed "OUR COUNTRY - OUR GAME".

So too did the press of the era willingly accept and promote this principle as they proudly proclaimed for one and all to read that Lacrosse was our "National Game". Lacrosse is deeply entrenched in Canada's history, tradition, and culture.

As our nation spread from coast to coast, Lacrosse played an essential role in bringing those far flung regions together. Douglas Fisher, in his article entitled Sport as Culture, looked at the ways in which sport united this country. In 1885 the federal government rushed troops, via the newly completed railway, to put down the Riel rebellion. That same year a Lacrosse team from New Westminster used the very same steel road to travel across the nation to challenge a Toronto team for the National Championship. While political realities tore the country apart, Lacrosse was bringing the regions of the country closer together.

The National Lacrosse Association

As was the nature of their European background, the settlers soon felt that the game needed more structure and stability. This transition occurred through the 1860s, largely as a result of the efforts of Dr. George W. Beers of Montreal. The name of Dr. George Beers remains etched in Canadian sport annals as he was chiefly responsible for setting the tone and direction of the development of sport in this country which continues today. Though well deserved, this recognition is not given often, but as the former Minister of State for Fitness and Amateur Sport Iona Campagnolo stated in her introduction to Sport in Canada: a Historical Perspective: "Lacrosse, on the other hand, originated in this country. The wild, melee-like Indian game of baggataway was transformed into modern lacrosse by a young, energetic Montreal dentist named George Beers.""Beers was our pioneer sport builder."

In 1867 the Montreal Lacrosse Club, headed by Dr. Beers, organized a conference in Kingston, Ontario in order to create a national body whose purpose would be to govern the sport throughout the newly formed country. This was a highly significant development as the National Lacrosse Association, the predecessor of the CLA, became the first national sport governing body in North America dedicated to the governance of a sport, the standardization of rules and competition, and the running of national championships to promote good fellowship and unity across the country.

The first symbol of the national championship was a set of banners donated by T. J. Claxton of Montreal. The Claxton Flags, as they were known, proudly displayed the motto of the organization, "OUR COUNTRY - OUR GAME".

Rise to Prominence

Through the 1880s Lacrosse grew at a phenomenal rate until, by the turn of the century, it was the premier sport in Canada. By the end of 1867 there were about 80 clubs operating across the country. By 1877 there were 11 clubs in Montreal alone and 7 in Toronto. Major clubs also operated out of Ottawa, Hamilton, Quebec City, and there were more than 100 clubs throughout the towns and communities in Ontario and Quebec (Allen Cox, History of Sport in Canada, 1969).

The game, however, was not restricted to just those two provinces. Manitoba joined the ranks of Lacrosse-playing provinces as early as 1871 with clubs operating in Fort Garry and Winnipeg (J.K. Munro in Canadian Magazine, 1902, vol.19). By the spring of 1883 Albertans were playing the game (Edmonton Bulletin, March 31, 1883). Lacrosse spread into the Maritimes by 1889 in New Brunswick (New Brunswick Reporter, April 25, 1889) and Nova Scotia in the following year (Globe and Mail, April 14, 1890). British Columbia, long one of the major forces in Lacrosse, began playing the game in the 1880s and by 1890 the British Columbia Amateur Lacrosse Association was formed. In 1893 the last remaining province, Saskatchewan, had formed its first clubs and was active in the sport (Winnipeg Free Press, April 18, 1893).

In addition to the number of clubs playing the sport, fans and the press became obsessed with Lacrosse. Games in the 1880s were commonly attended by 5,000 fans, and it was not unusual to see as many as 10,000. The press of the time took great care and attention to report not only the most recent games and scores, with full descriptions of the games, but also to report all the activities of meetings and assemblies. A common message that was repeated time and again was the reference to Lacrosse as the "National Sport of Canada". The Canadian press knew that it was the most important sport to their readers.

Among the many accomplishments of the sport of Lacrosse from that era was innovation in presenting sport to the fans. One of the first night games to be played under the new "Electric Light" was played in August of 1880 at the Shamrock Lacrosse Field in Montreal. In order to help the fans follow what was occurring on the field at night, in a second game the promoters decided to coat the ball with phosphorous. Another major innovation was the concept of presenting other sports as entertainment during the breaks in the game. It was common practice to hold track and field competitions and demonstrations during the half time breaks of Lacrosse games.

The Turn of the Century

The advent of the 20th century saw Lacrosse as the dominant sport in Canada. There were extensive amateur and professional leagues across the country and teams routinely travelled from Quebec and Ontario to B.C. and vice versa to challenge for supremacy in the game. As an example of its popularity, in 1910 a Montreal team travelled to New Westminster to challenge for the Championship of Canada. The game was attended by more than 15,000 fans. The total population of New Westminster at the time was less than 12,000.

In 1901 Lord Minto, the Governor General of Canada, aware of what the game meant to the public of Canada, donated a silver cup to become the symbol of the senior amateur championship of Canada. The Minto Cup, today the symbol of supremacy in the Junior ranks, remains one of the proudest prizes of Lacrosse. The fierce competition for senior supremacy in Canada led to the dominance of professional teams and soon the Minto Cup became the trophy of the professional leagues. In 1910 Sir Donald Mann, chief architect of the Canadian Northern Railway, donated a gold cup to be awarded to the national amateur senior champion. When donated in 1910, the Mann Cup was appraised at $2500.00. Today it is one of the most valuable and beautiful trophies in all of sport, and the championship prize of the best Senior team in Box Lacrosse in Canada. So popular was the sport that such notables as P.D. Ross, owner and editor of the Ottawa Journal, donated trophies for competitions in their areas. The Ross Cup, first donated in 1906 for the championship of the Ottawa area, has been rededicated by the C.L.A. as the championship trophy of Senior Men's Field Lacrosse.

The Olympics of 1904 and 1908 saw Lacrosse, very popular in Canada, the United States and Great Britain, chosen as part of the program. The sport, so much a part of the community life, provided one of Canada's gold medals in 1904, which was the first Olympics to which Canada sent an official delegation. The Olympic program of those early years was determined a great deal by the host country. Therefore when the venues shifted to European sites, Lacrosse, not popular on the continent, was dropped from the program of competition. Though its career in the Olympics was short lived, Lacrosse still remains the only team sport in which Canada has won more gold medals than the rest of the world combined.

The society of the early 1900s was influenced by changing technology and social evolution. The arrival of the automobile as an affordable means of transportation, the desire to leave the growing cities in summer, and the growth of mass participation sports such as baseball and golf created a difficult atmosphere in which a summer sport fought for attention and participation. In addition, it was difficult to promote participation of the young in schools, as the season for competition fell during summer break. However, beyond these circumstantial issues, the single most important problem was the rise of professionalism in the sport.

In the period from 1880 to 1915, Lacrosse, clearly the country's most popular sport, found itself increasingly in conflict with the social values and mores of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. As early as 1880 the intrusion of "professionalism" into the sport became an issue within the organizations and between the organizations and a society which for the most part reviled such activity in favour of the amateur ideal. In May 1880 press articles referred to professionalism as the "evil" and that "its hateful presence has fully declared itself" (Toronto Star, May 25, 1880).

Professionalism had become such a major issue within the sport that in the late 1890s the National Amateur Lacrosse Association, splintered and fractionalized, gave way to the formation of a professional body, the National Lacrosse Union, and an amateur body, the Canadian Lacrosse Association. Though they continued to compete against each other, the battle lines were clearly drawn. A few years later saw the creation of a second professional league, the Dominion Lacrosse Union.

The status of professional athlete was at first not a major concern as remuneration was not significant. As the sport flourished, however, the importance of professional players on all teams increased, and eventually all professional teams created a demand for higher salaries and more benefits. In his 1972 paper on the history of Lacrosse in B.C., David Saveleiff indicated that in 1908 an average player could make as much as $100.00 per season and stars could make $1,000.00 per year. Cyclone Taylor, the famous multi-sport athlete, made almost $2,000.00 that year playing for the New Westminster Salmonbellies. In 1917 Newsy Lalonde made more than $3,000.00 while playing for Vancouver.

The sport of Lacrosse, years ahead of its time in becoming professional, had made a virtue and a standard of a practise which was in direct conflict with the majority view of a society which still reflected the Victorian ideals of amateurism and excellence in sport for its own sake. The nature of this controversy was reflected in the struggle within the Montreal Amateur Athletic Association to resolve the fact that Lacrosse was the only "professional" sport in the organization. It resulted in major conflicts between factions of the organization and by 1920 the Montreal Lacrosse Club, part of the M.A.A.A. and founder of the sport of Lacrosse, had been so severely restricted and penalized by the organization for professionalism that it could no longer compete in any league (M.A.A.A. Minute Books, 1911 - 1920).

The Advent of Box Lacrosse

In 1925 the organizers of Lacrosse throughout the country began to realize the need for solidarity and combined effort to revive the game. That year saw the re-creation of the Canadian Amateur Lacrosse Association with all the sport united under one banner. The Mann Cup was awarded to the senior champion of Canada and the Minto Cup was awarded to the junior champion. Unfortunately the war years and the new freedoms provided by technology and the attraction of the countryside took their toll of available athletes and the sport still struggled with participation.

The coming of the 1930s brought innovation once again to the sport. Promoters began to consider alternatives to the game of Field Lacrosse. Hockey popularity was rising and in order to capitalize on the familiar winter venue of indoor rinks, the promoters married the two most popular games, Lacrosse and Hockey, and created indoor Lacrosse, also known as Box Lacrosse or Boxla. The game was built upon speed and action and very quickly won massive support within the organization. By the mid 30s the field game had been completely replaced by Boxla and the box version became the official sport of the Canadian Lacrosse Association. Soon, nowhere in Canada was anyone playing the original version of the game of Lacrosse.

As Canada turned its back on the game of Field Lacrosse, the sport was gaining popular support and growing rapidly south of the border and overseas. Introduced into the United States in the 1870s, Lacrosse had continued to expand and win acceptance along the eastern seaboard. The more hospitable weather conditions helped to make Lacrosse prosper in the institutions of higher learning, especially in the Ivy League schools, as a spring sport. England continued its passion for the Canadian game introduced in the 1870s and following the example of exhibition games played before Queen Victoria, it became a sport of the upper classes and found a welcome home in private schools and universities. Australia was the other hotbed of Lacrosse. Imported from Britain, it took hold and has existed happily and popularly since the 1880s and 90s. Thus outside of Canada, sport enthusiasts had taken to our game with a passion and while they held to the traditional game, back home in Canada Box Lacrosse was the passion.

Modern Lacrosse

The game of Lacrosse has evoked Canada's uniqueness and individuality as a nation for well over a century. It has accomplished this function largely because of the willingness of government, historians, writers and the sports community to use it as a symbol of Canada. It has been accepted around the world that it is an integral part of Canadian culture and history.

Participation in Lacrosse has had a roller-coastered history. While the game grew in the late 1800s, participation waned in the 1920s until the introduction of Box Lacrosse. And although the game grew tremendously since then, it has had further ups and downs, but leading into and during the 1990s, participation rates grew exponentially in all forms of the game. Currently more than 100,000 players register with the Canadian Lacrosse Association.

The Canadian Lacrosse Association today recognizes four separate disciplines in the game of Lacrosse: Box, Men's Field, Women's Field and Inter-Lacrosse. Box Lacrosse, to which we as a nation have uniquely stayed committed, comprises the major part of the Canadian Lacrosse scene. Field Lacrosse, the traditional game, has for all intents and purposes been dominated by the Americans, though it is played in Great Britain, Australia, Japan and other countries.

Women's Field Lacrosse is a very popular sport in Canada, Great Britain, Japan, Australia and the United States and has remained true to the traditional form of the game. Men's Field Lacrosse has been modified from the original version of the game so much that the separate disciplines of Men's and Women's Lacrosse bear little or no resemblance in the rules of play and strategy. The Men's game is a contact game in which participants wear protective equipment and players are highly specialized. The Women's game is non-contact wherein equipment is not worn and is in fact discouraged. The players tend to be required to be versatile and the game stresses ball movement.

The other discipline is Inter-Lacrosse. A recent innovation, this game is a non-contact, skill oriented activity. Its main function is to introduce a wide range of young athletes to the skills of Lacrosse and to provide an education tool to help develop conditioning and coordination in young athletes. The game stresses cooperation and respect for opponents and is extremely flexible in how and where it may be played.

The World Championships of Lacrosse, which are attended every four years, are very significant to this country. The major difficulty in the 1960s and 70s was that while the other countries were playing Field Lacrosse, here in Canada we played only Box Lacrosse. For the first few world championships, the CLA was forced to convert its premier Box players to field players and try our best.

The culmination of this effort came in 1978, when against all odds, the Canadian team pulled off a major upset and defeated the powerful American team in the championship game. This was the only time the Americans have lost the World title since its inception. Having lost badly to the Americans in the round robin by a score of 24-3, the Canadian team stormed back to win the championship in overtime 17-16.

The fallout of that win has been the renewal of interest and participation in the sports of Men's and Women's Field Lacrosse in Canada. The resurgence of those games has produced a form of Lacrosse which is unique to Canada. The marriage of the skill, patience and strategy of the pure field game with the speed and reaction of the Box game is what makes Lacrosse in Canada different than anywhere else in the world.

Dozens of countries are now involved in Lacrosse - from the USA, Australia, England, Scotland and Wales to the relative newcomers Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Singapore, Sweden, etc. The Iroquois Nationals, a Native North American team, participate in the Men's World Cup as a separate "national team".

Lacrosse has made a comeback, and there is no sign of any wane in its current level of growth and increased popularity.

CONTRIBUTION TO SPORT IN CANADA

The National Lacrosse Association, formed in 1867, was the first national body dedicated to the governance of sport, the standardization of rules and the holding of National Championships to promote unity and fellowship throughout the nation.

Canada, because of its nature as a large sparsely populated country, was one of the first nations interested in the growth of the concept of national championships. Lacrosse was the first body able and willing to organize these competitions, thus creating an integral part of modern sport. This provided a non-political venue and a social milieu to bring the regions of Canada together. Likewise, the N.L.A. pioneered the concept of a nationally standardized set of rules and making the maintenance and modification of these rules the function of a governing body.

Very early, the organizers of Lacrosse accepted the principle that sport should be for all participants. This was not restricted to a consideration of merely economic or social status, but encompassed the need for sport to be for both males and females. Dr. George Beers created a set of rules which would allow women, still hampered by the social standards of the times, to play the sport of Lacrosse.

In addition to promoting their own sport, Lacrosse organizers provided a venue for other sports of the time to spread their own popular appeal. Half-time demonstrations of other sports was a common occurrence at Lacrosse matches, and special occasions for competition in other sports were often sponsored by the Lacrosse organization in the community.

Many other innovations, social and technological, came directly from the minds and hearts of the Lacrosse community. The concept of all-star games began in the early 1800s with Ontario challenging Quebec to an annual match. When the city of Memphis, Tennessee was decimated by Yellow Fever, Lacrosse clubs across Ontario and Quebec held benefit games to raise funds to help relieve the suffering there. Early attempts by promoters to utilize the latest in electric technology has been previously mentioned.

The desire and motivation for Lacrosse enthusiasts to create a national governing body extended to other sports. The Montreal Lacrosse Club along with the Montreal Snowshoe Club formed one of this country's most historically important sporting bodies, the Montreal Amateur Athletic Association. The widespread influence of this organization was recognized by former Minister of State Iona Campagnolo:

"I t (the M.A.A.A.) proved to be the major force behind the organization of much of sport in this country. Its members were responsible for the Canadian Wheelmen's Association, the Canadian Hockey Association and the Canadian Rugby Football Association."

Sport in Canada, Lindsay P.C., 1977

CANADA'S NATIONAL SPORT

Lacrosse has been known as Canada's National Game since 1859.

In 1925, A.E.H. Coo, President of the Canadian Amateur Lacrosse Association refers not only to Lacrosse as Canada's National Summer Game, but also to Canada's other National Game, hockey!

In 1967, the late Honourable Lester B. Pearson, the Prime Minister of Canada, who was himself an accomplished Lacrosse player, when discussing the confirmation of a National Game in the House of Commons, suggested that Canada should have a National Summer Game (Lacrosse), and a National Winter Game (Hockey). Although either Hockey or Lacrosse has been discussed on several occasions, the debate was not resolved.

In 1976, Canada hosted its first Olympics. With much pomp, Canada proclaimed itself to the rest of the world and used the Games as a showpiece of that which is Canada. The $10.00 Olympic commemorative coin depicted a Lacrosse game being played by Native North Americans. Lacrosse was the only sport not in the Olympic program to be so represented, and it was used because it is a symbol of Canada.

In 1978, though Lacrosse was a demonstration sport at the Commonwealth Games in Edmonton, the medal being awarded also proclaimed it as Canada's National Game.

February 8, 1994, Nelson Riis introduced a private members bill (C-212) in the House of Commons to recognize Hockey as the National Sport. Substantial support for Lacrosse, however, resulted in the introduction of an ammendment to the bill (proposed by the Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Canadian Heritage) which was accepted unanimously.

On May 12, 1994, the following Bill C-212 received Royal Assent and became law: "To recognize Hockey as Canada's National Winter Sport and Lacrosse as Canada's National Summer Sport."

This decree is known as Canada's "National Sport Act".The recognition of Lacrosse as Canada's National (Summer) Sport in 1994 is a re-affirmation of the importance of the contributions of the Native North Americans to the development of our society and culture, recognition by the Canadian government of the importance of the sport to this country and confirms our pride in the game that we gave to the world. Canada is the product of an evolution which began with the Natives and was molded by the European settlers. It took the combined efforts of these people to open this country to development. Part of this development led to the invention of Canada's National Winter Game - Hockey.

Again in 1994, Lacrosse was the Official Demonstration Sport of the Commonwealth Games, once again illustrating its importance to Canada. Canada Post issued a Lacrosse stamp for the Games, along with a statement of the game's importance to our country.

SUMMARY

The sport of Lacrosse is an intrinsic part of Canadian culture, tradition and heritage. The recognition of Lacrosse as the National Game for Canada in 1859 is a positive statement of the contributions of the sport to this nation's development. The passing of Bill C-212 by the Government of Canada attests to the enduring nature of the Sport of Lacrosse - Canada's oldest sport.

And, we owe it all to the people of the First Nations - and the Creator.


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