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U of T Varsity Blues rugby football team is inducted into the 2016 Ontario Sports Hall of Fame

Photo of the 1909 Varsity rugby football team (photo courtesy of U of T Archives)

The team won the first Grey Cup in 1909

For every sport, there's always that one game, a championship series or a specific moment that fans cherish for years to come.

For the University of Toronto's Varsity Blues rugby football team – the original Varsity football team – that special moment happened in December of 1909, a game none of us are old enough to remember.

Playing in front of a packed Rosedale field, the Blues faced off against the Toronto Parkdale Canoes Club, eventually clinching the game with a score of 26-6 and winning the first-ever Grey Cup. 

Named after Canada’s Governor General Albert Henry George Grey, the Cup is now awarded to the champions of the Canadian Football League.

The 1909 Blues team was inducted Oct. 17 into the 2016 Ontario Sports Hall of Fame for winning the first Grey Cup. They were presented with the Ferguson Jenkins Heritage Award, introduced in 2011 to commemorate those one-of-a-kind moments in the history of sports in Ontario.

Professor Ira Jacobs, dean of U of T's Faculty of Kinesiology and Physical Education, accepted the award on behalf of the University of Toronto, thanking the committee “for recognizing the legacy of a game that happened 107 years ago and evolved into a recreational, social, and cultural phenomenon, and a truly national legacy.”

The Blues went on to win the Cup for the next two years, in 1910 and 1911, and again in 1920 “making U of T the winningest university with four Grey Cups,” said Jacobs.

The team's legacy was acknowledged earlier in the year with a Grey Cup commemorative plaque mounted on the U of T Varsity Stadium by the Historic Sites and Monuments Boards of Canada, and Parks Canada.