A few days ago, Canada entered RWC 2011 with an enthusiastic 25-20 win over Tonga, showing strong values of courage and solidarity... and they'll be playing vs France in a few hours...
Whilst it has never been a major sport in the country, Rugby Football has a long history in Canada. According to Rugby Canada (cf "History of Rugby Canada"), the first game of rugby recorded took place in Montreal among artillery men in 1864. That same year, Trinity College in Toronto (err... I don't have this exact picture... above is Upper Canada College in Toronto instead !!), published the first set of rules for the game of rugby in Canada. In 1868, the first club, the Montreal Football Club was formed.
Football played in these years was a blend between Rugby code, as defined in 1871, and other local ball games played in universities, resulting in various codes depending on time and space... and not to forget the influence of newly formed American Football as elaborated by Walter Camp and friends in Easzt Coast universities... e.g. just check the look and attitude of this "rugby" team from Toronto c1900
Quoting Rugby Canada again: "Across Canada, there was a brief pre-war resurgence of rugby, [...] From 1914 to 1919, only in British Columbia and Nova Scotia, were there sufficient numbers of teams to arrange matches on a semi-regular basis. [...] In 1919, a Canadian Services Team played overseas against representatives from England, New Zealand, South Africa and Australia. The formation of the Rugby Union of Canada took place in 1929 and this was followed by a tour of Japan by a Canadian representatives side in 1932 (W5, L2)."
On the West Coast, in British Columbia (say, 4500 km away from Toronto !!), the first game was played in 1876 between members of the Royal Navy and the land forces on Vancouver Island. It was another ten years before the game was played on the mainland and in 1889.
Below are Vancouver Crusaders RFC, City Champions 1911 (large pic here) - and, yes, these guys really look like ruggers!
I don't remember of a Scottish settlement in Vancouver ;-) but, according to the text on the back of the card, there was five former Watsonians in this team incl. Captain and Vice-Captain...
BTW : I'm looking for some pictures of the Canadian tour in Japan in 1932. Anyone around ?