Grey Cup, age 100, to visit Iqaluit this fall
“We think it’s a fun way to engage kids”
The Canadian Football League’s famous trophy, the Grey Cup, is turning a century old this year and to mark the event, it’s making its way North.
As part of its 100-year anniversary celebration, the “Grey Cup 100 Tour” is including Canada’s third coast by stopping off for a short-but-sweet visit to Iqaluit, something Sara Moore, vice president of marketing for the CFL, says may be a first.
“I’ve done a lot of asking and nobody can recall a time where it has,” said Moore. “Someone might tell you that their great uncle won it back in the day and has brought it up, but as far as we know at the office here, it’s never ever made a trip up [to Iqaluit].”
The cup, which is given to the team who wins the CFL playoffs at the end of every season, is making its way across Canada on a special train marking the anniversary.
The tour leaves Pacific Central Station in Vancouver Sept. 9 and makes its way east, stopping off at over 100 communities until it reaches its final destination, Toronto, on Nov. 17, for the Grey Cup final on Nov. 25.
But on Thursday Oct. 11, the cup will fly up to Iqaluit, along with CFL commissioner Mark Cohon.
It’s still not known if any CFL players will accompany the trophy up North due to CFL scheduling, but the celebration will include cheerleaders, games, and the opportunity to take a photo with the trophy.
Moore said it its important for the CFL to get off the rail line and make the hike up North.
“This is a tour for all Canadians. If we just stuck to the rail line, we wouldn’t involve all fans of the league or the cup,” Moore said, adding that there is a big CFL fan base in the North.
Moore also said she’s been in touch with schools in Iqaluit, and thinks it’s important to share the history of the cup with younger generations.
“We think it’s a fun way to engage kids, and trick them into having fun while they engage in history,” Moore said. “Really, the history of the nation is really reflected in the Grey Cup itself. So using grey cup’s past, we can teach great lessons about tolerance.”
She says one example of this tolerance is when Chuck Ealey, an African-American quarterback from Notre Dame college was overlooked by America’s National Football League because of his race.
The CFL, however, allowed Ealey to play, and he won the 60th Grey Cup in 1972 with the Hamilton Tiger Cats.
Like the National Hockey League’s Stanley Cup, the Grey Cup was commissioned by a Governor General.
Albert Grey originally donated the cup to the winner of the amateur rugby football championship of Canada 1909, according to the Canadian Football Hall of Fame.
The Grey Cup was first awarded to the winner of the CFL playoffs in 1958, when the Canadian Football Council withdrew from the Canadian Rugby Union and renamed itself.
The chalice of the trophy is made of sterling silver, and has all winners of the cup engraved at its base, which grows in size year-by-year.
The Grey Cup won’t stay in Iqaluit for long, however.
It will remain in Iqaluit for less than 24 hours before heading to Halifax.
Funding for the tour comes from the tour’s main sponsors, and the Government of Canada, Moore said.