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The Origin Story of the CFL’s Grey Cup trophy

As a long-time fan and observer of the CFL, some aspects of the Canadian game seem to be understood but rarely explained. One of those aspects is the championship of the CFL which is the Grey Cup. The Grey Cup trophy is the centerpiece of every CFL season, and every team commits all their time and resources to strive for the cup.

When explaining the CFL to non-CFL football fans it is common to explain that the Grey Cup championship is the Canadian equivalent of the Super Bowl in the NFL. Today we will take a look at the origins of the Grey Cup.

In 1899 Albert Henry George Grey was named Earl Grey the 4th, and in 1904 Earl Grey the 4th was appointed Governor General of Canada. Grey was one of the more popular Governors-General of his time, and he was one of the few Governor Generals to complete his term from 1904 to 1911. As the Governor General, Grey’s role was to serve as the federal vice-regal representative for the British Monarchy. In 1909, Grey decided to donate the Grey Cup to serve as the championship trophy for Canadian amateur football.

Grey had intended that “the cup must remain always under purely amateur conditions.” But as Canadian amateur football grew in the CFL the Grey Cup became the championship prize for Canadian professional football.

The Grey Cup was produced by Birks Jewelers and the Grey Cup has been damaged and repaired several times. But each year the legacy of Earl Grey is extended as CFL teams compete for the Grey Cup. To conclude the 2022 CFL season the Toronto Argonauts won the 109th Grey Cup. The battle for the 110th Grey Cup will be fought in Hamilton at Tim Hortons Stadium. Each time a CFL team wins a Grey Cup they become a permanent part of the long history of the Grey Cup.


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