Media Releases

Celebrating 150 years of University of Toronto football

June 21, 2011

New foundation to support student athletes and Toronto youth

TORONTO – The Friends of Varsity Blues Football and the Faculty of Physical Education and Health will celebrate 150 years of football at the University of Toronto with a gala fundraiser on November 9, 2011.

The Varsity Leadership Foundation Dinner will take place in the Great Hall at historic Hart House, on the University of Toronto campus. The gala dinner will mark the official launch of the Friends of Varsity Blues Football’s “Varsity Leadership Foundation”. All proceeds from the dinner will provide support to the University of Toronto’s football program in the areas of athletic scholarships and program enhancements.

“The Varsity Leadership Foundation Dinner will celebrate the storied history of football at U of T and the development of young student athletes who have made significant contributions to all areas of Canadian life for a century and a half,” said Peter McNabb, Chair of the Friends of Varsity Blues Football.

“Our list of alumni reads like a Who’s Who of pioneers and leadership, and under the tagline, ‘Honouring the Past, Building the Future’, the Varsity Leadership Foundation is set to continue the tradition of the Blue and White throughout Canada’s future.”

The first documented football game involving students at the University of Toronto was played on November 9, 1861, when a group of students organized a pick-up game in Queen’s Park on the site of what is now the Ontario Legislative Building.

Two of the players in that game were William Mulock, later a member of Sir Wilfrid Laurier’s cabinet and a long-time Chancellor of the University, and James Loudon, who went on to serve as University of Toronto president from 1892-1906.

This was the beginning of a 150-year tradition that has seen the establishment of the Varsity Blues football team, the construction of Varsity Stadium and the distinguished contributions of University of Toronto football alumni to all areas of Canadian life.

Among well-known Varsity Blues alumni are Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson, Ontario Premier William Davis, Roy McMurtry, Justice John Sopinka, Senator Trevor Eyton, Dr. Smirle Lawson, Dr. Fraser Mustard, Dr. John Evans, Rev. Bob Rumball and Conn Smythe.

“This is an exciting time for Varsity Blues football,” said Dean Ira Jacobs. “We are very proud to celebrate the rich tradition of football at the University of Toronto and we are grateful to the Friends of Varsity Blues Football for their initiative, foresight and philanthropy in supporting future generations of outstanding student athletes.”

About The Friends of Varsity Blues Football

Founded in 1993, the Friends of Varsity Blues Football is a volunteer-based group of corporate/business executives, alumni, coaches, faculty, parents and friends of the University of Toronto Varsity Blues. Its mission is to support a sustainable and competitive Varsity Blues Football Program by promoting student athletic and academic excellence, leadership and community responsibility.

At one time, many of the Friends of Varsity Blues Football enjoyed the privilege of wearing the Blue and White, and each has experienced first-hand the rewards acquired both in the lecture halls and on the field enabling them to succeed in their chosen careers.

The Friends of Varsity Blues Football has launched the website www.friendsoffootball.ca, which includes sponsorship options for the Varsity Leadership Foundation Dinner.

About The University of Toronto and the Faculty of Physical Education and Health

The University of Toronto has three campuses and is one of the world’s greatest public research universities, committed to offering its students outstanding academic and non-academic opportunities.

The Faculty of Physical Education and Health offers undergraduate and graduate degree programs while providing recreation, instruction, intramural and intercollegiate programs for U of T students.

The Faculty also aims to build Ontario’s capacity for high performance sport through its plans for the Goldring Centre for High Performance Sport, an integrated research, teaching, training and competition centre of excellence adjacent to Varsity Centre at Bloor St. and Devonshire Place.

For more information, visit www.physical.utoronto.ca.

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FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT:

George Karrys
Communications, Varsity Leadership Foundation Dinner
416.605.2515
george@wendykane.com -OR- george@isportonline.com
friendsoffootball.ca