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This page is a quick snapshot of the status of Australian Football in Canada. For further information, browse our news items or use the search facility. If you wish to contact football officials from the country, please search our site for links to their leagues or clubs, including in our Atlas. If unsuccessful, we can normally assist with putting people in touch.
Approx population (2009): 34 million
National side: The Northwind (men), Northern Lights (women), Wolfpack (youth)
Governing body: AFL Canada
Primary contact / link: AFL Canada
WFN Census (2004): 314 adults in 14 clubs, 50 juniors
WFN World Ranking (2008): 7th
History: Australian Football got its North American start in Canada in 1989 with the Mississauga Mustangs and Toronto Panthers, which lead to the formation of the Canadian Australian Football Association (now called AFL Canada) and a very strong league in the province of Ontario. Across on the west coast Vancouver (British Columbia) got started in 2001, which has ultimately lead to a successful junior program (yielding Northwind stars such as full forward Scott Fleming) and more senior clubs. Further provinces (Alberta and Quebec) and the capital Ottawa have since begun programs giving the game an increasingly broad base.
Outlook (from 2009): Slow but steady growth appears likely, with the western numbers growing quicker than the east, but the Ontario league comfortably larger. Ontario finding a way to introduce junior clubs would unleash a greater potential. The Northwind should improve rapidly benefiting from the Vancouver junior program.
Other points of interest: Canada has almost a parallel evolution feel to Australia - a huge country with indigenous populations, western European settlement, historically heavy influence from Britain supplanted by the US but with a strong sense of independence, an affinity for wide open spaces yet most of the population huddled in the major cities, a love of contact sport. The biggest difference seems to be an off-season of freezing winter rather than the Australian baking summer. Will these similarities make Canada fertile ground for Australian football - played in the open spaces, full of contact and requiring a unique mixture of teamwork and flair?
Last Updated: Friday, November 05 2010 @ 12:36 pm ACDT|Hits: 4,456