Why Sport Is a Critical Part of Canadian Culture

Part of the immigration process is about being able to integrate into Canadian culture, and a large part of Canadian culture is our sport. The sports mentioned in this article are not necessarily part of the English test that is a required component of the immigration process. While it may not be a necessity to being integrated into Canadian culture, an understanding of it, and in fact watching it, brings with it an understanding of Canada that will definitely help in the overall process. The sports mentioned here are the ones that the numbers say are the most popular and that are the most Canadian.

Hockey and the National Hockey League

Hockey is the number one sport in Canada, and it really does have a national following with a team in every corner of the country. Research shows that an NHL franchise is, on average, worth around $650 million. And these numbers equate to big viewers, as many Canadians will watch their favorite team with dedication each time they play. In fact, the opening game this season had more than 2 million viewers – the most-watched broadcast in Canada.

To many, hockey presents as the typical game played on frozen lakes and ponds and is more traditional than professional, with the league only a century or so old, while the game has been played for long before that. If you are going to feel like a part of your community, you will need to become a dedicated fan and learn the fan traditions of your local team.

Canadian Football League

It is the only major sport that is not integrated with the American version or American league. While this sport is often associated with the US, it has a long and prestigious history in Canada. However, it is still a growing market, and the franchise is much smaller than the other major leagues and particularly hockey.

The Canadian Football League, although mirrored on the NFL, is restricted to teams from Canada, and the game is slightly different from the game played in America. The main differences are that the Canadian field is bigger, and there are less downs or plays in the Canadian version of the game. Apart from that, it is essentially the same game, with the highest prize in the game being the Grey Cup.


Known as a traditional or aboriginal game for toughening up warriors, the game of lacrosse has been taken on board as a very Canadian game. The essential nature of the game is still one of aggression and force. The National Lacrosse League has a lot of history but is still considered by many to be a subculture. Yet it is a sport that definitely has the required rough and tumble, never say die attitude that pervades Canadian sporting culture.

Understanding and watching these sports provides both conversation topics for integration and will also go a long way towards understanding Canadian culture. The act of immigration is very much about the mixing and understanding of the various cultures that make up Canadian society, and sport is a fantastic way to do this.

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