The Importance of Sports in Toronto
Toronto has a long history of sports. It’s considered home to some clubs, including the Granite Club, the Royal Canadian Yacht Club, the Toronto Cricket, Skating and Curling Club, the Toronto Lawn Tennis Club, etc. Toronto is also the location of the Canadian Football League’s headquarters.
Toronto is notable among Canadian cities for having several sports teams associated with American-based professional leagues, particularly the most Canadian pro-sports teams in the major leagues.
Professional Sports Clubs in Toronto
Toronto has teams in practically every North American major professional league, including the Toronto Blue Jays (MLB), Toronto Argonauts (CFL), Toronto Raptors (NBA), Toronto FC (MLS), and the Toronto Maple Leafs (NHL). Toronto is one of four North American cities to have won titles in its five major leagues and the only one to have done so in the Canadian Football League.
Here is the list of the professional sports clubs in Toronto:
- Toronto Argonauts
- Toronto Maple Leafs
- Toronto Blue Jays
- Toronto Raptors
- Toronto Rock
- Toronto Marlies
- Toronto FC
- Toronto FC II
- Raptors 905
- Toronto Arrows
- Toronto Nationals
- York United FC
- Toronto Titans
- Toronto Six
Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic
In March 2020, sports leagues throughout North America suspended their operations due to the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States. Months later, many of those sports leagues were able to resume their play behind closed doors while others either curtailed or canceled their 2020 seasons altogether.
Toronto Summer Games
Baseball: Professional baseball has had a presence in the city at the minor league level since 1896 with the Toronto Maple Leafs of the AAA International League. It was in a game against the Leafs on September 4, 1914.
Toronto was proposed as the home for a National League (NL) team by Albert Spalding when he established the league in 1876. Exhibition games were played by the NL and American League (AL) of Major League Baseball (MLB) in Toronto in the 1910s.
The city is also home to the Toronto Maple Leafs baseball club of the Intercounty Baseball League.
Toronto has also hosted parts of the 2009 World Baseball Classic.
Basketball: Basketball is among the fastest-growing sports in Toronto and is the most popular sport among the city’s youth and millennials. This sport has had significant milestones in the city. The city’s first major professional basketball game was an exhibition between the Fort Wayne Zollner Pistons and Rochester Royals of the National Basketball League at the Gardens in 1946. The first game of the professional Basketball Association of America, a forerunner of the National Basketball Association (NBA), was contested at Maple Leaf Gardens (MLG) between the Toronto Huskies and the New York Knickerbockers on November 1, 1946.
Soccer: The popularity of soccer reflects the city’s demographics; Toronto is a multicultural city with a large immigrant population with long-established roots. Toronto has had teams in a number of first division soccer leagues of the US. Toronto has also been home to numerous minor pro soccer teams. In 2017, BMO Field was listed as a potential venue for the 2026 FIFA World Cup.
Tennis: The National Bank Open, historically known as the Canadian Open, is an annual professional tennis tournament held at the Aviva Center at York University. The tournament began in 1881 and is the second oldest major tennis tournament in the world, behind only Wimbledon. The men’s competition is an ATP World Tour Masters 1000 event on the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) tour. The women’s competition is a WTA 1000 tournament event on the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) tour.
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