The Man Behind the Grey Cup

Although Albert Henry George Grey, 4th Earl Grey won’t be at this year’s 100th Grey Cup game and party, he would no doubt be proud of his legacy. Earl Grey, who served as Governor General of Canada from 1904 to 1911, commissioned and donated the trophy, which bears his name for posterity.

In the spirit of promoting Canadian sports and culture, Lord Grey first intended to donate a trophy for the senior amateur hockey championship in Canada. But Sir Hugh Andrew Montagu Allan beat him to it, and today the Allan Cup continues to serve that role. Not to be deterred from making a name for himself in Canadian sports, Lord Grey donated the Grey Cup as an annual award for the senior amateur football champions, in 1909.

Lord Grey only lived eight more years after donating the cup, dying in his home in Howick, England, in 1917. However, his contribution to Canadian football lives on and this year the Canadian Football League celebrates the 100th Grey Cup championship. Millions of Canadians will be watching the championship game on Sunday, November 25, either live in Toronto or on televisions across the country and around the world.

Library and Archives Canada (LAC) holds many resources relating to the history of the Grey Cup. To learn more about the life and activities of Grey himself, you can consult the Albert Henry George Grey, 4th Earl Grey fonds.

LAC is also pleased to feature footage of the first Grey Cup game in 1909 between two Toronto teams; the 1931 final; and the legendary “Mud Bowl” from 1950, on its YouTube channel.

There are many images in LAC’s holdings that show how the Grey Cup has become part of the Canadian consciousness, weaving its way into everything from federal and provincial politics to marital relations.

Don’t forget to browse LAC’s football Flickr set!

Questions or comments? We would love to hear from you!

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