Sports Day in Canada

November 28th, 2013 by Dan Allan

Sports Day in Canada is held in communities across Canada “to celebrate the power of sport, build community and national spirit and facilitate healthy, active living.”

Politics is often described as a sport and, fittingly, our elected officials also play a large role in building communities and our national spirit.

Here’s our list of notable Canadian athletes that have made the switch to politics:

  • Lionel Conacher – Voted Canada’s top athlete of the first half of the 20th century, Conacher won the 1921 Grey Cup with the Toronto Argonauts and was a two-time Stanley Cup champion. Conacher later entered politics, serving as both a Liberal MPP (from 1937 to 1943) and MP (from 1949 to 1954).
  • Ken Dryden – Dryden is a six-time Stanley Cup champion with the Montreal Canadiens and a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame. Dryden later became a Liberal MP, serving from 2004 to 2011.
  • Martha Hall Findlay – Findlay was a silver medallist at the 1976 Canadian Ski Championship and was a member of the national training squad. Findlay later served as the Liberal MP for Willowdale from 2008 to 2011, and ran for the federal Liberal leadership in 2006 and 2013.
  • Peter Fonseca – Fonseca represented Canada at the 1996 Olympics as a marathon runner. Fonseca was elected as a Liberal MPP in 2003 and served until 2011, when he resigned to run federally.
  • Nancy Greene – Greene won gold and silver medals in alpine skiing for Canada at the 1968 Olympics. Greene was named Canada’s Female Athlete of the 20th Century, is a member of the Order of Canada and has served as a Conservative Senator since 2009.
  • Daniel Igali – Born in Nigeria, Igali won a gold medal for Canada in wrestling for Canada at the 2000 Olympics. Igali ran as a Liberal in the 2005 BC provincial election, but was defeated by the NDP.
  • Normie Kwong – Kwong was the first Chinese Canadian to play professional football, winning four Grey Cups during his career. Kwong ran for the Alberta PC in the 1971 provincial election and served as the 16th Lieutenant Governor of Alberta from 2005 to 2010.
  • George Laraque – Laraque played in the NHL from 1996 to 2010, most notably for the Montreal Canadiens. Laraque served as a deputy leader of the Green Party of Canada from July 2010 to October 2013.
  • Frank Mahovlich – Mahovlich played on six Stanley Cup-winning teams and was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame. Mahovlich served as a Liberal in the Senate from 1998 to 2013.
  • Gene Makowsky – Makowsky played 17 seasons in the CFL for the Saskatchewan Roughriders. In 2011, he retired to run for the Saskatchewan Party during the provincial election. Makowsky won and represents the Regina Dewdney riding.
  • Howie Meeker – Meeker spent 10 seasons in the NHL and won the Stanley Cup as a member of the Toronto Maple Leafs. Meeker spent two years as a Progressive Conservative MP while playing for the Leafs after winning a by-election in Waterloo South in 1951.
  • Larry Smith – Smith played in the CFL, and later served as league commissioner. Smith was appointed to the Senate in 2010, and ran as a Conservative candidate in the 2011 federal election.
  • Michelle Stilwell – Stilwell has won gold medals for Canada at the 2000, 2008 and 2013 Paralympic Games. Stilwell was elected to the British Columbia legislature in 2013 as a member of the Liberal Party.

Did we forget to include anyone on our list? Let us know!

We’ve written a few other blogs about the connection between sports and politics:

Posted in Special Events |

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