Ontario University Athletics
ConferenceU Sports
No. of teams20
HeadquartersBurlington, Ontario
Official websiteOfficial website

Ontario University Athletics (OUA; French: Sports universitaires de l'Ontario) is a regional membership association for Canadian universities which assists in co-ordinating competition between their university level athletic programs and providing contact information, schedules, results, and releases about those programs and events to the public and the media. This is similar to what would be called a college athletic conference in the United States. OUA, which covers Ontario, is one of four such bodies that are members of the country's governing body for university athletics, U Sports. The other three regional associations coordinating university-level sports in Canada are Atlantic University Sport (AUS), the Canada West Universities Athletic Association (CW), and Réseau du sport étudiant du Québec (RSEQ).

OUA came into being in 1997 with the merger of the Ontario Universities Athletics Association and the Ontario Women's Intercollegiate Athletics Association.


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The first formal organization of intercollegiate athletics in Canada took place in 1906 with the formation of the Canadian Interuniversity Athletic Union (CIAU). This organization had four active members: Ottawa College, Trinity College, McMaster College and the Royal Military College. As the years passed, the CIAU expanded until in 1954 the union had nineteen members.

In 1954, the administration of the CIAU was becoming somewhat unwieldy. There was a great variation in the standards of play between institutions, a different philosophy towards athletics between many members and difficulties in agreeing upon common standards of eligibility. It was also felt that the name Canadian Intercollegiate Athletic Union was not truly appropriate since intercollegiate athletic associations were also in existence in other parts of the country. In 1955, it was agreed by the member institutions that the CIAU (Central Division as it was then called) would reorganize in two sections to be known as the Ontario-Quebec Athletic Association (with nine members) and the Ottawa-St. Lawrence Intercollegiate Association (with ten members).

The original members of the O-QAA had been joined by the Assumption College (University of Windsor) and were joined in 1961 by Waterloo and 1968 by Carleton University and the University of Ottawa. In 1968, the O-QAA was divided into Eastern and Western Divisions in order to facilitate the scheduling of events. The 1960s also saw the creation of Canada's first national governing body for university athletics, the Canadian Intercollegiate Athletic Union (also CIAU), in 1961.

In 1971, the Quebec-based universities in the O-QAA withdrew from the Association. Laval, McGill and Montreal elected to pursue their future athletic endeavours in the newly formed Quebec Universities Athletic Association.

In the resulting reorganization meetings, the remaining members of the O-QAA (Carleton University, University of Guelph, McMaster University, University of Ottawa, Queen's University, University of Toronto, University of Waterloo, University of Western Ontario and University of Windsor) voted to change their name to the OUAA (Ontario Universities Athletic Association). Invitations were extended to all Ontario universities to participate in the reorganization meeting.

As part of the reorganization, it was decided that all the trophies, records, etc. of the O-QAA would remain with and be recognized by the OUAA.

The Ontario Women's Interuniversity Athletic Association was founded in 1971, which provided athletic competition for women students in the universities of Ontario. The OWIAA was unique in North America in both its longevity and singleness of purpose. Formed by the amalgamation of the Women's Intercollegiate Athletic Union (WIAU), which was founded in 1923 and the Ontario-Quebec Women's Conference of Intercollegiate Athletics (O-QWCIA), the OWIAA continued the heritage of 50 years of women's interuniversity competition. This coalition was the only association for women's athletics to have survived through 60 years of commitment to women athletes in Ontario universities.

In the spring of 1972, the following institutions were admitted as full members of the OUAA: Brock University, Laurentian University, Ryerson Polytechnical Institute, Trent University, Waterloo Lutheran University and York University.

The Royal Military College of Kingston was admitted to the OUAA in 1973. Also in 1973, Waterloo Lutheran University changed its name to Wilfrid Laurier University. The continuing evolution of the OUAA saw three Quebec-based universities (Bishop's, Loyola (now Concordia) and McGill) receive "playing privileges" in the OUAA football league in 1974.

In October 1975, the Canadian Interuniversity Athletics Union (CIAU) suspended the Windsor Lancers from all sports for two years, for the use of an ineligible men's football player. Some older universities in the OUAA suggested withdrawing from the CIAU, which had different player eligibility rules. Bob Barney of the University of Western Ontario, felt that the CIAU made a "play for real power over athletics in this country".[1] In May 1976, the Windsor Star reported that Barney proposed realignment of schools at the 1976 OUAA general meeting, which "would bring together universities with similar philosophies towards athletics".[2]

In 1980, football was reorganized so that the teams of the Ontario-Quebec Intercollegiate Football Conference- West Division would form the new OUAA Football League. The OQIFC East teams: Ottawa, Carleton and Queen's would join the three Quebec schools in the new OQIFC. In 1987, the OUAA awarded playing privileges in hockey to three Quebec schools, McGill, Concordia and Trois Rivieres.

In 1988, Lakehead University was admitted to full membership while McGill, Concordia and Bishop's were granted playing privileges in basketball due to the folding of the Quebec Universities Athletic Association.

Nipissing University was admitted in 1993 with full membership.

July 1, 1997 marked a new era of university sport in Ontario. Both the OUAA and the OWIAA amalgamated to form one association, Ontario University Athletics. In November, 1997 the OUA hired the organization's first Executive Director. The “new” OUA office opened on September 1, 1998 in Hamilton.

In 2001, the Queen's Golden Gaels and the Ottawa Gee Gees football teams rejoined the OUA from the OQIFC, expanding the OUA Football Conference to ten teams. In that same year, the CIAU changed its name to Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS).

The 2004-05 season saw Royal Military College enter completely into the OUA. In the past, the Kingston school had competed in both the OUA and OCAA, but withdrew from OCAA competition entirely.

In January 2006, the OUA welcomed its 19th member to the fold as UOIT was granted membership in a unanimous vote by the league's Board of Directors. The Oshawa-based school began competition in the 2006-07 season, participating in rowing and tennis, while joining men's and women's hockey in 2007-08.

In March 2012, Algoma announced that they would be joining the OUA in 2013.[3]

In October 2016, CIS changed its name to U Sports.

Member schools

Stadia and locations

Ontario University Athletics is located in Ontario
Locations of the northern Ontario University Athletics member institutions
Ontario University Athletics is located in Southern Ontario
Toronto schools: TMU Toronto York
Toronto schools:
Waterloo schools: Waterloo Laurier
Waterloo schools:
Locations of the southern Ontario University Athletics member institutions
Institution Nickname Location
Founded Type Enrollment Endowment Joined Division
Algoma University Thunderbirds Sault Ste. Marie 1967 Public 1,300 --- 2013-14 East
Brock University Badgers St. Catharines 1964 Public 17,000 [1] $93.7M 1972-73 West
Carleton University Ravens Ottawa 1942 Public 20,901 $230M 1968-69 East
University of Guelph Gryphons Guelph 1964 Public 19,408 $164.2M 1955-56 West
Lakehead University Thunderwolves Thunder Bay 1946 Public 8,050 $32.1M 1988-89 West
Laurentian University Voyageurs Sudbury 1960 Public 7,758 $143M 1972-73 East
McMaster University Marauders Hamilton 1887 Public 25,688 $498.5M 1955-56 West
Nipissing University Lakers North Bay 1909 Public 6,300 --- 1993-94 East
University of Ontario Institute of Technology Ridgebacks Oshawa 2003 Public 5,000 --- 2006-07 East
University of Ottawa Gee-Gees Ottawa 1848 Public 42,027 $183.9M 1968-69 East
Queen's University Gaels Kingston 1841 Public 20,566 $1.085B[4] 1955-56 East
Royal Military College of Canada Paladins Kingston 1876 Public 1,268 --- 1973-74 East
Toronto Metropolitan University TMU Bold Toronto 1948 Public 32,670 $125.8M 1972-73 East
University of Toronto Varsity Blues Toronto 1827 Public 73,185 $2.38B 1955-56 East
Trent University Excalibur Peterborough 1964 Public 7,160 $21.2M 1972-73 East
University of Waterloo Warriors Waterloo 1957 Public 27,978 $172M 1961-62 West
University of Western Ontario Mustangs London 1878 Public 30,000 $266.6M 1955-56 West
Wilfrid Laurier University Golden Hawks Waterloo 1911 Public 12,394 --- 1972-73 West
University of Windsor Lancers Windsor 1857 Public 13,496 $32.5M 1961-62 West
York University Lions Toronto 1959 Public 42,400 $306M 1972-73 East


2012 men's hockey playoffs, Windsor Lancers vs. York Lions at Windsor Arena (February 16, 2012).
The Ottawa Gee Gees taking on the Windsor Lancers at the 2013 Wilson Cup semi final.

Member Universities of the OUA compete in a variety of sports at both the varsity and club levels.

Conference sports
Sport Men's Women's
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Cross Country
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Field Hockey
Green tickY
Figure Skating
Green tickY
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Green tickY
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Ice Hockey
Green tickY
Green tickY
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Nordic Skiing
Green tickY
Green tickY
Green tickY
Green tickY
Green tickY
Green tickY
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Green tickY
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Green tickY
Green tickY
Green tickY
Green tickY
Green tickY
Track and field (indoor)
Green tickY
Green tickY
Green tickY
Green tickY
Water Polo
Green tickY
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Green tickY
Richardson Stadium, home of Queen's Gaels Football and Men's and Women's Soccer

The OUA awards the Queen's Cup to its men's ice hockey champion, the Yates Cup to its men's football champion and the Wilson Cup to its men's basketball champion. Winners of OUA championships generally go on to compete in the national U Sports competition, against the champions of the other three conferences.


Canadian athletic facilities are often listed by their "maximum capacity", which is often an estimate of their largest recorded crowd in the facility. These maximum capacities can and often do include standing room patrons and attendees seated on grass surrounding a playing field. Seated Capacity is the actual number of permanent seats, be they grandstands or permanently in use bleachers. This is why you will sometimes see larger capacities listed for these sites when searching for them on line. When capacity numbers have mismatched on source sites, unless the larger capacity could be confirmed as a seated capacity, the smaller capacity number has been listed here.

Institution Football
Carleton MNP Park 3,500 Raven's Nest 1,500 Ice House 500 MNP Park 3,500
Ottawa Gee-Gees Field 4,152 Montpetit Hall 1,000 Minto Sports Complex 850 Matt Anthony Field-W 1,500
Toronto Varsity Centre 5,000 Goldring Centre 2,000 Varsity Arena 4,116 Varsity Centre 5,000
Toronto Metropolitan Non-football school Mattamy Athletic Centre 1,000 Mattamy Home Ice 2,796 Downsview Park Sports Centre
Queen's Richardson Memorial Stadium 8,000+ Athletics & Recreation Centre 3,000 Kingston Memorial Centre 3,300 Richardson Memorial Stadium 8,000+
York York Stadium 2,000 Tait McKenzie Centre 1,200 Canlan Ice Sports 1,700 York Stadium 2,000
Laurentian Non-football school Ben F. Avery Gymnasium 1,200 Countryside Sports Complex 5,100 Laurentian University Soccer Field 500
RMC Kingston Military Community Sports Centre (Volleyball Only) 4000 Constantaine Arena 1,500 Navy Bay Soccer and Rugby Fields 2,500
Trent Non-basketball school Non-hockey school Justin Chiu Stadium 1,000
Nipissing Robert J. Surtees Athletic Centre[5] -- Memorial Gardens 4,025 Steve Omischl Sports Field 400
UOIT Campus Recreation & Wellness Centre 2,000[6] UOIT Campus Ice Centre 550 Vaso's Field 1,000[7]
Western Western Alumni Stadium 8,000 Alumni Hall 2,400 Thompson Arena 3,615 Western Alumni Stadium 10,000
Windsor University of Windsor Stadium 2,000 St. Denis Centre 2,000 Windsor Arena-M
South Windsor Arena-W
University of Windsor Stadium 2,000
McMaster Ronald V. Joyce Stadium 6,000 Burridge Gymnasium 2,250 Non-hockey school Ronald V. Joyce Stadium 6,000
Guelph Alumni Stadium 5,100 W.F. Mitchell Athletics Centre 2,200 Gryphon Centre Arena 1,400 Gryphon Soccer Complex 1,000
Waterloo Warrior Field 5,400 Physical Activities Complex 4,500 Columbia Ice Field 1,000 Warrior Field 5,400
Laurier University Stadium 6,000 Athletic Complex 2.500 Waterloo Recreation Complex 3,400 University Stadium 6,000
Brock Non-football school Bob Davis Gymnasium 2,400 Seymour-Hannah Sports & Entertainment Centre 1,400 Brock Badgers Field --
Lakehead C.J. Sanders Fieldhouse 2,000 Fort William Gardens 4,680 Non-soccer school

(Data mined from the U Sports homepage's member directory[8] and WorldStadiums.com.[9] The members directory numbers seem to be ballpark figures in some cases.)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "OUAA members may quit the CIAU". The Kingston Whig-Standard. Kingston, Ontario. The Canadian Press. October 30, 1975. p. 16.
  2. ^ Fathers, Ken (May 22, 1976). "A little far-fetched". Windsor Star. Windsor, Ontario. p. 22.
  3. ^ "Thunderbirds to Join OUA for 2013". Algoma University. Retrieved 6 March 2012.
  4. ^ "2016-2017 Financial Statement" (PDF). April 30, 2017. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2017-10-17.
  5. ^ "Schedule / Results". athletics.nipissingu.ca. Archived from the original on 2014-01-25.
  6. ^ "oua.ca: UOIT". www.oua.ca. Archived from the original on 2009-09-24.
  7. ^ "oua.ca: UOIT". www.oua.ca. Archived from the original on 2009-09-24.
  8. ^ CIS directory Archived 2009-07-27 at the Wayback Machine
  9. ^ World Stadiums.com

External links[edit]