Many of the Canadian players who have never been to Ireland and to Croke Park on game-day, very much understood the significance of the venue when they finally got there. What an honour and what an opportunity it was for all from Canada to be at the Etihad Airways GAA World Games.
The name of the Gaelic Athletic Association, as it applies to Canada (the world’s second largest country), is the Canadian Gaelic Athletic Association (CGAA). The basic aim of the CGAA is to preserve and promote Gaelic Games and pastimes in Canada.
In eight provinces (five time zones and 9,306 km of extreme width distance) of the Maple Leaf County are 14 communities of affiliated GAA clubs with over 1000 playing participants. A CGAA committee that consists of five elected members from the West to the East of Canada helps to bring a broader perspective to deliberations in the administering of the Games. Our annual convention relies on technology to allow for voting delegates to participate.
The Western Divisional Board (2004) consisting of British Columbia’s Vancouver Irish Sporting and Social Club and Fraser Valley Gaels; Alberta’s Calgary Chieftains, Red Deer Eire Ogs (Mens), Edmonton Wolfe Tones; and Saskatchewan’s Regina Gaels (Mens). From this Division two Ex-Pat teams of men’s and ladies football represented Canada with players from the provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan.
The Toronto Divisional Board (1947) consisting of Ontario’s Toronto Na Piarsaigh CLG, Clann na nGael Hurling, St. Mikes, St. Pats, St. Vincents (Mens), Gaels (Mens), Camogie Club, Roger Casements (Ladies); Durham Robert Emmets. From this Division one Ex-Pat Camogie team represented Canada.
The Eastern Divisional Board (2014) consisting of Ontario’s Ottawa Gaels; Quebec’s Montreal Shamrocks and University of Concordia Warriors; Quebec City Les Patriotes and Hurling Quebec; Nova Scotia’s Halifax Gaels, Prince Edward Island Celts and Newfoundland and Labrador’s St. John's Avalon Harps. From this Division two All Canadian teams represented Canada with players from Ontario and Quebec.
Tying in with the next generations’ involvement, the Canadian ladies football team featured a player, 24-year-old Lisa Wright that came up through the youth ranks. The GAA schools program started in 2000 in Ottawa Catholic schools meant that Gaelic football was offered as part of her student curriculum.
Youth Organizations within the CGAA include Vancouver ISSC, Calgary Na Fianna, Calgary Og, Edmonton Wolfe Tones, Toronto Chieftains, Ottawa Gaels, Eire Og Ottawa Hurling, Montreal Shamrocks and PEI Celts.
Ensuring connections and overcoming divides do not happen on their own. The planning, logistics and dedication that overcomes challenges is what has helped grow the GAA in Canada. A determination by Irish immigrants who have arrived in numerous provinces, their dedication to the ideals of our Association have ensured that barriers are lessened and Canadians, who may not have been aware of our games previously, can participate with enjoyment.
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