Ever wonder when major events started in Canada and the U.S.? Following is a list, organized chronologically, giving the origin of several special events that continue to this day.
1762 The first – and still the largest in the world — recorded St. Patrick’s Day Parade was held not in Ireland but in New York City. With the dramatic increase of Irish immigrants to the U.S. in the mid-19th century, the March 17th celebration became widespread.
1875 The Kentucky Derby has been run every consecutive year since 1875 in Louisville on the first Saturday in May, capping the two-week-long Kentucky Derby Festival. The race is variously known as “The Most Exciting Two Minutes In Sports” or “The Fastest Two Minutes in Sports” and “The Run for the Roses” for the blanket of roses draped over the winner.
1877 The first official lawn tennis tournament, Gentlemen’s singles, was held in Wimbledon, London. Gentlemen’s doubles and Lady’s singles were added in 1884 but played only after the Gentlemen singles completed their competition. Mixed doubles and Lady’s doubles were inaugurated in 1913. Later recognized as the first Grand Slam tournament or Major, Wimbledon is the only Major tennis event still played on grass.
1893 The first team ever awarded the Stanley Cup was the Montreal Amateur Athletic Association in 1893. Since 1910, when the National Hockey Association took possession of the Stanley Cup, the trophy has been symbolic of professional hockey supremacy. Beginning in 1926, only NHL teams have competed for this prized trophy.
1897 The Boston Marathon is an annual marathon held on Patriots’ Day, the third Monday of April. The world’s oldest annual marathon, it was inspired by the success of the first marathon competition in the 1896 Summer Olympics. (This first celebration of the modern Olympic Games took place in its ancient birthplace of Athens.)
1903 The first modern World Series to be played in Major League Baseball matched the Boston Americans (American League) against the Pittsburgh Pirates (National League) in a best-of-nine series at Exposition Park in Los Angeles. Boston prevailed five games to three, winning the last four.
1909 The Grey Cup, Canada’s football championship, was first won by the University of Toronto Varsity Blues. Play was suspended from 1916 to 1918 due to WWI and in 1919 due to a rules dispute. The Grey Cup has been an east-west battle since 1921 when the Edmonton Eskimos journeyed eastward to play the Toronto Argonauts.
1912 The Calgary Stampede is one of Canada’s largest festivals and tourist draws and the second largest outdoor rodeo (Cheyenne WY is the first since 1897) in the world.
1937 Columbus Day is a U.S. holiday that commemorates the landing of Christopher Columbus in the Americas on October 12, 1492. Celebrated unofficially in a number of cities and states as early as the 18th century, it became a federal holiday in 1937. The Columbus Day Parade in New York City is the world’s largest celebration of Italian-American culture.
1967 The Green Bay Packers (National Football League) beat the Kansas City Chiefs (American Football League) 35-10 in the first-ever NFL-AFL World Championship, later known as Super Bowl I, at Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles.
1967 Caribana in Toronto was first performed as a tribute to Canada’s Centennial from the country’s Caribbean community and has run annually ever since. This Caribbean Carnival event has been billed as North America’s largest street festival, frequented by over 1.3 million visitors each year for the Festival’s final parade and an overall attendance of 2 million.
1969 The modern gay liberation movement in North America began with New York City’s unprecedented Stonewall Riots. The NYPD attempted a raid on a popular gay bar in the heart of Greenwich Village on June 28, but the bar’s patrons fought back forcefully, resulting in a humiliating defeat for the police and garnering nation-wide media attention. On the first anniversary of the Stonewall riots, marches took place in New York, Boston, Minneapolis, Chicago, San Francisco and Los Angeles, eventually leading to official, annual Pride Parades in cities across N.A.
1984 USAPA was organized to perpetuate the growth and advancement of pickleball on a national level. In 2009 the first USAPA National Tournament for players of all ages was held in Buckeye AZ, drawing almost 400 players from 26 states and several Canadian provinces.