The Grey Cup is both the name of the championship of the Canadian Football League (CFL) and the name of the trophy awarded to the victorious team. It is Canada's largest annual sports and television event, regularly drawing a Canadian viewing audience of about 4 million. The 2006 Grey Cup game was held in Winnipeg on November 19, 2006, where the BC Lions defeated the Montreal Alouettes 25-14. The 2007 Grey Cup game will be held in Toronto on November 25, 2007.
In 1909, the Grey Cup was donated by the then Governor General of Canada, Earl Grey, to recognize the top amateur rugby football team in Canada. By this time Canadian football had become markedly different from the rugby football from which it developed. Over time, the Grey Cup became the property of the Canadian Football League as it evolved into a professional football league. Amateur teams quitted competing for the Cup by 1954; since 1965, the top amateur teams, playing in Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS), have competed for the Vanier Cup. The Grey Cup has long served as an unofficial Canadian fall festival generating a large amount of national media coverage, celebration and fan interest from shore to shore. Many fans travel from across the country to contribute in the week of festivities that lead up to the game. Historians date the carnival-like activities associated with the game back to 1948, when fans of the Calgary Stampeders dressed in western gear, square danced, flipped flapjacks, partied in the streets of Toronto and rode a horse through the lobby of the posh Royal York Hotel.
The Grey Cup has been broken several times. The trophy was broken in 1978, and in 1987 when a celebrating Edmonton Eskimos player sat on it. It was again broken in 1993 when it was head-butted by Edmonton's Blake Dermott. During the victory celebration immediately following the 94th Grey Cup game in 2006, the winning BC Lions accidentally broke the cup from its base, which contains the engraved names of the players on each year's winning team. It was repaired the following Monday. Other notable events include a 1947 fire which almost destroyed the trophy and a 1969 theft in which the trophy was held for ransom. In November 2006, the CFL confirmed that they were entertaining offers from corporate partners for the naming rights of the Grey Cup. Despite the fact that the naming rights would apply to the Grey Cup championship game and not the trophy itself, many objected to the idea, claiming that the league should not compromise a national historic treasure for short-term profit.
First broadcast on the CBC in 1952, for many years the Grey Cup has been the largest television event in Canada, regularly drawing a combined Canadian viewing audience in excess of 4 million on the CBC and RDS. Initiated in 2008, cable network TSN will be the exclusive provider of the Grey Cup for English viewers while RDS will remain the provider for the French broadcast. From 1962 through 1986, CBC and CTV relay the Grey Cup. In 1962, 1965, 1967, 1968 and 1970, CTV commentators were used for the dual network telecast, while in 1963, 1964, 1966 and 1969, CBC announcers were provided. From 1971 through 1986, one network's crew called the first half while the other called the rest of the game. After the 1986 season, CTV dropped coverage of the CFL and the Grey Cup. From 1987 through 1990, the CFL operated its own syndicated network, CFN. CFN had completely separate coverage of the Grey Cup, utilizing its own production and commentators.
Toronto, ON - CFL football fans and aficionados of custom motorcycles from across Canada will have the opportunity to witness the creation of one of the most unique sports-themed custom motorcycles this fall. This latest version Canadian Chopper Challenge: Grey Cup Edition will see the original challenge winner, Bob McKay, return to build a one-of-a-kind rolling work of art dedicated to the history of the Grey Cup. McKay will have only 12 weeks and a limited budget to create his Grey Cup themed machine and deliver it to Grey Cup organizers by September 1. He will begin the challenge on June 1, under the watchful eyes of Whistle-Stop Productions, the organizers of the Canadian Chopper Challenge, who will document the entire building process in High Definition. The bike will then be on display as part of this November's Grey Cup festivities in Toronto.
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