When Lord Stanley of Preston was appointed governor general in 1888, hockey was in its earliest years. It is generally accepted that the first game of organized, indoor hockey (identified teams, rules, recorded score) was played in a game at the Victoria Skating Rink in Montreal on March 3, 1875 arranged by James Aylwin Creighton, who had learned the game in his native Nova Scotia. Gradually, the version played in Montreal expanded east to Quebec City and west to Ottawa, and the many visitors to the Montreal Winter Carnival tournaments of 1883, 1884 and 1885 helped spread the sport across the county and into the United States.

In his first Canadian winter (1889), Lord Stanley attended a match at the Victoria Rink in Montreal and his family became enamored of the game. His daughter Isobel and six of Stanley’s sons (Algernon, Arthur, Edward, Ferdinand, George, and Victor) are known to have taken up the sport during their time in Ottawa. In November 1890, Arthur Stanley was a member of a delegation attending a meeting in Toronto to organize the Hockey Ontario Hockey Association (OHA), which joined the Montreal-based Amateur Hockey Association of Canada (AHAC) as one of the two elite hockey leagues.

In March 1892, after the Ottawa Hockey Club had won its second consecutive Ontario championship, the Ottawa Amateur Athletic Association organized a dinner to honour the team. At that dinner, Lord Kilcoursie, an aide to Lord Stanley, read out a letter from the governor general offering to donate “a challenge cup which should be held from year to year by the champion hockey team of the Dominion.”

Stanley asked his military secretary Captain Charles Colville, who was in England at the time, to secure a suitable cup. What Colville requisitioned was “A late Victorian electroplate silver punch bowl, with a plain moulded rim above a repousse swirl-fluted and shaped
band, above a plain inscription band crested and inscribed ‘From Stanley of Preston’ and ‘Dominion Hockey Challenge Cup.’”

Stanley appointed two prominent Ottawa citizens, Ottawa Journal publisher Philip Dansken Ross and Ottawa Sheriff Dr. John Sweetland, to serve as cup trustees. After meeting Kilcoursie for lunch at the Rideau Club in April 1893, Ross drew up the terms of reference for the awarding of the trophy:

His Excellency’s Conditions for the Awarding of the Stanley Cup Championship Trophy

1. The winner to give bond for the return of the cup in good order when required by the trustees for the purpose of being handed over to any other team who may in turn win.

2. Each winning team to have at their own charge engraved on a silver ring fitted on the cup for the purpose the name of the team and the year won [In the first instance the MAAA will find the cup already engraved for them.]

3. The cup shall remain a challenge cup, and will not become the property of any team, even if won more than once.

4. In case of any doubt as to the title of any club to claim the position of champions, the cup shall be held or awarded by the trustees as they may think right, their decision being absolute.

5. Should either trustee resign or otherwise drop out, the remaining trustee shall nominate a substitute.

Thus, on May 15, 1893, Trustee Sweetland presented the trophy to its first recipient, the Montreal Amateur Athletic Association.

A capital place

Since those modest days, Ottawa has evolved into a diverse and livable city of some 1.2 million residents. The city shares the National Capital Region with its sister city: Gatineau, Quebec.

Ottawa’s national institutions and locales such as the historic Rideau Canal, National Art Gallery, By Ward Market and of course the Parliament Buildings make it a popular destination for visitors from throughout Canada and around the world.

Explore the rich history of Canada’s capital city through the eyes of some of our country’s most respected chroniclers and critics.


Here are additional resources to learn more about Ottawa.

Bond, Courtney C. J. (1984), Where Rivers Meet: An Illustrated History of Ottawa, Windsor Publications, ISBN 0-89781-111-9

Brault, Lucien (1946), Ottawa Old and New, Ottawa historical information Institute, OCLC 2947504

Martin, Carol (1997), Ottawa: a colourguide, Formac Publishing Company, ISBN 978-0-88780-396-3

Conroy, Peter (2002), Our Canal: the Rideau Canal in Ottawa, General Store Pub. House, ISBN 1-894263-63-4

Finnigan, Joan (1981). Giants of Canada’s Ottawa Valley. GeneralStore PublishingHouse. ISBN 978-0-919431-00-3.

Greening, W. e. (1961), The Ottawa, Toronto: McClelland and Stewart Limited, OCLC 25441343

Haig, Robert (1975), Ottawa: City of the Big Ears, Ottawa: Haig and Haig Publishing Co.

Hessel, Peter D. K. (1987), The Algonkin Tribe, Arnprior, Ontario: Kichesippi Books, ISBN 0-921082-01-0

Hill, Hamnett P. (1919), Robert Randall and the Le Breton Flats, Ottawa: James Hope and Sons, OCLC 7654867

Keshen, Jeff; St-Onge, Nicole (2001), Ottawa: Making a Capital, Ottawa: University of Ottawa Press, ISBN 0-7766-0521-6

Lee, David (2006), Lumber kings & shantymen : logging and lumbering in the Ottawa Valley, James Lorimer & Company, ISBN 978-1-55028-922-0

Legget, Robert (1986), Rideau Waterway, Toronto: University of Toronto Press, ISBN 0-8020-6591-0

MacKay, Robert W. S. (1851), The Canada Directory, Montreal: John Lovell

Mika, Nick & Helma (1982), Bytown: The Early Days of Ottawa, Belleville, Ont: Mika Publishing Company, ISBN 0-919303-60-9

Mullington, Dave (2005), Chain of office: biographical sketches of the early mayors of Ottawa (1847–1948), General Store Publishing House, ISBN 978-1-897113-17-2, retrieved 27 May 2011

Pentland, H. Clare (1981), Labour and capital in Canada, 1650–1860, James Lorimer & Company, ISBN 978-0-88862-378-2, retrieved 27 May 2011

Scott, R. w. (1911), Recollections of Bytown, Ottawa: Mortimer Press

Taylor, John H. (1986), Ottawa: An Illustrated History, J. Lorimer, ISBN 978-0-88862-981-4

Van de Wetering, Marion (1997), An Ottawa album: glimpses of the way we were, Dundurn Press Ltd., ISBN 978-0-88882-195-9

Woods, Shirley E. Jr. (1980), Ottawa: The Capital of Canada, Toronto: Doubleday Canada, ISBN 0-385-14722-8

Wikipedia, History of Ottawa