History

Explore Squash Canada's new interactive timeline

The game of Squash was invented around 1830 at Harrow School in England as an offshoot of the game of Rackets. Students discovered that the game, played on a smaller court with a slower and less lethal rubber ball, which "squashed" on impact against a wall, produced a wide variety of shots, required quick footwork, and was very enjoyable to play. The first four squash courts were not constructed at the school until about 1864, when squash was unofficially founded as a sport.
 
The game was introduced to North America in the 1880s. One of Vancouver's pioneer players, Bimbo Sweeney, learned to play the game in 1899 on a court built to English standards by the Honourable Cecil Edwards at his Vancouver residence. A court was built at the St. John's Tennis Club in Newfoundland in 1904, thanks to Sir Leonard Outerbridge, who had the proper dimensions sent from Marlborough College in England where he was studying. Other courts followed in Toronto (1905), Winnipeg (1909), Montreal (1911), Hamilton (1912), Ottawa (1915), and later in other locations across Canada.

The first Canadian Men's Singles Championship was held at the Montreal Racket Club on March 20, 1912, but the Canadian Squash Racquets Association was not formed until 1915. The five founding members were the Montreal Racket Club, Toronto Racquet Club, Hamilton Squash Racquets Club, University Club of Toronto, and the Ottawa Squash Racquets Club, each of which paid an annual fee of $20. The Montreal Racket Club deeded the "Singles Squash Rackets Championship of Canada Challenge Cup" to the Canadian Squash Racquets Association in 1915.
 
Kenneth Molson of Montreal was the first Canadian champion in 1912, and Charles Peabody of Boston, the first foreign player to win the title, in 1921. An international team competition for Men's Singles (the Lapham Cup) was initiated between Canada and the U.S.A.  the next year in 1922, and other similar international team matches have followed since.

The English softball singles game prevailed in Canada until after the First World War, but Canada then switched to the hardball game being played in the U.S.A., and continued to hold national and provincial hardball championships until the early 1990s. However, in the early 1970s, Canada also adopted the English (by then international) softball game again, with the first national softball champion being crowned in 1974. At that time there was a surge in the construction of singles softball courts right across Canada. Canadians currently participate with the international ball in major competitions all around the world. One World champion and several world class players are proof of this success. 

Although hardball singles has, in general, been phased out, the doubles hardball game continues to prosper in North America and is slowly expanding around the world, with courts known to exist in Barbados, Malaysia, Mexico, Scotland, Singapore and Thailand.


LAPHAM, GRANT, CRAWFORD AND LAWRENCE-WILKINS MATCHES

The Lapham Cup matches between Canada and the U.S.A., dating back to 1922, are believed to be one of the oldest amateur sporting events between two countries, having been played for 90 consecutive years. The Grant Trophy matches were inaugurated in 1945, the Crawford Trophy matches in 1999, and the Lawrence-Wilkins Trophy matches in 2001. These four events, held at the same time and venue, are hosted in alternate years by Canada and the United States. Starting in 2000, all singles matches have been played with the international ball.
 
It is a tradition that the captains cooperate to make sure that their teams are balanced, and that matches are played in an atmosphere of camaraderie, goodwill, and sportsmanship. Matches are not refereed, therefore the highest standards of fair play are essential among participants. The matches also provide an opportunity for representatives from both sides of the border to discuss squash development initiatives. This grand social event has many unique traditions, including the Friday evening Captains' reception, roses for every lady attending the Saturday night banquet, a LG tie (or scarf) for every player participating in the event for the first time, and the Eric R. Finkelman Award for "questionable behaviour".
 
The coveted Lapham Cup is valued at over $50,000 and is similar in size to hockey's Stanley Cup. It was donated in 1922 by Henry B. Lapham of Brookline, Massachusetts, for an international Men's singles team competition between the U.S.A. and Canada. The Grant Trophy was donated in late 1944 by Alastair Grant of Montreal for a similar Men's doubles competition. The Crawford Trophy was donated in 1999 by William Crawford of Vancouver in honour of his wife Richenda, for Ladies singles and doubles team competition. In 2001, Edgar A. Bracht of Toronto presented the Lawrence-Wilkins Trophy for the Men's "Legends" (aged over 65) doubles team competition. It is named in honour of the truly legendary figures of Barney Lawrence of Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario and C. Howard Wilkins Sr of Wichita, Kansas, both of whom did so much for the game, as players and builders.

For more information on the Lapham, Grant, Crawford and Lawrence-Wilkins matches, Click Here

HISTORICAL CANADIAN RECORDS:

This section provides you with all the Association’s championship and other records.

National Championships

 

World Squash Federation (WSF) History

Essay on the history of the game at: www.worldsquash.org/ws/a-sport-with-history.

History of Squash Timeline at: www.worldsquash.org/ws/WSF-timeline

 

International Championships

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