When you think about sports in Toronto, often times the Raptors or Maple Leafs (depending on your preference) come to mind. In fact, we at Ultimate Canadian Athletics LOVE Toronto sports. But Basketball and Hockey are not the only incredible sports we have here in Ontario. In fact, one of the most competitive, challenging and fun sports in Toronto, is actually all-star cheerleading.

All Star is growing! Here are a few “Did you know?” things about our favorite sport (Don’t worry Raptors…we’re still your #1 fans.)

1. The first cheerleaders were all men.  

The first ever cheerleaders were in fact men! It all began when Princeton graduate, Thomas Peebles, moved to Minnisota after being the “yell leader” as part of the Princeton pep squad and spurred the idea of organized cheers to support the University of Minnesota football team, who were undergoing a losing streak. Cheerleading has evolved vastly since this point, but we’re still proud of our roots. Today’s routines include power and compulsory tumbling, dance, pyramid, stunting and jumps.

2. Cheerleading is over 100 years old.

Cheerleading’s official birthdate is November 2nd, 1898. During a football game between the University of Minnesota and Princeton, Johnny Campbell lead six male cheerleaders and entertained to crowd for the first time. In 2019, three years after being granted provisional status by the International Olympic Committee, Cheerleading will be submitted as an official event of the 2024 Olympics, which tells us it’s not going away any time soon!

3. Women joined cheerleading during World War II.

In 1923, the shift to mostly female cheer squads began during World War II. Men were being drafted to serve overseas and women had to step up to the plate. As the second war ended, sports and jobs went back to men – but cheerleading was not one of them. Cheer teams were mostly popular among women as the years passed, and cheer camps and cheerleading associations developed. Today, both males and females make up most teams – creating all-girl and co-ed divisions.

Cheerleading is not just fascinating in its rich history, but is still evolving to this day. In Canada – and Toronto specifically – cheerleading is a quickly growing sport. Here at Ultimate Canadian Athletics – the #1 Cheerleading Program in Toronto – we’re excited about the growth and will continue to represent our sport with excitement and pride. Whether you’re interested in all star cheerleading, tumbling or a recreational program, we offer a program for all ages and skill levels. Reach out us at 905-839-8822 or visit our website for everything Ultimate Canadian Athletics has to offer!