Countdown to the championship
November 21, 2023
Final preparations are underway at Queen’s for hosting its first Vanier Cup game this upcoming weekend. The 2023 edition of the national football championship game takes place Saturday, Nov. 25 at Richardson Memorial Stadium, and anticipation is building on campus, in Kingston, and throughout the Canadian university athletics community.
The game will be a contest between the UBC Thunderbirds, winners of the 2023 Mitchell Bowl, and Montréal Carabins, winners of the 2023 Uteck Bowl. The Queen’s Gaels football team reached the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) semifinals this year, where they lost to the Western Mustangs.
“The Queen’s community is growing only more excited for this momentous day the closer it gets,” says Principal and Vice-Chancellor Patrick Deane. “Our community takes great pride in its own football tradition, which dates back to the founding of Queen’s Football in 1882. And we are pleased to welcome student-athletes, coaches, and fans from across the country to share our enthusiasm for Canadian university athletics at one of its marquee events.”
The rejuvenated Richardson Memorial Stadium will treat fans to a first-rate Canadian university stadium experience as they watch the big game. Started in 2014, the revitalization of the stadium was completed this September with the official opening of the Lang Pavilion. The pavilion fully encloses the structure, enabling spectators to walk around the entire stadium at the concourse level. It also includes facilities that enhance the training environment for varsity sports, creating a centre for athletic excellence that positions Queen’s programs at the pinnacle of student-athlete development. More than 300 alumni donors contributed gifts to make the project possible, with the lead gift coming from Stu (Sc’74) and Kim Lang (Artsci’76).
“The Vanier Cup is a premier football event in Canada that fans look forward to each year,” says Linda Melnick, Executive Director, Athletics & Recreation. “We are eager to welcome fans from across Canada to Richardson Stadium, and provide an opportunity for those who cannot make their way to Queen's campus to tune into the game across the country on CBC and TVA. Hosting the U SPORTS Women's Soccer National Championship earlier this month was a success and we are eager to build on it with the first of two Vanier Cups games to be held at Queen's.”
Queen’s is also scheduled to host the 2024 Vanier Cup championship as well as the 2024 U SPORTS Men’s Volleyball Championships in March.
Queen’s tradition of football
This will be the first time Queen’s has hosted the Vanier Cup, but the university is no stranger to championship football. Queen's Football has won four Vanier Cups (1968, 1978, 1992, 2009) and three Grey Cups (1922, 1923, 1924) before the creation of the Canadian Football League, which now holds the competition for that trophy.
Learn more on the Vanier Cup website.
2023 Canada Life Vanier Cup Community Events
Throughout Vanier Cup weekend there are a number of events taking place at Queen’s and Kingston.
Canadian Collegiate Women’s Flag Football Showcase
Queen’s Athletics and Recreation is hosting the Canadian Collegiate Women’s Flag Football (CCWF) Showcase on Friday, Nov. 24 at Miklas McCarney Field and Richardson Stadium. The event will feature top teams from across Ontario and Quebec with round robin games starting at 10 am and playoff games set to begin at 3 pm. The final is scheduled to take place on Hand Field at Richardson Stadium at 5:30 pm. Admission to games is free.
Vanier Cup Fan Fest
Springer Market Square in downtown Kingston will host its first Vanier Cup Fan Fest beginning at 6 pm on Friday, Nov. 24. Fans from across Canada and Kingston are encouraged to attend and enjoy live music, meet representatives from participating teams, celebrate the winners of the 2023 CCWF Showcase and interact with a number of vendors from across the province.
Pregame festivities at Richardson Stadium will begin at 9:30 am with live entertainment and food trucks from across Kingston serving fans. Gates to Richardson Stadium will open at 11 am. All fans are encouraged to visit the Bob McFarlane Family Plaza located on the Lang Pavilion, where they can have their photo taken with the Vanier Cup.
Vanier Cup Procession
The UBC Thunderbirds and Montréal Carabins will take part in a procession to Richardson Stadium with the Vanier Cup on the morning of Saturday, Nov. 25. Cheer on the teams as they travel along University Avenue and Union Street behind the Vanier Cup starting at 9 am.
Football Canada First Down ‘Try Football’ Day
Prior to kickoff at the 2023 Canada Life Vanier Cup, Football Ontario will host a Football Canada First Down ‘Try Football’ Day on Miklas-McCarney Field, adjacent to Richardson Stadium, beginning at 9:30 am. The program helps get kids moving and active while having fun. The goal is to help develop their movement abilities and foster further participation in physical activity or sport before taking in the 2023 Canada Life Vanier Cup, the pinnacle of university football in Canada.
Those interested in registering a child to participate can sign up at this link.