National Championships coming to Toronto
Canada Day will have a distinctly Australian feel this year as hundreds of Canadian Aussie Rules footballers converge on Toronto for the AFL Canada National Championships.
The championships will pit province against province on Colonel Samuel Smith Oval in Etobicoke from June 30 to July 1.
The biggest development of the tournament is the creation of a second men's division to cater for sustained growth in smaller provinces.
AFL Canada president Lachlan Griffiths said the second division would be modified to cater for a smaller pool of players.
"We expect to have British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario and Quebec on the women's side, and on the men's side those four provinces plus Manitoba and Nova Scotia," he said.
"The men's draw will be split with division one remaining 18-a-side between the four largest provinces, with Nova Scotia, Manitoba and two more yet-to-be-determined teams rounding out the draw in a 10-a-side division played on a shortened field."
This year will be the second provincial-based nationals, after Burnaby, BC, successfully held the event in 2016.
Griffiths said Toronto was chosen to even out the travel advantage held in 2016 by the western provinces.
"We were keen to host this year's tournament in the East and Toronto was an obvious choice given its strong and established league, permanent oval and accessible location," he said.
"When we first held a provincial-based nationals in 2016 there was some understandable uncertainty around the tournament, however with the success of Burnaby, we're excited to host it again and see the growth in talent and play since then.
"Having it in the east will also help Ontario and Quebec with less travel burden so we're excited to see if the balance of power will shift and anyone can knock off the BC men and the Albertan women."
Information regarding hotels, flights and tournament information will be posted to AFLCanada.com as it becomes available.