Quizbowl in Canada

From QBWiki
Revision as of 19:31, 24 January 2010 by fix>QBWikiBot
(diff) ← Older revision | Latest revision (diff) | Newer revision → (diff)
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Variants of quizbowl in Canada have been around since the 1960s. Quizbowl, referring to a tossup/bonus format, is more widespread amongst universities than high schools, which use Reach for the Top.

High School

High school quizbowl supposedly first appeared with the CBC radio show I.Q. in the early 1960s. The format was loosely based on the American radio version of College Bowl. The show was canceled in 1964 and Reach took root soon after.

A quizbowl tournament catered to high school students came in 2005 as an NAQT event hosted by Ottawa. It has continued each year since, but with low attendance. Attempts to run a similar event in Vancouver, Toronto, New Brunswick, and Sudbury have all failed due to low interest.

Some high school teams have played in events catered to universities, such as VETO and the Ottawa Hybrid Tournament.


While some Canadian universities have "trivia clubs" that only play Trivial Pursuit or watch Jeopardy!, most clubs play quizbowl. Notably, there is no Reach for the Top available in post-secondary education (unless you are a college in Quebec exploiting rule #1 of SchoolReach).


Based on its history, Queen's was the sole Canadian team to participate in ACF events through most of the 1990s. In the 2000s, there has usually been at least one ACF event every year in British Columbia. In eastern Canada, ACF Fall was hosted by Brock in 2005 and by McMaster in 2008.

College Bowl

Queen's and Simon Fraser were regular participants in earlier years, though neither team currently plays College Bowl. According to the CBI website, there have been teams from the Universities of Saskatchewan and Toronto (before the modern team).


Of the four major U.S.-based formats, NAQT has been the most successful in Canada. The earliest results on CAQL's website list tournament questions sources as "NAQT + Canadian content" [1]. SCTs have been held in Canada every year since 2000 (except 2002).

NAQT has been accused of making concessions to Canadians (such as adding high levels of Canadian content in questions or giving 2 ICT invites to the Vancouver SCT) to boost their Canadian market.

The 2008 SCTs saw no less than five former Reach champions playing in Division II, suggesting that maybe Canadians like NAQT because it's the closest collegiate thing to Reach. Two former champions (Peter Burton and Jacob Baskin) led in individual scoring at their respective SCTs.


There has usually been a TRASH Regionals in either BC or southwestern Ontario (or both) with moderate attendance. There is not much in the way of independent trash, although the OHT is half pop culture and there is often a trash singles event after Provincial Bowl.

Independent events

There have been several one-time events in Canada: usually in BC, but Mackenzie Bowl at UWO in 1999 attracted 14 teams. However, the modern Canadian circuit calendar includes three regular events:

Provincial Bowl (October)

Organized by Brock Stephenson. It began in 2002 as BC Bowl, and since 2003 has included a more popular mirror, Ontario Bowl. In 2005, McGill hosted a third mirror, Quebec Bowl. The BC Bowl site has waned in significance in recent years, especially after Stephenson moved to Ontario for a work placement. Ontario Bowl, meanwhile, has grown in attendance each year. Ontario Bowl is often held at a first-time host site (McMaster, Ottawa, Brock/McGill, Carleton, Toronto).

Hybrid Tournament (March)

The Ottawa Hybrid Tournament is organized by Ben Smith and other members of Ottawa. It began in 2005 as a quick cash grab for funds to travel to an ICT, but has steadily gone down in price and up in quality. It is sometimes mirrored by UBC and Georgia. Its 16-team field at the Ottawa site in 2007 was the largest at a Canadian independent event until Ontario Bowl also had 16 the following season.

VETO (July)

Organized by Peter McCorquodale. The Vancouver Estival Trivia Open (or VETO Escapes to Toronto, Ontario) has been held annually in Vancouver (and often at a Toronto mirror) since 1999. In 2002, it converted to a "guerrilla" format in which there is no central editing. In recent years, VETO has been ridiculed by American teams for either a) teams who don't ask for advice and write bad questions, or b) teams who do ask for advice, then ignore it.

University teams

A list of Canadian universities that have sent teams to tournaments at some point. + refers to active teams.