Guelph invented the jockstrap and 9 other facts as Storm take on London Knights

Here are 10 facts about Guelph as the city's major junior hockey team, the Guelph Storm prepare to take on the London Knights in the OHL Western Conference semi-final that opens Friday at Budweiser Gardens.

In advance of playoff series, we learn Guelph claims a lot of firsts; the hat trick, 5-pin bowling, cable TV

From jockstraps to hat tricks, even a potato, the City of Guelph is considered the birthplace of a number of cultural touchstones. (Kate Bueckert/CBC)

"If you know your enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles."

Those words by the Chinese military strategist Sun Tzu are no less true today than they were when he penned them 2,500 years ago. 

"Know your enemy" will be top of mind Friday night at Budweiser Gardens in London. That's when the London Knights will face the Guelph Storm as the second round of the OHL playoffs get underway

The Storm have Londoners Nick Suzuki and Isaac Ratcliffe in their lineup. The two NHL prospects know the city well. 

So it begs the question: how well does London know Guelph? 

To help, your national public broadcaster has created a list of 10 facts about Guelph: 

Named after royalty

King George IV succeeded to the British throne in 1820 and reigned for 10 years. (UK Royal Collection Trust)

They call Guelph "the Royal City" with good reason. It was named after the family line of King George IV whose lineage, the Royal House of Hannover, was a German family by the name of Guelph. 

Guelph invented the jockstrap

What's now ubiquitous in sport didn't exist a century ago. The jockstrap was invented by the Guelph Elastic Hosiery Company in 1922. (Ontario Museum Association)

Guelph has cemented its name in the history of sport by being the birthplace of the athletic supporter. The device was invented in 1922 by the Guelph Elastic Hosiery Company, which later held a contest to name its new product. 

The name 'jockstrap' was chosen and the winner of the contest got a cash prize of five dollars, worth $72.12 today. 

North America's first cable TV system

The 1953 coronation of Queen Elizabeth

1 month ago
Duration 21:36
In Westminster Abbey, Elizabeth triumphantly receives her crown. Aired June 2, 1953 on a CBC-TV News Special.

Guelph was home to MacLean-Hunter Television, North America's first cable TV system. Its first broadcast was the 1953 coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. 

Five-pin bowling

Tabloid: Bonkers for bowling

4 years ago
Duration 27:11
On the scene of Canada's fastest growing sport — five-pin bowling! This episode contains poor audio.

While five-pin bowling itself wasn't born in Guelph, the man who invented it was. They say Tom Ryan was working at a Yonge Street bowling alley in Toronto, where customers were complaining the ball in the 10-pin game was too heavy. 

So Ryan completely re-invented the game in 1909 using smaller balls, five pins and a new scoring system. 

'In Flanders Fields' 

John McCrae, with his horse Bonfire and his dog Bonneau in Dec, 1917. (Guelph Museums)

Lt.-Col. John McCrae, the Canadian surgeon who penned the poem "In Flanders Fields" was born in Guelph. His limestone house still stands today and has been converted into a museum dedicated to his life and legacy. 

Yukon Gold

PEI might be known for its potatoes, but Guelph invented one. (CBC)

Gourmet restaurants will always owe something to Guelph for the fact the city was the birthplace of the Yukon Gold potato.

Bred in 1966 by Gary Johnson at the University of Guelph and made available to Canadian growers in 1981, the spud is still considered something special among cooks and foodies alike. 


At some 13,000 volumes, it's safe to say the University of Guelph has the largest cookbook collection in the country. (Jonathan Cheung)

Anyone unsure of what to do with their spuds can rest easy at the University of Guelph. The school is said to have Canada's largest cookbook collection, with some 13,000 volumes. 

Old school

The Ontario Veterinary College was founded in 1862, making it older than Canada itself. (University of Guelph)

Guelph is home to the Ontario Veterinary College, the oldest veterinary school in Canada. How old is it you ask? It was founded in 1862, making it five years older than the country itself. 

Covered bridge

Guelph's picturesque covered bridge spans the Eramosa River and is a favourite venue for wedding parties to have their pictures taken. (Kaehler Photos)

Guelph's covered bridge is one of only two of its kind in Ontario. It was built by the Timber Framers' Guild in 1992 based on a design from the 1800s that uses wooden pins. 

Birthplace of 'the hat trick'

An ice crew in Chicago picks up hats after Patrick Kane scored three goals in an NHL game against the Boston Bruins in 2016. (Jeff Haynes/Associated Press)

Believe it or not Guelph actually coined the term "hat trick." It was 1947 and the Biltmore Hat Company was the sponsor of the city's local hockey team, they Biltmore Mad Hatters.

When a hockey player scored three goals, fans were encourage to throw their hats onto the ice. It was known as a "hat trick."


  • An earlier version of this article stated that Guelph's covered bridge was built in 1982, it was actually built in 1992.
    Apr 05, 2019 4:39 PM ET