This is the jersey worn by the Canadian players in 1902 on their first European tour.
Imported straight from the English public schools, rugby arrived in Canada in the 1860s. In 1874 the first North American international « rugby football » match saw the famous Harvard and Montreal McGill universities face each other off. In this era the game rules varied from one place to another, the American game was already evolving towards their American football game of today.
In 1880, the « Canadian rugby football union » the rugby institution of the time was created and 22 years later a selection of Canadian players left for Europe for the first time. A busy and honorable tour for the Canadian team : Out of 21 matches played (sometimes 3 in a week !) they came home with 7 victories, 10 defeats and 2 draws.
Over the heart, on this red and white jersey, is embroidered a maple leaf, the Canadian symbol of the nature and environment of this country. Note that the red and white were only officially named the Canadian colours in 1921 by George the V.