Saskatchewan Boys U18 Tour

The Canadian Rugby Foundation awarded a $5,000 grant to support the Saskatchewan Rugby Boys U18 Tour to a tournament in the USA, the Maryland Youth Rugby Festival. This grant was from the Bridge the Gap fund which is aimed at the transition of high school players to club and university rugby programs through International rugby tours. Read more about the tour below and if you wish to read more about the Bridge the Gap fund and how to donate, please click hereContinue reading


Canadian Rugby Foundation Funds 2017 BC Rugby U18 Tour to Ireland

The Canadian Rugby Foundation is partially funding the 2017 BC Rugby U18 tour to Ireland from its Bridge the Gap International Tour fund. Funds have also been approved for a Newfoundland tour the following year. You can help support these tours by donating online at:

BC Rugby media release

BC Rugby is excited to announce that funding has been awarded by the Canadian Rugby Foundation to invest in a significant change to BC Rugby’s Provincial XVs (Fifteens) Pathway for both boys’ and girls’ teams.Continue reading

Bridge The Gap Grants Getting Results – Toronto Dragons RFC

Thank you again for the Bridge the Gap Award.  Here is a quick recap of our 2015 program.

The Toronto Dragons established its youth program (ages 6-12) in 2014.  With funding from the Bridge the Gap fund, the Dragons were able to run two “TRY RUGBY” days.  The first session was held at an indoor field at the end of March.  This session was very well attended, and led into our first-ever spring session that we ran for 6 weeks in April and May at a local high school.  The second “TRY RUGBY” session was held at the end of May at our home pitch to launch our summer outdoor session.

As a result of events funded by the Bridge the Gap Award, we were able to triple the number of youth enrolled in our rugby programs.  Throughout the summer, we ran a Saturday morning house league for U8, U10, and U12 that consisted of a mix of skill development and game play.  Additionally, our teams entered 5 local festivals with many smiles all around.  The Toronto Dragons greatly thank the Canadian Rugby Foundation for their funding that helped us grow our youth programs.

Best regards,
Jeff Harris
Director of Junior & Minor Rugby, Toronto Dragons RFC

Bridge the Gap 2015 Grants Announced

The Canadian Rugby Foundation has announced the 2015 recipients of the Bridge the Gap Youth Rugby Grants. The grants are awarded to clubs that implement local or regional projects and or events that diminish barriers and make rugby more accessible to youth. The Canadian Rugby Foundation wants to see more Canadian youth choosing rugby as their sport and reaping the benefits and embracing the positive core values of this great team sport.

The following nine rugby programs will receive grants totalling over $30,000 to implement specific youth rugby initiatives.

Airdrie Highlanders
Beaconsfield RFC
Comox Valley Kickers
Meraloma RFC
Nor’Westers RFC
Ottawa Indians RFC
Toronto Dragons RFC
Toronto Inner-City Rugby Foundation (TIRF)
Westshore Velox RFC

For more information on specific initiatives visit

Congratulations to the successful applicants.

From Members of Committee,
Michael Bull – Chair
Kyle Nichols
Mark Wyatt

Airdrie Highlanders — Bridge the Gap Grant 2015

The Highlanders began in the Airdrie Schools, visiting all grades in Junior High and High
School, and an estimated 6,100 children were introduced to the sport from this effort. This led into participation in their Mini Flag Rugby program, which saw just over 100 participants in U5/U7/U9/U11/U14 categories in their first year (2014). The program was a roaring success, and they hope to double in size this year. Additionally, they are starting city-wide U16/U18 teams for both boys and girls to play exhibitions in Calgary.

The key event they wish to get off the ground is the Youth Jamboree the weekend following the Labour Day long weekend (Sept 12). In it they wish to invite all Alberta clubs to participate in Rugby 7s, at all ages (flag for U5 to U11, and contact for U14/U16/U18). Hosted at the George McDougall High School, they have three full fields and some open areas in which to conduct multiple games at once, split into junior, intermediate, and senior games.

Toronto Inner-City Rugby Foundation (TIRF) — Bridge the Gap Grant 2015

The Toronto Inner-City Rugby Foundation aims to build community through rugby and rugby through community. They are committed to seeing the growth of the game at all youth levels. During their 2013 strategic planning meeting with stakeholders from all nine clubs in Toronto, TIRF identified a lack of programs, infrastructure, and resources when it comes to rugby for children aged 6-12. TIRF was tasked with establishing minor rugby in Toronto by developing resources, strengthening infrastructure, and initiating programs. More than that, however, TIRF took it upon itself to create a market for rugby in Toronto by engaging key non-rugby partners and providing them with the necessary tools to run rugby programs.

During the summer of 2014, TIRF, along with club partners piloted a youth rugby program. The goal of this program was to introduce rugby to as many kids as possible through avenues such as schools, community groups/centres, and provide them with an opportunity to continue participating at the club. TIRF hired eight Youth Rugby Development Interns and dispatched them across the city with great results. In total, TIRF provided introductory rugby programs to over 3,500 students!

The initial CRF funding has helped them reach several community groups in a meaningful way (beyond introduction) and they are currently working with those community groups to plan summer programming. Additional funding allows them to create community based house-leagues and/or drop-in sessions that would promote the sustainable development of the game making their introductory programs sustainable.

Through this CRF grant, they will continue targeting communities that are new to rugby and provide them with an opportunity to try the sport and stay. The main goal is to broaden the pyramid of play at the bottom helping to ultimately grow the game in the long term. The project will not only introduce rugby but it will allow TIRF to help build the infrastructure to handle the growth.

Toronto Dragons — Bridge the Gap Grant 2015

The youth program at TDRFC started in the spring of 2014 with around 20 participants signing up. They are looking to expand and continue spreading the game of rugby throughout Toronto. They believe they are in a great area that has many youth with the potential and desire to play rugby, but are not aware of rugby programs.

The event will include two days of various rugby related drills and activities. One day will take place on an indoor field and the other on an outdoor field. During this event, kids will learn basic rugby skills to help them improve, and draw new players into the sport. After the event, participants will be given a t-shirt and information on how to sign up. The plan for the event is to make it free of charge to draw even more interest.

Ottawa Indians — Bridge the Gap Grant 2015

The Ottawa Indians started their youth rugby program in 2008 with 7 kids. They have continued to develop exponentially and are now one of the largest programs in Eastern Ontario with between 100-120 kids in their U6-U14 programs. They have a multitude of volunteers including 15 coaches. Their youth rugby members are moving up throughout th junior programs – this year, they will have their first U18 boys team after many years.

Their event will be a youth rugby tournament on June 7, 2015 — they are co-organizing with the Ottawa Irish rugby club and expect to have 5-7 clubs participate from Eastern Ontario and Western Quebec. This event will take place at Twin Elm Rugby Park.

Nor’Westers — Bridge the Gap Grant 2015

For the past eight years the Nor’Westers, with the support of the Edmonton Rugby Union, provided rugby introduction sessions to elementary, junior and senior high schools through the ERU Youth Development Program. In 2014, they provided these sessions to over 2,200 students in 10 schools between March and June. They believe in order to grow the sport of rugby it is critical to provide opportunities for youth to be exposed to the sport at an early age. After completing their 5 year development plan last year, they identified a number one goal which was to grow their Youth Program. They have identified 10 elementary & junior high schools within their catchment area to focus their efforts. They also continue to provide coaching to high schools within and outer regions of the Edmonton area. Over the past few years they have enhanced the delivery of their youth program and are seeing the dividends in both numbers and quality. The Nor’Westers are proud to have one of the largest junior programs in Edmonton and one of the best programs in Alberta. They hope to continue their success and expand their numbers.

Their Plan includes:

  1. Concentrate efforts on 10 elementary and junior high schools in catchment area as well as expanding into Beaumont and Morinville. This will entail multiple visits to the same school in a given year. Further, to visit the same schools each year in order to establish relationships between Club Youth Development Officer and the students and schools.
  2. To provide the schools with some basic equipment (balls & flags) so that they can continue on with the program as part of their curriculum.
  3. To hold a tournament each spring and invite the schools that they visit to participate. This year they will be hosting a mini’s tournament at the NWAA club on July 25th and inviting all Edmonton regional teams as well out some from southern Alberta and further afield.

Velox Valhallians (Westshore RFC) — Bridge the Gap Grant 2015

For over 30 years the Velox Valhallians have called Victoria, and their facility at Gordon Head Road, home. This summer the club is moving to the Westshore region. The Westshore consists of several municipalities including Sooke, Colwood and Langford (home of Rugby Canada’s Centre of Excellence). The Westshore region is the fastest growing region on the lower island. In contrast to many other regions in BC, new high schools are being built in the Westshore. In concert with the move to the Westshore the club is changing its name and brand to Westshore RFC.

The club is planning a series of initiatives in the Westshore. These include a range of summer camps, the delivery of Rotary Rugby for youth and a comprehensive development plan for school rugby. For the last 15+ years the club has run junior and youth rugby programs. These include teams at the U18 and U16 levels, mini rugby and summer camps. The club is active in the local schools providing coaching and acting as a training venue for a variety of tournaments.

The Westshore RFC requests funding to support a family rugby festival with varying rugby games for youth including touch/flag, drills, stations, free play. Adult club members and special guest coaches from Rugby Canada would work and mix with youth from all ages. Events include adult tug of war with Police/Fire and an all-day BBQ.