During the second world war, the military teams in Ontario played in the ORFU filling the gap during the suspension of play by the Interprovincial Rugby Football Union. (Toronto Navy - H.M.C.S. York played out of Varsity Stadium using the Toronto Argonauts equipment and uniforms.) The Toronto R.C.A.F. Hurricanes were the last amateur team to win the Grey Cup in 1942. Many from the ranks of the military teams in the ORFU became stars in the CFL after the war.
The ORFU champion challenged for and won the Grey Cup in its early decades, but by the 1950s their challenges proved to be perennial failures against the stronger professional interprovincial leagues, the Interprovincial Rugby Football Union and the Western Interprovincial Football Union. The ORFU withdrew from Grey Cup competition in 1954 in a move that heralded the start of the modern era of Canadian football. By 1974, the ORFU had ceased to exist.