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queen's cup

Queen's-McGill rivalry

Queen's-McGill rivalry refers to the competition, both in academics and athletics between Queen's University and McGill University. Both schools have rich histories of academic excellence, as well as athletic competition and school pride.

The order of the names is by no means consistent; affiliates of either school will typically put their school's name first.

Similarities between McGill and Queen's

Queen's and McGill are very well-known inside Canada, but McGill is more familiar to people in other countries. Both are public universities, funded in part by the government. Both were founded before Canadian confederation, making them two of the oldest universities in Canada. They both have Scottish origins and were founded under Royal Charter from the British Royal Family.

Queen's and McGill have been careful to preserve many parts of their proud history, retaining a number of traditions that can seem archaic and bizarre to outsiders (and even to insiders).

The two schools are among the wealthiest in Canada (Queen's and McGill have the second- and fourth-highest endowments per student in Canada, respectively). Queen's and McGill are both members of the G13, a grouping of the top research-intensive universities in Canada. Both schools compete in the annual "Old Four (IV)" soccer tournament, along with the University of Toronto and the University of Western Ontario.

Hockey

The hockey rivalry between Queen's and McGill dates back to 1895, when on Feb. 2 Queen's defeated McGill 6-5 in Kingston, beginning what is the fourth-longest existing active rivalry in hockey history (the Queen’s-RMC rivalry began in 1886, followed by McGill-RMC in 1892 and Toronto-Queen's in 1894).

While Queen's met RMC in the first-ever intercollegiate hockey game 1886, McGill students formed the first organized hockey team in 1877 and both schools played a significant role in the creation and development of ice hockey.

Queen's students refer to matches against McGill as "Kill McGill" games, and usually show up in Montreal in atypically large numbers to cheer on the Queen's Golden Gaels hockey team. In 2007, McGill students came in bus-loads to cheer on the McGill Redmen, occupying nearly a third of Queen's Jock Harty Arena.

Football

Until 2000, "Kill McGill" was actually a football game. In 2001, Canadian university athletic conferences were reorganized (Queen's joined the Ontario University Athletics association, McGill joined the Quebec Student Sports Federation), ending the longstanding football rivalry which dated back to 1884. .

At these games, Queen's University students were known to dye themselves purple with cell dye, which lasts for several days. Queen's supporters would chant "Kill McGill," to which the McGill side would traditionally answer, "Queens fucks sheep" (a reference to Kingston's more pastoral nature compared to downtown Montreal). It was also common for the Queen's students who came by train, bus or car to Montreal to cheer on their football team to paint yellow slogans on the roads and sidewalks of the McGill campus. In addition to their classic "Kill McGill", it was also common to see slogans such as "Queens Forever" or "McGill Sucks". All just part of the fun that was part of the longtime rivalry between the 2 schools. And after a hard rainshower, the slogans were washed away, to be replaced next time the Kingstonians invaded Montreal.

Another example of the rivalry took place on October 7, 1978 - a warm Saturday afternoon in Montreal, and time for the annual McGill-Queen's football game. This particular Saturday afternoon was just a few days after the death of Pope John Paul I and this event played a role in the afternoon's events. As usual, Molson Stadium was packed with enthusiastic fans from both Montreal and Kingston. Before the game, longtime Montreal sportscaster Larry Fredericks (who was the Redmen's public address announcer at the time) asked the crowd to stand and asked for a moment of silence in the Pope's memory. The crowd did so, and for a few seconds some 20,000 people stood in hushed silence. But not for long. Just before Mr. Fredericks came back on to preface the singing of the national anthem, a leather-lunged McGill supporter yelled "Queens sucks!". And to paraphrase the horse-racing commentators, the afternoon was "off and running"!

Yes, that wee episode that was just the beginning of another classic afternoon in the annals of McGill-Queen's history. And it wasn't just on the field! The fans had a great time as well - tormenting each other all afternoon. As an example, at one point during the afternoon, the Queen's fans started chanting Sex and Drugs and Rock and Roll (the title of a 1977 Punk rock hit song by Ian Dury and the Blockheads). In return, a McGill fan yelled "Ya, everybody knows they're the 3 things that Kingston is best known for!".

The climax may have been at half-time, when the crowd initiated their own edition of the usual "half-time show". The teams had barely left the field when some adventurous Queen's students took the McGill flag from atop the scoreboard (it normally flew atop the Arts building - except for football games, when it was moved to Molson Stadium ). They raced around the field with the flag, taunting the McGill fans. But the Montrealers were hot in pursuit, quickly chased down the culprits and pride was restored. Then the Queen's cheerleaders marched around the field - first to shouts of "take it off!" from the McGill students, but quickly changed to "put it on again!". Ah yes, just another McGill-Queen's football game. Like the song says: "those were the days".

And for those reading this who want to know how the game turned out - the Gaels won a hard fought, exciting match on a last minute touchdown, part of their undefeated 1978 Vanier Cup championship season. That last minute score allowed the Queen's fans one more chance to sing their Oil Thigh anthem - aka the Queen's University Fight Song, this time to celebrate another victory over their arch-rivals. We heard it several times that afternoon - each time accompanied by the usual chorus of boos from the McGill supporters, as well as taunts like "sing something in English", or "can't your Music Faculty compose an original tune"? This referred to the fact that the song uses the melody for the Battle Hymn of the Republic with Gaelic words.

As for the Redmen, they only lost 3 games that year - both regular season games to Queen's, and the 1978 championship game in Kingston. The teams were evenly matched, and each game could have gone either way. While the Gaels deserve congratulations for their championship, McGill was a very close second. Indeed many longtime McGill football fans will tell you that 1978 team may have been even better than the one that did win the 1987 Vanier Cup, the only Cup won by McGill to date. Perhaps even the best team in Redmen football history. Let the debate begin!

But with all the typical shenigans which took place at Molson Stadium on that sunny October Saturday afternoon, the final score was probably an after-thought to those in attendance -including this contributor, who was a student at McGill at the time, and was one of those 20,000 who made the trek to Molson Stadium that afternoon. And who still remembers it like it was yesterday, instead of 30 years ago.

Rowing: The McGill-Queen's Challenge

The longstanding Queen's-McGill rowing rivalry was formalized in 1996, when the rowing crews from both schools conceived the Queen's-McGill Challenge Boatrace (also consistently called the McGill-Queen's Challenge Boatrace). The competition was modelled after the famous Oxford-Cambridge Boat Race, and is considered the Canadian equivalent of the aforementioned Oxbridge race as well as the Harvard-Yale Regatta .

The first Challenge was hosted on the Olympic Basin in Montreal in 1997, and comprised a 2000 m race and a 500 m dash. Today, the traditional format of the Challenge Boatrace has become a 5000 m headrace followed by a 500 m sprint.

McGill and Queen's alternate hosting the event from year to year, and it takes place late in April.

Past Results

Year Men's Challenge Blade Women's Challenge Trophy D. Lorne Gales Challenge Cup
1997

McGill

...

McGill
1998

McGill

...

McGill
1999

McGill

McGill

McGill
2000

McGill

Queen's

Queen's
2001

Queen's

Queen's

Queen's
2002

McGill

Queen's

Queen's
2003

McGill

Queen's

McGill
2004

Queen's

Queen's

Queen's
2005

Queen's

Queen's

Queen's
2006

Queen's

McGill

Queen's
2007

Queen's

Queen's

Queen's
2008

Queen's

McGill

Queen's

Academic Competition

Both McGill and Queen's faculty and students routinely compete for prestigious awards, funding, and jobs.

Queen's and McGill both have very strong alumni networks. Both schools have numerous alumni as prominent Canadian scientists, politicians, and business leaders. There is a stereotype that McGill produces more scientists and artists, while Queen's produces more business leaders and politicians. However, McGill has produced numerous notable CEOs and politicians including two Canadian prime ministers (see List of McGill University people), and Queen's has produced a number of notable artists, musicians, and scientists (see List of Queen's University people)

Rankings

Over the last few years, Canadian universities have been subjected to the increasing popularity of national and international university rankings, which rank different schools based on the inspected quality of their teaching and research, as well as other criteria, such as spending on facilities and dropout rates. Queen's and McGill have been a constant presence at the top end of the ranking, never appearing outside the overall top five in Canadian rankings, but their dominance in individual subjects is often challenged by other institutions.

Maclean's magazine rates Canadian universities each year based on factors such as the student-to-faculty ratio, the number of library holdings per student, the number of scholarships available per student, class sizes, number of tenured faculty, etc. In 2007, McGill placed 1st in the Medical-Doctoral category, while Queen's placed 2nd.

McGill typically places higher in international university rankings such as the Academic Ranking of World Universities (conducted by Shanghai Jiao Tong University), although this can possibly be attributed to McGill's greater emphasis on research and the natural sciences. Queen's has traditionally put more of a focus on undergraduate education, electing to keep a smaller undergraduate population and maintain a higher professor/student ratio.

According to the Times Higher Education Supplement rankings for 2007, arguably the most accurate and fair ranking for world universities, McGill University was ranked the best in Canada and the 12th best University in the world overall. Queen's was ranked the 88th worldwide in the listing.

'Harvard of the North' Title

Queen's and McGill have both been referred to as the "Harvard of the North. A McGill student newspaper reference (possibly apocryphal) to a Newsweek article is said to have sparked this debate in 2002 with an article claiming that it is a "commonly made assertion that McGill is the 'Harvard of Canada.'" This allegedly prompted Queen's to respond that they had more in common with Harvard and that Queen's students "love to call themselves the Harvard of the North." To this, McGill's Principal Shapiro is said to have replied in the National Post: "We have never called ourselves [Harvard]. It's something that no one should ever say about themselves, it's something someone else says." A popular t-shirt sold at McGill by independent students satirizes the commonly made assertion with the text: "Harvard - America's McGill." The University of Toronto has also been referred to as the 'Harvard of the North'

Cooperation

Despite the impassioned rivalry between the two universities, they share a successful publishing house: the McGill-Queen's University Press.

They also both participate in the G13 Data Exchange (G13DE), along with 11 other research intensive universities in Canada. The G13DE comprises the institutional research directors at each of the G13 institutions. Through the formal and informal exchange of datasets and information, the goal of the data exchange is to support the Executive Heads in the development and enhancement of the distinctive mission of the institutions.

Trivia

  • The first intercollegiate basketball game in Canada was played between McGill and Queen's on Feb. 6, 1904, in Kingston; with McGill winning 9-7 in overtime.

See also

Notes and references

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