The stories behind the logos of university teams in Quebec

Andrew Hawley, sports editor at the University of Ottawa’s the Fulcrum, recently reached out to the other sports editors from universities across the country. His goal was to discover the history behind their athletic teams’ logos and names, and publish a compilation. Below is a selection featuring our Quebec rivals and neighbours. All information on the teams, with the exception of Concordia, was gathered by Hawley.

Concordia University Stingers

Up until 1974, Concordia University was actually two separate universities. When Loyola College and Sir George Williams University combined to create Concordia, their athletic departments remained separate for a year. In 1975, they merged and were originally given the name the Concordians. In November 1975 the name was changed to Stingers, and the teams adopted their current colours of maroon, gold and white. Around 1979, a bee mascot was introduced to represent and cheer on Concordia at various events, sporting and otherwise. Though originally given the name “Stinger,” he is now known lovingly throughout Concordia as “Buzz.”

McGill University Redmen and Martlets

The Redmen is the name used to describe the men’s athletic teams at McGill. The term was first used in 1929 as “Red Men” in order to describe the red uniforms won by the sports teams. The word “redmen” also serves as a nod to the Scottish heritage of James McGill, the university’s founder, as historically the word was used to describe Celts who had red hair. The Martlets is the name used for the women’s teams at McGill since 1976. A martlet is a mythical bird that has no feet, making it unable to land. As such, it is constantly soaring. Three martlets are featured in the university’s logo, as they were also in James McGill’s family’s coat of arms.

Université de Montréal Carabins

According to the Carabins athletics department website, the sports teams’ name was initially derived from describing a type of student. In the 19th century, the French term “carabin” was used informally to describe medical students – especially those who played sports when they weren’t studying, following the “work hard, play hard” mantra. The term became more popular over time, and student associations at Montreal embraced the word “carabin” for symbolizing school spirit and student solidarity, and the term was officially adopted for athletic teams in 1922. The Carabins logo features the school colours of blue, white, and black, and also includes a campus landmark: the imposing Roger-Gaudry tower, designed by noted architect Ernest Cormier.

Bishop’s University Gaiters

These aren’t your green reptilian “gators.” The term “gaiter” refers to the clerical boot covering (originally made of leather) worn by Anglican bishops up until the early part of the 20th century. At that time, gaiters were used for practical purposes as bishops often rode horses for travel. The name is a nod to the university’s history, as the primarily English-speaking school (Concordia and McGill are the other two English universities in Quebec) was established in 1843 as a Bishop’s College and remained under the Anglican Church’s control until 1947. Despite an undergraduate student population of just under 2,000, Gaiters fans have a reputation for showing a strong affinity for their sports teams.


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