Rugby connoisseurs love the Toronto Scottish for their fine bouquet and strong finish. Whether we’re winning or losing, the spirit of rugby prevails, and like fine wine, the Club improves with age.
Once known as the “drinkingest” club in the city, we’ve proven we’re more than that, finishing first in the provincial standings this year.
Like our namesake nation, there have been points in our history when we’ve had little other than spirit going for us. We’ve got hundreds of active players, thousands of alumni, yet after 60 years, still don’t have a club house or a permanent field in Toronto, though we are part owner of a six-pitich stadium complex near the village of Elgin Mills, where we play half our games.
The other founding clubs in our city, the Lions, the Welsh, and the Irish, have faded into the sunset or moved on to greener pastures. Yet we remain, in the place the Club was born, constantly growing and refining our rugby.
We thrive on friendship, pints, and the game. When all else turns to vapour, we’ve always got the game. Native pride, and a high standard of rugby, set by imports from all over the UK, New Zealand, South Africa (except for Saffa), and Australia, keep us working on our skills (again, except for Saffa).
Toronto Scottish rugby is a scrappy affair. Every club has days when they can do no wrong, but character arises from adversity. And some days, there isn’t adversity enough, so we manufacture some. Overcoming ourselves is sometimes the biggest challenge on the pitch, but when we do, we’re unstoppable. That too is part of the game, and is something we get better at, week by week, season after season.
Rarely are we the biggest team on the field, but everyone in the jersey punches above their weight, and victories are the result. Across the three senior men’s sides and two senior women’s sides, there is an unwholesome blend of youth and experience, skill and ferocity, guile and foolhardiness. It takes all kinds, and we welcome them all.
CAUTION: Many players come for one season, but never return from whence they came. Life among the Toronto Scottish can best be described as, “intoxicating. There must be something in the air, or perhaps the water, or, God forbid, the beer, but there are now three generations of ex-pats with us, and a fourth in the making (our U21, U18, U16, and mini’s program is so successful, the next logical step is controlled breeding…). In some cases, they come for the rugby, but stay for the women (and vice versa, presumably).
Canada is a vast and wonderful place to visit, but Toronto is where all its cultures and commerce converge. If you’re thinking of coming to Canada, there is no better way to start than sharing a pint with the Toronto Scottish RFC. It’s a safe bet you’ll find the Club’s masterminds at the Duke of Kent on a Thursday night, making pyramids of their empty glasses while munching on drink-coaster and ketchup sandwiches. Maybe you’d better check ahead to confirm, and wear a carnation on your lapel so we’ll recognize you.
Somewhere in the hazy past, the Club adopted the motto, “A fine old club to play for,” which is true. But that doesn’t capture the the esprit de corps that makes it so damned fine. It’s something that must be experience first hand.