Esports Around The World: Canada

Esports Around The World is a series of profiles outlining the esports ecosystem in various countries globally. The series ties into ESI’s international esports business events, which take place around the world.

Esports around the world canada
The Esports Around The World series will profile major & minor esports nations across the globe.
ESI London 2024


Canada has a strong presence in the global esports industry, in part due to its geographical and cultural proximity to its neighbour the United States. While the country is regularly associated with its North American compatriot, Canada is home to a number of its own internationally-important brands, teams, tournaments, companies and organisations.

Esports holding companies OverActive Media, Enthusiast Gaming and React Gaming Group are all based in Canada. In 2025, OverActive Media is planning to open a multi-use 7000-seater arena in Toronto, dubbed to be for the ‘next generation of fans’.

Esports betting firm Rivalry is also headquarted in Canada, while major esports organisations Luminosity Gaming and Shopify Rebellion also both hail from the country.

On the competitive side, a host of top-tier professional talent across multiple titles come from Canada, again aided by its location enabling easy online play with North American player bases. Esports titles Counter-Strike 2, League of Legends, Fortnite and Rocket League all enjoy popularity in the country.

Many Canadian players are notable on an international level. Leading names include highly popular VALORANT player Tyson ‘TenZ’ Ngo, Counter-Strike player Russel ‘Twistzz’ Van Dulken and League of Legends pro Joseph Joon ‘jojopyun’ Pyun. Canada also boasts several pro coaches and players in Rocket League such as Jacob ‘JKnaps’ Knapman. Sasha ‘Scarlett’ Hostyn is a high-level Starcraft 2 player, while Indervir ‘iLLeY’ Dhaliwal represents in Call of Duty esports. Meanwhile, Mounira ‘GooseBreeder’ Dobie, currently signed to FlyQuest Red, is a notable name in women’s Counter-Strike.

Government Recognition

The Canadian government has not yet officially recognised esports as a sport in any capacity. However, Several cities, regions, and provinces have built out esports strategies.

The Vancouver Economic Commission, an external agency of the City of Vancouver, has formulated a Vancouver Esports Strategy for the West-coast city. The strategy report equips decision-makers with insights into esports and builds on those insights to propose a set of strategy recommendations for establishing the city as an esports hub.

Meanwhile, the Alberta Esports Strategy covers the Canadian province of Alberta. Written by a working group that included Calgary Economic Development, Edmonton Screen Industries Office, Edmonton Global, Tourism Calgary, Explore Edmonton, and the Alberta Esports Association, it identifies pillars that it says can form the foundation of a robust esports ecosystem for the area.

Elsewhere, the Waterloo Region Esports Commission supports esports with incentives for event organisers, while the city of Toronto launched its own Esports Strategy in 2023 stating that “Toronto is ready to be a major esports hub.”

Notable Tournaments & Leagues

Canada has a number of major leagues and tournaments that take place in the country. Canadian cities are represented in North American esports franchised leagues such as the Call of Duty League (CDL), and were previously represented in the Overwatch League (OWL) prior to its shutdown.

BLAST R6 Major Montreal 2024NA LCS 2017 Spring Playoffs
Call of Duty League (CDL) Majors (multiple)Overwatch League 2023 – Playoffs
Dreamhack MontrealThe International 2018
Get On My Level (GOML)

Notable Esports Organisations

Note that this is a non-exhaustive list and exclusion does not signify an org is not notable.

Canucks Sports & Entertainment (Vancouver Titans)Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment (Raptors Uprising)
Disguised Overactive Media (Toronto Defiant, Toronto Ultra, Mad Lions, KOI, Movistar Riders)
Lazarus EsportsSoaR Gaming
Luminosity Gaming (Vancouver Titans)Shopify Rebellion

National Associations / Federations

Note that inclusion in this list does not suggest any acknowledgement from ESI of its authority, works or official capacity.

Esport CanadaEntertainment Software Association of Canada (ESAC)

Education Initiatives

Canada has a robust scholastic and collegiate esports system.

BC School Sports partnered up with GameSeta Esports Inc in October 2020 to improve the British Columbian collegiate esports scene. Scholastic esports company PlayVs later bought Vancouver-based GameSeta in 2021. Esports Canada told Esports Insider that the Ontario School Esports Association (OSEA) and Manitoba School Esports Association (MSEA) are both doing work in the scholastic esports (K-12) space, and that other similar provincial organisations are starting in more provinces.

In terms of competition, Esport Canada Post Secondary (ECPS), a body for post-secondary esports programmes in Canada, offers two collegiate esports tournaments annually. These include the Canadian Esports Nationals, which runs during US Thanksgiving week, and the Canadian Intercollegiate Exhibition, an online conference run in May by students from Simon Fraser University, the University of Toronto, and ECPS.

Esports Canada told Esports Insider that there are about a dozen post-secondary academic esports programmes (degrees, diplomas and graduate certificates) and several others that integrate esports into their academic programming by offering work-integrated learning experiences.

There are additionally several collegiate venues in Canada. St. Clair College built a 15,000-square-foot esports facility called The Nexus designed for varsity teams, academic and student use. Meanwhile, Conestoga College has announced that it will open a 10,000-square-foot esports facility designed by sports architecture firm Populous in 2025. Several other post-secondary institutions have dedicated esports spaces on campus or are in the process of planning them, Esports Canada told Esports Insider.

This is a preliminary country profile and will be augmented with additional information over time. If you have any suggestions or feedback for this profile, please get in touch at [email protected]. Article original published: April 21st 2022. Article last updated: April 26th 2024.

Esports Insider