Friday, 30 December 2022

Colourization --NOT-- Catastrophe - Topps CFL Cards Part 2

A couple of years ago I posted the first part of this analysis of how poorly Topps colourized their classic CFL trading cards. This is the sequel post to assess the Eastern teams from the same time period, however the analysis reveals that Topps actually did a damn fine job for the eastern division and it was in no way the catastrophe that the western division was.

Year by year for 1958, 1959 & 1960 I will compare the card colours with mostly readily available colour images of each team from those seasons and assign a generalized rating number where the player is featured in uniform on the following scale

3 - Accurate representation of the team uniform colours

2 - Mostly Accurate representation of the team uniform colours  

1 - Partially Accurate representation of the team uniform colours

0 - Totally Inaccurate representation of the team uniform colours

Cards that show a player out of uniform will not be rated.  In some cases I might not have a real colour reference photo to refer to so an educated conclusion will have to suffice. Also keep in mind that uniforms were not 100% standardized in those days, not everybody wore the exact same helmet stripes or socks, players would wear older style jerseys during photo shoots and even sometimes during games, and occasionally teams would wear the opposite of their road/home outfits on a particular night, so this is going to be a "near as can be determined" result. 

The scores for these cards per team will then be added up and divided by the number of cards to generate an aggregate average number for each team that will represent just how well or how poorly the Topps card design personnel performed.

1958 Toronto Argonauts
Road Lights (Paul Fedor), Home Top Dark Bottom Light (Dave Mann, Dick Fouts - muddy pants)

There are 11 Toronto Argonaut cards in the 1958 set.

Only 1 player is shown in a complete road uniform photo and the colourization is accurate (the shades of the Argos double blue, light and dark, being somewhat variable depending on lighting). Also the pants may have been white or off-white or a combination of both used by different players during the same season. Rating (3).

The remaining ten cards are all head shots with minimal jersey visible, one coloured white and nine coloured varying shades of dark blue. Rating (3)

1958 Rating : 3 + 30 = 33 / 11    =    Average Rating of  3.00

1959 Toronto Argonauts
Road Lights (Jim Rountree), Home Top Dark Bottom Light Khaki? (Dick Shatto, twice)

There are 11 Toronto Argonaut cards in the 1959 set.

All of them are shown in their road uniforms with the white or off-white pants, with one exception where the image is waist up only in the light jersey. Rating (3).

I don't have any colour images of the Argos in road nor home uniforms from 1959 but the 1959 Weekend magazine Dick Shatto illustration shows a decidedly khaki or gold hued pants. It is hard to tell but it looks to me like the 1959 7-UP photo and an image from a 1959 home game might support that the pants worn at home were not the white or off-white pants worn on the road this season.

1959 Rating : 33 / 11    =    Average Rating of  3.00

1960 Toronto Argonauts
Road Top Light Bottom Darker (Marty Martinello), Home Top Dark Bottom Lighter (Dick Shatto)

There are 10 Toronto Argonaut cards in the 1960 set.

The Argos started to wear numbered helmets in 1960 and switched to a double blue leg stripe but none of this affected the cards because Topps went back to mostly the head shots this year with six of the cards showing the proper dark blue coloured shoulders, one showing a white jersey shoulders. Rating (3).

Tobin Rote also appears in a head shot that looks like it came from the 1958 NFL Lions photo shoot and the jersey colour is the Detroit Honolulu blue. Rating (2).

The two remaining cards are the same road uniforms used the prior two seasons. Rating (3).  

1960 Rating : 21 + 2 + 6 = 29 / 10    =    Average Rating of  2.90

TOR 1958 - 1960    95 / 33   =   Aggregate Rating of 2.97

1958 Hamilton Tiger-Cats
Road Lights Top Yellow or White (John Barrow from '57 Grey Cup, Bob Dawson),
Home Top Dark Bottom Light (Fran Rogel, Harry Lampmann)

There are 11 Hamilton Tiger-Cats cards in the 1958 set.

Six are full uniform shots with the dark jerseys, 4 are partial uniform shots with the dark jerseys and one is a full uniform shot with the light jersey. All of these images are very accurately colourized with the only quibble being the gold colour should have been a little more yellowish. Not enough of a difference to affect the rating. Rating (3).

1958 Rating : 33 / 11    =    Average Rating of  3.00

1959 Hamilton Tiger-Cats (same uniforms as 1958 with Road Top White)
1956 Home Top Dark Bottom Light (Vince Scott, John Fedosoff)

There are 9 Hamilton Tiger-Cats cards in the 1959 set.

Five of the nine cards are the same uniforms (Home) and same colouration as the previous year, so these are all correct. Rating (3). One of these cards is the same uniform but the numbers are a different shade than the rest of the gold. Rating (2).

Then three of the cards inexplicably show the players in their 1956 uniforms, but correctly coloured. Rating (3). 

1959 Rating : 15 + 2 + 9 = 26 / 9    =    Average Rating of  2.89

1960 Hamilton Tiger-Cats (same uniforms as 1959 with Road Top White, John Barrow)

There are 10 Hamilton Tiger-Cats cards in the 1960 set.

Eight of these cards show the player in the home dark tops uniform and since these had not changed they are all correct. Rating (3). 

But Vince Scott is in his home dark top uniform but coloured dark blue instead of black. Another better colourization job is pictured from a same era game program. Rating (1).

One of these cards is a cropped Bernie Faloney again in all yellow so his top is wrong for this season. Rating (1).

1960 Rating : 24 + 1 + 1 = 26 / 10    =    Average Rating of  2.60

HAM 1958 - 1960    85 / 30   =   Aggregate Rating of 2.83

1958 Ottawa Rough Riders
Home Top Dark Bottom Light (Bobby Judd, Bob Simpson),
Road Top Light Bottom Dark (John Bove, Dave Thelen)

There are 11 Ottawa Rough Riders cards in the 1958 set.

Four players are shown in white jerseys without the shoulders visible. Rating (3).

Two players are shown in white jerseys missing the proper shoulder striping colours. Rating (2).

Four players are shown in full or partial uniforms (some of which are from prior seasons) with the correct coloring (although the red could be darker). Rating (3).

One player has incorrect arm striping colours. Rating (2).

1958 Rating : 12 + 4 + 12 + 2 = 30 / 11    =    Average Rating of  2.73

1959 Ottawa Rough Riders
Home Top Dark Bottom Light (Frank Tripucka, Ron Stewart),
Road Top Light Bottom Dark (Jim Reynolds from '60 Grey Cup, Russ Jackson)

There are 10 Ottawa Rough Riders cards in the 1959 set.

Four of the players are in appropriately coloured jerseys with the shoulder stripes (3 Road, 1 Home). Rating (3).

Three of the players are in jerseys cropped so close no striping would be visible. Rating (3).

Three of the players are shown with incorrect shoulder or arm striping. Rating (2).

1959 Rating : 12 + 9 + 6 = 27 / 10    =    Average Rating of  2.70

1960 Ottawa Rough Riders
(very similar uniforms to 1959, maybe some sleeve number changes, Ron Stewart, Gary Schreider)

There are 9 Ottawa Rough Riders cards in the 1960 set but George Brancato is cropped so close no jersey is visible so he will not be factored in. As was Topp's custom the card images were mostly just re-used versions of the cards from prior years, so they are mostly correct.

Six of the cards are tight head shots and the minimal jersey showing can be considered correct. Rating (3).

One is Bobby Simpson from a properly colored older uniform style. Rating (3).

One is Kay Vaughn from an improperly stripe coloured older uniform style. Rating (2).

1960 Rating : 18 + 3 + 2 = 23 / 8    =    Average Rating of  2.88

OTT 1958 - 1960    80 / 29   =   Aggregate Rating of 2.76

1959 Montreal Alouettess
Home Top Dark Bottom Light (Same Etcheverry, Ed Learn),
Road Top Light Bottom Light

There were no Montreal Alouettes cards in the 1958 Topps set.

There are 8 Montreal Alouettes cards in the 1959 set.

All eight players are shown in the team's home uniforms (although some are from earlier seasons with no numbers on the upper arms) and all eight are correctly colourized. Rating (3).

1959 Rating : 24 / 8    =    Average Rating of  3.00

1960 Montreal Alouettes
Home & Road same as 1959 except with the winged helmet (none on cards),
(Marv Luster, Jim Copeland)

There are 10 Montreal Alouette cards in the 1960 set.

As you should expect by now all 1960 cards were tighter cropped versions of the same images used earlier, or head shots with minimal jersey showing and a couple of older uniform cards. Again all players are in their home uniforms and all are correctly colourized. Rating (3).

1960 Rating : 30 / 10    =    Average Rating of  3.00

MON 1959 - 1960    54 / 18   =   Aggregate Rating of 3.00

So to summarize Topp's performance with a ranking out of 3 points ranging from Pretty Decent to Absolute Garbage : (and keep in mind I was just assessing the colour accuracy, the fact they hardly ever got the players in the current uniforms is a different failure altogether).

TOR  2.97      HAM  2.83     OTT  2.76        MON   3.00

A very credible job for the Eastern teams, here were the Western teams scores from the earlier blog post

WPG  2.14      B.C.  1.87        EDM  0.93        SSK    0.00        CAL   0.00

If you were a kid collecting cards in the east, your teams were properly represented. 

In the west it could have been OK or it could have been pathetic.

Gridiron Uniform Database - CFL additions

I first did the Topps colourization analysis for the western teams in 2020, and I felt it would enhance the post to show the players in their uniforms in game action to get an idea for what the style was if not the actual colours (same as I did here for the east). 

Last year the group responsible for The Gridiron Uniform Database announced their intention to add CFL uniforms to the site on the premiere football memorabilia forum: The Vintage Football Discussion Community. The person that runs the site indicated he "knew next to nothing about the CFL and knew nothing about it's history". 

I was asked to comment and suggested that:

"the comments made about not knowing anything about CFL history, to me would indicate that (other than from say the 1980's up, where colour references from actual game play are relatively plentiful) your teams best intentioned efforts would likely be frustratingly inaccurate and prone to a large number of inconsistencies and errors, because unless you are really familiar with the teams and the history and the players, it won't always be possible to tell if a particular image is really related to the team, year, player, road or home uniform in question (even if it is captioned as such). Finding what colour images do exist is not easy, and I would guestimate likely only cover about 30% of what you would need at the absolute most." and "I just don't believe that people with no knowledge of Canadian Football history can accurately untangle the historical puzzle that it presents."

A reasoned and informed opinion I thought, naturally it was derided by a poster whose CFL expertise was evidenced by his statement on "the Montreal Alouettes (whatever those are)" ...

The GUD subsequently launched their CFL section in 2022 and has now expanded from 1945 through to sometime into the seventies. So I compared what they had for the relevant years in the east for 1958, 1959 and 1960 to see how they stacked up to what I was seeing using actual online newspaper images (presumably the same ones they used) and the colour reference material I had available (presumably most of which was not available to them). And my assessment of their results is:

- Did they put in a monumental amount of effort - Yes

- Did they accurately determine the uniform styles game by game (including exhibitions) from newspaper archives - Yes, probably to a high 90's percentage level anyway

- Did they have to make a lot of assumptions on actual uniform colours, and extrapolate those to other years based on minimal source colour reference material that would have been available to them? - Yes, they must have because accessible reference material for each year does not exist

- Can you assume that the colours presented for each team and each year are correct? - I'm afraid not, as I had indicated, if you had zero familiarity with the subject matter and then have to make assumptions, then some of them are going to be wrong.

So just for the years I was looking at here are a couple of example discrepancies I saw:

Left is the GUD entry for 1958 and 1959 Ottawa Road Jerseys
Right closeup of late 50's Ottawa road jersey, shows definitively red, black, red stripes
the numbers have black outlines

The sorts of fine details you see if you have access to a repository of high-res images and can assess what year they were taken, are lost when all you have to go on are blurry low-res newspaper images and you have no frame of reference for any other visual record, because your knowledge of the league is zero.

Left is the GUD entry for the 1960 Grey Cup game Ottawa Jerseys
Right a screen grab from the game, clearly the sleeve numbers are black and
the jersey numbers have black outlines

Apparently checking the most commonly available online sources (youtube) for the proper colours wasn't part of the process either.  

I'm not trying to denigrate the massive amount of work that was put in by these people to put this together or nitpick one or two issues I discovered. Everybody makes mistakes, me certainly included. I am just stating my opinion, once again that CFL historical information should be compiled and vetted by those that are familiar with the league and have spent a long amount of time and effort to understand its history. That way there will be less errors and less inaccuracies. People will look at this reference and assume that every entry is correct, when that is not the case.

On the other hand perhaps if they had just added a few more resources that had no clue what the Montreal Alouettes were, maybe then it all would have worked out perfectly

Tuesday, 29 November 2022

Metal Championship Memories

When a team wins a championship the most permanent form of commemorating that fact for posterity is to have the details carved into a metal object. Metal objects last much longer than paper or wood, are much easier to work and form than stone, and if they are composed of precious metals they tend to be saved for their innate value as well. This month's post will examine a few of the ways that Canadian football championships have been immortalized in such charms, jewelry and keepsakes. 

A common engraved commemorative item was miniature trophies but these were covered in this earlier post, so they won't be illustrated again here.

At one time it was common to provide each  winning player of a championship team with a small commemorative item. Pictured above clockwise are a set of cufflinks for the 1921 Hamilton Tigers II Intermediate national champs. What I think is the 1922 Toronto Argonauts Senior IRFU championship (although I seem to have lost any corroborating image views) and the 1923 Loyola College Junior national champs of the QRFU. Often each piece would be engraved with a specific player's name on the reverse.

Eventually the team owners (or managing directors) loosened the purse strings and began presenting more substantial gifts to the team. Above are two engraved watches gifted to Argonaut Grey Cup winning players in 1946 and 1950. The distinctive ring was awarded to a specific IRFU champion Hamilton Tiger player from the 1923 season, the team subsequently lost the eastern final to the Intercollegiate and eventual Grey Cup champions the Queens Golden Gaels. 

Football players (and their fans) like to drink so another common gift was the engraved metal beer stein. Sometimes these were engraved commemorating the team in general and sometimes there were versions made for a specific player. Clockwise above are a stein sponsored by DOW breweries for the 1942 RCAF Hurricanes champions, a player specific stein for Pete Karpuk of the champion 1951 Ottawa Rough Riders sponsored by Brading breweries, and the same design with a raised relief engraved metal Grey Cup for the 1971 Stampeders and the 1966 Roughriders. 

These two beautiful and desirable pieces recently both came to market and both seem to have been issued in the early sixties by Vulcan. Vintage logo on one side and team or player accomplishments carved into the metal on the other. Makes you wonder if other examples were also issued for at least the 3 remaining western teams in the same time period.

Metal trays were a favorite target for commemorative engraving as well. Here again for the Stampeders 1971 victory (and apparently some Toronto Argonauts versions that were prepared ahead of time also survived) and then for the Argonauts actual victory in 1983 ending a 31 year cup drought.

Of course for the last 60 years or so the most common way to immortalize a championship is to craft ever more ornate rings of precious metals and precious gemstones. Recently, super collector Joe Gill sent me a stunning composite image he had compiled showing Grey Cup champion rings for just about every season from 1960 through 2021. Thanks to Joe, these images gave me the idea for this months blog post.

Technically speaking these rings are not engraved, they are sculpted with wax, used to make a mold and then copies are cast with molten metal. Then the gems are inset into the stock along with any decorative lacquer. 

1960, (1958,59,61,62 one ring), 1963 - 1990 Grey Cup Rings

The rings pictured here are a combination of Chinese replicas of varying qualities, salesmen samples/prototypes, anniversary rings issued many years after the fact and actual player rings.  

1991 - 2021 (no 2020) Grey Cup Rings

It would be useful to one day make an accurate list of which seasons had actual rings presented at the time of the championship victory (or typically the next season) and which were made in future years and which have been replicated. In some cases there are other rings besides these that exist as well.

Monday, 31 October 2022

The Golden Age of Player Product Endorsement

If you spend any time collecting and looking through older CFL ephemera, you will already know that in bygone eras, many players were actively involved in using their celebrity athlete status to help market various products. In a time where the salaries for these players were pedestrian at best, the extra income they sometimes were paid as spokesmen didn't hurt any either. This post will examine some of these interesting advertisements.

1934 Wrigleys Aromint Game Program
1937 Argonauts Game Program 

The "Starch Wars" were primarily fought in the Hockey memorabilia arena with St. Lawrence Starch (Bee Hive) by far the most successful and Crown Brand much less so. In the thirties the odd advertisement was also placed featuring football teams as well and of course Crown Brand would later sponsor the well known 1952 Western Union Football Pictures large format set. 

The Lionel Conacher ad is from the professional football team he founded and led for a couple of years in Toronto in the thirties, and while he is pictured in one of his standard punting poses, he strangely has his Chicago Black Hawks hockey jersey on. There were no known football pictures ever issued as Bee Hives although Joe Krol does appear on one as a hockey player.

1946 Argonaut Game Program
1957 Macleans Magazine

Of course most of the advertisements were related to products for men, such as this Royal Copeland cologne piece. Hard to say how common these sorts of ads were in the forties since it is hard to access programs from that decade.

Colour spokesman ad pieces from the fifties are very rare, although this Jackie Parker magazine ad is a colourized B&W image. Thanks to Miles Filbert for posting this ad recently which reminded me that I wanted to do a blog story like this. 


1962 Lions and Tiger-Cats Game Programs

One of the most common product categories was men's wear and these jay-berma style promotional pieces were run in many of the team's programs from at least as early as 1958 and through until the mid sixties in some cities.

Various 1960's player business Game Program advertisements

In those days the CFL was known for the ability of players to practice and play games outside of most normal business hours, which then allowed them to pursue other professional activities on their own time. Most programs contain ads where the players promoted their other jobs or their other owned businesses on the side. You can find ads such as these in programs going back to the thirties, if you can find the programs from the thirties that is.

Early to Mid Sixties Game Program and newspaper ads

Of course the bigger the star, the more likely they could cut their own deals with firms that valued associating their products with the athlete. Quarterbacks being generally considered the biggest stars, they are most likely to appear in this manner. Jackie Parker and Kenny Ploen were hawking outerwear and entrepreneur Joe Kapp shilled for French Maid bleach (along with his better known Squirrel Peanut Butter promotional work).

1963 & 1964 Game Programs

Nothing says sport and athletic achievement like cigarettes, and in the sixties Tobacco companies wanted to be sure that you knew that. So they would sponsor contests, like for the Alouettes above left and sponsor player profiles, like for the Rough Riders above right. The concept of highlighting a player of the week was very common and occurred across the league. Sometimes these were sponsored by local businesses and sometimes by national chains.  

1963 & 1965 Game Programs

These du Maurier tobacco sponsored advertisements ran for at least three years sometimes with slightly different formats from year to year. They may not have been available for each city though.

1966 & 1967 Game Programs

That old favorite product category men's wear was updated in the mid sixties where a handful of spokesmen repeated in ads in each subsequent program, there was not a different player every week. These had cartoon vignettes as well as sometimes the player's family involved as well. 

Late Sixties Game Programs (probably)

These Pro-Rated ads changed from season to season and occasionally they pop up on ebay clipped out of the publication they were printed in, such as these three examples. While they make for nice collectibles this way, I would hope nobody is cutting up vintage programs unless they were already somewhat damaged by people cutting out other portions for contests and so forth.

1968 & 1967 Game Programs

Yardley was another firm that committed to player specific CFL advertisements in many cities for quite a few seasons. Sometimes the sponsoring business went all out with multiple players staged in a location photo shoot to promote their services. Not sure exactly how the horses and the dry cleaning are related though.

1972 CFL Common Game Programs

By the time CFL Illustrated started publishing large format common game programs that were used in all of the league cities, colour had finally become commonplace for CFL print advertisements. The well known Mel Profit sponsorship campaign came with a detachable coupon book and is fairly easy to acquire. The 1971 Grey Cup rival quarterbacks teamed up to help sell shirts the following season. 

1972 CFL City Specific Game Programs

You could still find local player themed B&W advertisements in the insert portion of the CFL Illustrated magazine that was stapled in for each franchise.

1977 & 1979 CFL Common Game Programs

By the end of the decade CFL athletes were involved in the lucrative business of promoting athletic footwear as these Peter Dalla Riva and Terry Greer examples show. These sorts of direct specific usage of CFL players in nationwide advertising became less and less frequent into the next decade although undoubtedly some could still be found.

This facet of CFL history I find fairly interesting and perhaps one day listings can be compiled that show which players appeared in which advertisements during which seasons across which eras.

Wednesday, 28 September 2022

Forgotten Boatmen Treasures Salvaged - (Volume 2 Update)

One of the rarest of vintage team issues are the Toronto Argonauts Player Photographs issued by 7-UP in the late fifties. Collecting Canadian Football Volume 2 had catalogued just 2 items from 1958 and 19 from 1959 (although 5 of these were unconfirmed). Then in 2020 a couple of photos surfaced from the 1960 set. More recently a cache of these gems were discovered significantly increasing the known items across all three years.

The items are very similar to one another but can be differentiated as shown above:

1958 has a square cut edge with the 7-UP logo tilted to the right. The players are wearing white uniforms and generally have helmets on (some exceptions are known).

1959 has a deckle edge cut with the 7-UP logo tilted to the left. The players are wearing dark uniforms and no helmets.

1960 has a square cut edge with the 7-UP logo tilted to the left. The players are wearing dark uniforms or dark practice jerseys.

Nine previously uncatalogued photos were found for the 1958 set bringing the total now known to eleven. These images were taken from the Turofsky team media photos shot in either 1957 or 1958. As you can see here the exact same image was later used by Topps for their 1959 card issue.

Here is QB Gerry Doucette from the same year. The actual image eventually use by Topps a year later looks to have been from the same photo shoot but a different negative, as the outstretched arm placement is different. Note also that the Topps airbrushing crew dispensed with the stripes on the balls in both cases. 

It seems that possibly some of the items may be taller than others with more white space at top and bottom and it is possible that different batches were produced on slightly differently sized paper or they were hand cut causing variation. However I don't have access to proper flat scans of the items and it may also just be an optical illusion.

Three previously uncatalogued photos were added to the 1959 set bringing the total now known to twenty two (five remain unconfirmed). These images were taken from a series of 1959 media photos for which none have yet surfaced (but were probably also the work of Turofsky's Alexandra Studios although Lou Turofsky himself died in October 1959). 


Topps did not use any of these media photos for the Argonauts in their 1960 card set. While Topps tended to recycle the same prominent players from year to year, one of the best things about these types of team specific issues is the focus on all of the team's players including the very obscure ones who may have just stuck with the team long enough to make the photo shoot day.

Five previously uncatalogued photos were found for the 1960 set bringing the total now known to seven. These images were taken from a series of 1960 team media photos as you can see above for the Tobin Rote item. Once again Topps did not use these media photos for their 1961 card set preferring to recycle old Argonaut headshots endlessly. 


Pictured above is the Bobby Kuntz and a reproduction of his 1960 media photo in a 1961 program.

These items appear to have been issued one photo at a time each in their own envelope, as envelopes have been found with photos from 1958 and 1960. While 7-UP was a consistent sponsor in Toronto team programs for many seasons (from at least 1955 through to at least 1966 has been confirmed), there does not seem to be any specific promotional ads in programs or newspapers advertising the availability of these premiums (although I don't have access to a full set of 1958-1960 Argo home programs to fully confirm this). Why that would be is a mystery 

Roster size would have varied depending on the team won-lost results in these years roughly from about 25 though 35 players. Since more than 20 were issued in 1959 it seems pretty reasonable to suppose that 10 to 15 more so far unknown players were issued in 1958 and 1960 as well. In fact there might easily have been more seasons of these photos issued but they are just so rare that none have come to light yet.

As I have stated many times, one of the best things about collecting CFL memorabilia is the near constant rediscovery of fabulous vintage material that has laid hidden for decades, almost 65 years in this case.

Tuesday, 30 August 2022

Logo Lineages - Part 4

 This is the final installment of a review of a number of logo or graphics variations that can be found for the classic CFL franchises as well as for other leagues or levels of football in Canada,
part one with the preamble is here.

Sometimes an enterprising publication would go to the trouble of sketching out all new graphics that applied to each team that were not official logos in any sense but still make for interesting artifacts. The 1956 Northern Electric Canadian Football informational booklet is a prime example of this with these somewhat whimsical drawings. 

Montreal, Hamilton, Toronto, Ottawa
B.C., Calgary, Saskatchewan, Winnipeg

In 1959 Topps included CFL logos on their card fronts for the first time ever and it is apparent that they had their own graphics people draw these versions of each one. Some are very close to the actual logos they were replicating and some were less so.

Montreal, Hamilton, Toronto, Ottawa
B.C., Calgary, Saskatchewan, Winnipeg

As well as CFL team logos (that have been the focus of this series of blog posts) there are decades of various logos and team related graphics for teams from other leagues. Here we have logos from Ontario Rugby Football Unions game programs from 1947, 1938, 1947 and 1945 respectively. The Sarnia Imperials were sponsored by Imperial Oil so their three star insignia stems from the 3-Star marketing campaign. 

Toronto Indians, Sarnia Imperials, Hamilton Tigers, Ottawa Trojans

The Big-4 of the Intercollegiate Rugby Football Union also had their wordmarks, school crests, mascots or team graphics appear on their game programs. These illustrations date from the respective programs issued in 1928, 1937, 1946 and 1944.

Queen's Golden Gaels, University of Toronto Varsity Blues
McGill Redmen, Western Mustangs

Don't forget other unions that operated in Canada, here teams from the Western Canada Junior Rugby Football Union, the Intermediate Quebec Rugby Football Union, an Overseas Service team and an International matchup between college All-Stars had interesting graphics gracing the program covers. These date from 1949, 1932  ,1945 and 1979.

Saskatoon Hilltops, Ottawa Rangers, Canadian Army Occupation Force Orfuns, Can-Am Bowl

Finally there were teams that played American football but were based in Canada and these also had their specific logos. The first three from the Continental League (1966-1967 as far as the Canadian teams were concerned) and the last from the United League in 1964.   

Montreal Beavers, Toronto Rifles, Victoria Steelers, Quebec Rifles

So as you can see there is absolutely no shortage of  visual arts history with regards to football in Canada at multiple levels.