HISTORY OF UNIVERSITY BASEBALL IN EASTERN CANADA
The existence of University Baseball in Canada can be traced to the late 19th century when the University of Toronto Varsity Blues Baseball Team were founded in 1885. The McGill University Redmen also began fielding a team in 1895, but by the start of WWI university baseball became dormant in Canada. Baseball has been played at Acadia as early as 1878, with with Baseball at Acadia being a varsity sport until the 1950's.
With the likely exception of competition between independent university teams during the middle of the century, its wasn't until the mid-nineties that organized, modern-day collegiate baseball came into existence in Canada.
The Canadian Intercollegiate Baseball Association (CIBA) held its first National Championship in 1994 when the McGill University Redmen defeated the Brock Badgers in Montréal Quebec. The league's first honorary commissioner was none other than Bill (the Spaceman) Lee. Expansion of the CIBA took place in 1995, with four maritime Universities joining, and both Acadia and Dalhousie qualifying for their first National Championships. 1996 proved to be the year for Dalhousie University, taking the CIBA Championship Title back to the Maritimes.
From the outset, the CIBA operated outside the existing Canadian University Athletics system starting with four teams in 1994, the CIBA reached 30 teams at its peak, before declining to 14 in 2014. In the early stages of Canadian post-secondary baseball it was necessary for the league to accommodate both two-year Canadian colleges as well as four-year universities in order to form viable conferences to minimize travel costs.
Despite attempts, the CIBA was never able to become part of the existing Canadian University Athletics system, in part, because its membership also included two-year colleges and new campus baseball clubs were hard-pressed to wrestle more funding out of existing university athletics programs. After several years of contentious leadership including strained relations with Baseball Canada, the league folded in 2013, and then reformed under a new legal entity - the Canadian Collegiate Baseball Association (CCBA).
After CIBA's dissolution, southern and western Ontario university teams broke away and applied for membership to Ontario University Athletics (OUA) and became the first baseball conference to be recognized by a member athletics group of today's U Sports, Canada's governing body for university athletics. Two-year college teams in the province of Quebec (within the CEGEP system) and the province of Ontario also broke off and joined their own respective two-year college athletics associations (the OCAA and RSEQ-Collégial respectively).
2014 marked the inaugural year for the CCBA, which encompasses 10 University Baseball Teams from Central to Atlantic Canada. The league was divided into Northern and Atlantic Divisions, and met for a national championshp between ther winners of the two conferences. Issues of expansion to western Canada (e.g. CCBC), reintegration with OUA teams, and realignment of existing teams within the RSEQ (Universitaire). Dissolution of the league was accomplished in 2018, with CCBA members in Central Canada joining the OUA.
In 2019, the Atlantic Collegiate Baseball Association (ACBA) was formed to provide an opportunity for the remaining Atlantic Univerisity teams. Hopes of reunification of are still part of the end goal, but the development and growth of the ACBA in coming years will determine that outcome. At this time, the Canadian University National Invitational Baseball Tournament provides an opportunity for University Baseball Clubs across various memberships to compete at a National Tournament.