The Lou Marsh Trophy, also known as the Lou Marsh Memorial Trophy and the Lou Marsh Award, is a trophy given to Canada’s best athlete, whether professional or amateur, every year. A panel of journalists selects the winner, with the vote that takes place in December. For the first time, the award was given in 1936. It is named after Lou Marsh, a well-known Canadian athlete, referee, and former Toronto Star sports writer.

Marsh passed away in 1936, and the trophy was named after him. The trophy is made of black marble and is around 75 centimetres tall. Above the engraved names of the victors are the words “With Pick and Shovel.”

Canada’s Top Athletes

Here on our site, we collected the names of the outstanding athletes that have ever been awarded the trophy. Each link represents the athlete’s accomplishments in the year they received the Lou Marsh Memorial Award. Photos, artifacts, and selected videos are displayed in galleries to help you learn more about each athlete.

A compilation of stories from the Toronto Star newspaper provides historical context. Take a note of the various journalistic approaches that have emerged over time.

Look for the announcement of the Toronto Star winner in each exhibit. The article includes the names of a large number of additional athletes who were considered that year. They highlight the breadth of extraordinary talent that has existed throughout Canadian history, as well as the difficult task that the selection committee faces each year in making its decision.

The 1930’s

1936 Edwards, Phil

Track & Field

1937 Cleland, W. Marshal

Equestrian

1938 Pearce, Bob

Rowing

1939 Pirie, Bob

Swimming

The 1940’s

1940 Cote, Gerard

Marathon Running

1941 Dubois, Theo

Swimming

1945 Scott, Barbara Ann

Figure Skating

1946 Krol, Joe

Football

1947 Scott, Barbara Ann

Figure Skating

1948 Scott, Barbara Ann

Figure Skating

1949 Lumsdon, Cliff

Marathon Swimming

The 1950’s

1950 McFarlane, Bob

Football, Track & Field

1951 Streit, Marlene Stewart

Golf

1952 Genereux, George

Trap Shooting

1953 Hepburn, Doug

Weightlifting

1954 Bell, Marilyn

Swimming

1955 Whittall, Beth

Swimming

1956 Streit, Marlene Stewart

Golf

1957 Richard, Maurice

Hockey

1958 Wheeler, Lucile

Downhill Skiing

1959 Wagner, Barbara

Figure Skating

1959 Paul, Robert

Figure Skating

The 1960’s

1960 Heggtveit, Anne

Downhill Skiing

1961 Kidd, Bruce

Track & Field

1962 Jackson, Don

Figure Skating

1963 Crothers, Bill

Track & Field

1964 Hungerford, George

Rowing

1964 Jackson, Roger

Rowing

1965 Burka, Petra

Figure Skating

1966 Tanner, Elaine

Swimming

1967 Greene, Nancy

Downhill Skiing

1968 Greene, Nancy

Downhill Skiing

1969 Jackson, Russ

Football

The 1970’s

1970 Orr, Bobby

Hockey

1971 Filion, Herve

Harness Racing

1972 Esposito, Phil

Hockey

1973 Hawley, Sandy

Harness Racing

1974 Jenkins, Ferguson

Baseball

1975 Clarke, Bobby

Hockey

1976 Hawley, Sandy

Harness Racing

1977 Lafleur, Guy

Hockey

1978 Smith, Graham

Swimming

1978 Read, Ken

Downhill Skiing

1979 Post, Sandra

Golf

The 1980’s

1980 Fox, Terry

Marathon of Hope

1981 Nattrass, Susan

Shooting

1982 Gretzky, Wayne

Hockey

1983 Hansen, Rick

Wheelchair Athlete

1983 Gretzky, Wayne

Hockey

1984 Boucher, Gaetan

Speed-Skating

1985 Gretzky, Wayne

Hockey

1986 Johnson, Ben

Track & Field

1987 Johnson, Ben

Track & Field

1988 Waldo, Carolyn

Synchronized Swimming

1989 Gretzky, Wayne

Hockey

The 1990’s

1990 Browning, Kurt

Figure Skating

1991 Laumann, Silken

Rowing

1992 Tewksbury, Mark

Swimming

1993 Lemieux, Mario

Hockey

1994 Bedard, Myriam

Biathlon

1995 Villeneuve, Jacques

Auto Racing

1996 Bailey, Donovan

Track & Field

1997 Villeneuve, Jacques

Auto Racing

1998 Walker, Larry

Baseball

1999 Brunet, Caroline

Kayaking

The 2000’s

2000 Igali, Daniel

Wrestling

2001 Pelletier, David

Figure Skating

2001 Sale, Jamie

Figure Skating

2002 Le May Doan, Catriona

Speed-Skating

2003 Weir, Mike

Golf

2004 van Koeverden, Adam

Kayaking

2005 Nash, Steve

Basketball

2006 Klassen, Cindy

Speed-Skating

2007 Crosby, Sidney

Hockey

2008 Petitclerc, Chantal

Wheelchair Athlete

2009 Sidney Crosby

Ice hockey

The 2010’s

2010 Votto, Joey

Baseball       

2011 Chan, Patrick   

Figure skating

2012 Sinclair, Christine

Soccer

2013 Cornish, Jon    

Canadian football

2014 Humphries, Kaillie

Bobsleigh

2015 Price, Carey

Ice hockey

2016 Oleksiak, Penny

Swimming

2017 Votto, Joey     

Baseball

2018 Kingsbury, Mikaël

Freestyle skiing        

2019 Andreescu, Bianca      

Tennis

The 2020’s

2020 Davies, Alphonso

Soccer

2020 Duvernay-Tardif, Laurent

American football

2021 Warner, Damian

Track and field