Henry Brydges Yates

2024 Honouree – Builder: Yates Cup (Football)

Sam KennedyThe son of Henry and Emily Yates of Brantford, ON, Dr. Henry Brydges Yates was born in Montreal, Que., on May 10, 1865. Yates was educated in England at Charterhouse and obtained a B.A. at Jesus College, Cambridge in 1888, then returned to Montreal where he earned a medical degree at McGill University in 1893. Yates served as captain of the football team at McGill. He was a lecturer in bacteriology and served on staff at McGill from 1898 until 1914. 

In 1914, he was elected president of the Quebec branch of the Canadian Red Cross Society.

During the war, he rose to the rank of Lieut.-Colonel, served as a doctor in the Canadian Army Medical Corps and was the second in command of the No. 3 Canadian General Hospital (McGill) in Boulogne, France.

While overseas, he organized football and baseball games for his unit making him very popular among the troops. After active service in France, Yates fell ill while suffering from bronchitis after a fierce storm on Nov. 13, 1915.  He was admitted to the very same hospital he administered but failed to improve during the next few days. He was evacuated to England where he died at Ramsgate (near Kent) on Jan. 22, 1916. His body was returned to Montreal, where it was buried in the family tomb at the Mount Royal Cemetery on Feb. 16, 1916.

The Yates Cup was first presented in 1898 by Dr. Henry Brydges Yates of McGill University, to the Toronto Varsity Blues, winners of the Canadian Intercollegiate Rugby Football Union. The Cup is the oldest continually played for football trophy in North America. It predates the Grey Cup by 11 years although it was suspended during both World Wars.