Story by Karen Kwan
TORONTO, ONTARIO — Football fever has hit Toronto — and you don’t need tickets to the game to enjoy the 100th Grey Cup festivities.
The hometown Toronto Argonauts will face the Calgary Stampeders on November 25 for the championship of the Canadian Football League and they’ll do it amid a party atmosphere. In fact, the Grey Cup Festival began last Thursday and included a float in the city’s annual Santa Claus Parade, which took place while the Argonauts were on their way to defeating the Montreal Alouettes in the Eastern Conference Final on Sunday.
The 10-day festival includes several zones centred around the downtown core: the Family Zone at Yonge-Dundas Square, the Adrenaline Zone at Nathan Phillips Square, the Street Festival Zone on Front Street near Rogers Centre, and the Fan Zone at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. While diehard CFL fans will want to get in on all of the excitement, with more than 50 events scheduled, that’d be harder than scoring a touchdown in the big game.
To help plan your itinerary, here are a few top picks from the fest:
Toronto Sun Zip Line: Get your heart pumping and earn bragging rights by taking a zip on the tallest urban zipline in North America. For $20, you get you a chance to shoot down from towers at City Hall to Queen Street on this 725-foot zipline.
Scotiabank Fan Zone, November 22 to 25: Bring the whole gang down to the Metro Toronto Convention Centre where there will be team parties, cheerleaders and tons of family activities. Plus, get autographs from everyone from Hall of Famers to current CFL stars.
48th Vanier Cup, November 23: Future CFL players battle it out in the championship game of Canadian Interuniversity Sport football division.
Telus Street Festival, November 23 to 25: Rock on! This free three-day music festival will feature a stellar lineup of musical talent, including Canadian rock band Our Lady Peace, pop-rock star Fefe Dobson and alternative-rock group Spirit of the West.
The 100th Grey Cup, November 25: From the first Grey Cup game played on Rosedale Field to the 100th, which will kick off at 6 pm at the Rogers Centre, Toronto has been a showcase site for the Canadian game. This year, the Argonauts will seek their record 16th Grey Cup title while the Stampeders, who beat the BC Lions on Sunday to advance, chase their seventh championship. The halftime entertainment will include Justin Bieber and Gordon Lightfoot.
Grey Cup Party: If you don’t have tickets to the game yet, the bad news is that they’re sold out. The good news? You may be able to score some ticket packages available through Toronto Tourism or Dash Tours. Failing that, get in on the party by attending the Nissan Official Pre-Game Party at 1 pm inside the Metro Toronto Convention Centre before catching the game on TV. Not only will there be tailgating fare, music icon Burton Cummings will perform and CFL football greats including Michael “Pinball” Clemons will be in attendance.
More Details: Find out more about the 100th Grey Cup Festival at the event’s website.