The Toronto Argonauts were greeted warmly on a cold Tuesday morning by over 50,000 fans, friends, and family members who attended the Grey Cup victory parade. The parade was the culmination of their Grey Cup weekend, which saw the Argos beat the Calgary Stampeders 35–22 in the 100th instalment of the CFL’s championship game.
Tuesday’s parade was raucous as fans waited along Bay Street to see the players, coaches, cheerleaders, and members of the team’s front office and training staff salute the city. The Argos—who practise on UTM’s South Field—won the CFL Championship game last Sunday, with the ultimate home-crowd advantage in front of the sold-out Rogers Centre.
Argos and coaches made appearances on the backs of 28 Nissan Titan trucks and a Nissan 370Z convertible. The parade came together at Nathan Philips Square, where a party atmosphere prevailed as DJ 4Korners played a medley of party hits to keep the crowd entertained and moving. MC Mark “Strizzy” Strong of G987 Radio bantered with the crowd beside Argos TV analyst Don Landry.
They players exuded as much fun and excitement while they were being introduced on stage as they had during Sunday’s contest. They laid their towels at the feet of many of the team’s stars when they were called up, including receiver/returner Chad “The Flyin’ Hawaiian” Owens, the 2012 CFL Most Outstanding Player, who came out before a roaring crowd dancing with his son Chad Junior.
“It’s still so surreal. I’m still kind of speechless about it,” said Owens. “I know that we won, but it still hasn’t sunken in deep in there yet. I’m still on a high. I’m still on a cloud. I’m still floating.”
“Man, it’s crazy. It’s starting to sink a little bit,” said slotback Andre Durie, a Mississauga native who scored the team’s last touchdown. “When we started coming down the street and seeing all the support with the fans cheering us in—it’s just remarkable.”
Durie’s season had its ups and downs; he dealt with a series of nagging injuries that kept him out of a few games, but winning a championship for his hometown with his home team meant the world to him.
“I thank everybody that’s helped me get to this position and to be here. It’s taken a lot of work and dedication. That’s the main thing that we learned: how to dedicate ourselves, stick to it, and get it all done,” he said. “Faith works in mysterious ways.”
Mayor Rob Ford, sporting a number-one Argo jersey under his coat, formally declared November 27 “Toronto Argonauts Day” and hoisted the Grey Cup trophy with the team on stage.
Defensive lineman Ricky Foley took the opportunity while being interviewed to begin a chant of “Repeat, repeat!”, on which the crowd quickly joined in. Argo fans and UTM students will have to wait until 2013 to see if Foley’s hopes come to fruition, but in the meantime fans in the city have a reason to parade for one of the city’s sports teams.