June 17 - 'We The North Day' Raptors Championship Parade
Ratings reports determined that 44 per cent of Canadians watched at least some of the decisive Game 6 of the NBA Finals on Thursday when the Raptors defeated the Golden State Warriors. It’s the first time the Raptors have won it all and, with all due respect to the Toronto FC of the MLS, the biggest win in Canadian sports since the Blue Jays took the World Series in 1993.
Tens of thousands of jubilant fans started packing Nathan Phillips Square in the shadow of Toronto City Hall overnight and early this morning. It had been predicted that as many as two million people would take in the historic celebration of the Toronto Raptors’ first NBA championship. Overhead views of Toronto today show a sea of humanity jamming streets, off-ramps, balconies and rooftops. Construction workers were spotted packing several storeys of scaffolding.
For today's parade, sixteen players rode on five open-air double-decker buses, waving the Larry O’Brien Championship trophy in the air, smoking cigars and spraying the crowds with champagne.
Team president Masai Ujiri, the man credited with putting this winning team together, seemed overwhelmed by the exuberant crowds as he sat atop a convertible on the parade route alongside his family. “This is awesome. It’s unbelievable to see so many people,” he said, proudly wearing a Got ‘Em championship T-shirt.
Officials at Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment have said they hope 1.5 to 2 million people will be on hand for the parade. Toronto Mayor John Tory has declared Monday “We the North Day” in the city. But this team has been embraced across the country, evidenced by the huge Jurassic Park-style outdoor viewing parties held across Canada.
The massive crowds are showering love on the entire squad, but especially on NBA Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard, who becomes a free agent June 30. There has been tremendous speculation about whether Leonard will re-sign with Toronto.
Did you join the celebrations in Toronto today, or watch the live stream?
Source: CTV News