Toronto Celebrates Raptors Victory With Huge Parade
Toronto's downtown streets swelled with Raptors fans celebrating the team’s NBA championship with a parade and rally.
Elated fans watched the the Raptors make history on Thursday night after
defeating the Golden State Warriors in Game 6 of the NBA Finals -- the first Canadian team to attain this title.
The win also marked the first time a Toronto team has won a major international professional sports championship since the Blue Jays won the World Series in 1993.Today’s parade had started at 10 a.m. on the grounds of Exhibition Place and made its way down Lake Shore Boulevard before turning north onto York Street and University Avenue. The parade route ultimately headed east on Queen Street and will end in Nathan Phillips Square for a huge rally.
A parade-viewing party was also held at Coronation Park on Lake Shore Boulevard.
Five open air double decker buses are carried Raptors players and their family and friends. Raptors global ambassador Drake hade his own float.
Raptors superfan Nav Bhatia is the honourary parade marshal.
While riding down the parade route, Bhatia said the diverse crowd of fans represents “what Toronto is and what Canada is.”
“That is the beauty of basketball, bringing the world together," he said.
President of the team Masai Ujiri travelled along the parade route with his family in a convertible and Toronto Raptors head coach Nick Nurse was also in the parade with his family.
Along the crowded parade route, fans could be seen on top of trucks, buses, and police cars trying to get a better vantage point.
A spokesperson for Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment previously said that as many as two million people were expected to show up for the big event on Monday, which has been declared “We The North” day.
Sperfans has arrived at Nathan Phillips Square as early as Saturday night to get a spot for the rally and at noon on Monday, the city said that the square was at capacity and no one else would be allowed in.
Screens at Yonge-Dundas Square were now showing the parade and rally for fans to watch.
"If you are feeling too crowded around the route and at Nathan Phillips Square, please move to Y&D," police said in a tweet.
The city had noted that fans can watch the events on the big screen at Coronation Park.
Toronto city government advised members of the public to take public transit if they planed to come downtown this afternoon.