What is it with Toronto and having this “Im Canadian and proud of it? attitude but when it comes to embracing anything Canadian its suddenly “Gemini awards? Juno awards? small potatoes?, “Canadian cinema? yeah right, its all about Hollywood!? or “CFL? nah thats bush league, nfl yo?
im going to focus on the latter as that is where my primary beef comes from as both a CFL fan and a Toronto Argonauts fan.
Its quite a common attitude in Toronto to feel like all things from the US are the top tier of whatever it is. Instead of embracing something that is Made in Canada we simply brush it off with this idea that we need to be evaluated under the US’ microscopic lens, included in its cultural activities. Its not enough that we feel like we deserve to have an mlb, nba or nhl team(which reeks of entitlement), we aren't content with even having those. Toronto being an economic engine of North America has the means to create something great on its own, without the approval of the USA. Instead we seek to mimic US culture, our media goes into a frenzy with any mention of Toronto good or bad. We come off as a kid in a playground that is trying to get the attention of the “cool kids?. They dont want to include us in it, and rather than go off and find real friends, we keep trying for their acceptance.
Now we have some obnoxious billionaires headed by an obnoxious celebrity trying to buy a piece of US history and locate it in Toronto. The Bills are a piece of Buffalo’s history, and always will be. Its a bit of a twisted metaphor/analogy that we have people vying for the acceptance of the US’ billionaire club, not by creating something Canadian and original that everyone can embrace, but by buying something that already has roots somewhere else and plopping it in a place that just says “Gimme?.
This is made worse by the fact that its being done with absolute negligence to the history that already exists in Toronto.
The Toronto Argonauts Football Club was established in 1873. Under its belt are 16 Grey Cups, the most cherished trophy in Canada(i say this because the nhl is now a business run out of New York, so while forged in Canada, it is property of a US institution and it is no longer Canadian by extension). This team is only SIX years younger than our nation. Thats history, when you attend a match, you are living the history of all players and fans that have led to that very moment. You are taking part in a cultural tradition that has been around for 141 years. To say that you dont care or disregard the team is like figuratively saying you dont care about your roots or culture. This is not to say that anyone who likes the nfl is not Canadian, on the contrary a true football fan will appreciate all kinds of football, but to say that one is better than the other is pure plastic. Sport itself does not have a nationality, but the History of Football is indeed the History of Canada, we invented it, we nurtured it, it grew alongside our nation and both continue to change concurrently but uniquely. There is a reason why the oldest sports teams in North America are and would have been CFL clubs. Hamilton Tigers 1869. Toronto Argonauts 1873. Ottawa Rough Riders 1876-1996. To lose any is to lose a piece of our history and identity. Maybe its the Diehard in me, but i bleed Double Blue because i bleed Canada red, and i Love football. Last season i saw a group of immigrants become Canadian Citizens on the football field, thats a beautiful thing. I could easily sit here complaining about how Nafta is the new for of manifest destiny, and has slowly been eroding Canadian culture, but i much rather hope to inspire someone out of a love for "who we are" not "who we are not".
So to Toronto i say, get over it, you have your own history and thats what will help you create your identity. After all, This Is Our League, and Like the Argos say: