A Diehard's Rant/A call to Torontonians

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:
Pull Together

Well said.

(Although I don’t agree that Jon Bon Jovi is an obnoxious billionaire. And no, I’m not a big fan of his band’s music fyi.)

he isnt technically a billionaire, i dont know how i let that slip

Well you did call it a rant.
Sometimes when you get on a roll... :wink:

Totally agree with the whole "it's not good enough to be Canadian" attitude in Toronto.
I've given up fighting this attitude, primarily in sports.
I like football - CFL, NFL, NCAA, and recently CIS.
I don't care what people in Toronto think. I appreciate the CFL and what it offers. Even more so with some of the education about "our game" that I've gotten from this forum.

If the Argos fold, which is possible if a new owner and stadium aren't found soon, I'll continue to watch CFL, maybe become a Tiger-cats fan.
WHOA!! Did I really say that?
I'm gonna lie down until that thought goes away. :expressionless:

Toronto is not fixated so much on the USA - and lots of very Canadian things are very well supported in that city. The music scene - Canadian musicians very well supported there with bands like Tragically Hip selling out the ACC for years. Often European artists are hugely popular in Toronto and never break through to that extent in the USA. English language Canadian cinema gets more support there than any city in Canada. Canadian tennis players hugely supported at this week's Rogers Cup where there is not n American player in the Top Ten. Womens's soccer, Canadian Rugby and even a Canadian field lacrosse team drawing huge crowds to BMO Field. Toronto Rock very well supported.

In sports Toronto has 3 teams in North America's Big Four. So it is understandable that those leagues get discussed at length in the media and at the water cooler. The problem the CFL faces in Toronto that it does not face in any other Canadian city is that its football team is not the #1 or #2 spots team in its market. TV viewers wise likely # 3 behind the Leafs and Jays, but ticket buyers wise now arguably # 5 behind the Leafs, Jays, Raptors and TFC.

Part of it is that Toronto is one of the World's leading cities and because of that attracts some of the best of everything. Even though Canadians love to knock it - Toronto comes in the Top Ten in all kinds of international surveys measuring various factors. It attracts and supports all the top international music acts, Canadian, American and international. Its film festival is now ranked as one of the two or three most important in the world - and not just for Hollywood but for worldwide (including Canadian) cinema.

So when you are exposed - and support all the biggest and best arts, cinema, music, are the Canadian business and financial centre - have lots of people striving for the best of everything - where does the CFL fit into that? It is the best Canadian football - but why is that message not getting through to ticket buyers. TFC is not the best soccer in the world but they still sell tickets - and that is not because any TFC fans have strong feelings about the USA - our biggest rivals in the fans eyes are the other Canadian teams.

The Argos really do get lost with everything else that is happening in Toronto and I think part of it is due to very poor marketing. On one day in a typical summer day or night in Toronto you can have 30,000 at a Jays game, tens of thousands at one off events like the Indy or this weekend tennis at York, 20,000 at soccer at BMO, 15,000 at a concert at the ACC, 15,000 at a concert at the Molson Amphitheatre, 25,000 at a rave in Downsview Park, 200,000 at the Taste of the Danforth or other street festivals, tens of thousands at Beaches Jazz fest.

Many of the performers, or activities that draw huge numbers of Torontonians have nothing to do with anything American or the USA - and ALL very well supported.

But why the problem with the Argos? I honestly don't know the answer to that but as someone who until 2.5 years ago lived, worked and was very active in that city - attending literally over 100 games/events/concerts/exhibits/festivals every year for over 25 years - to blame a supposed fixation on the USA is completely barking up the wrong tree.

Quality rant. Buy tickets Torontonians!

torontonians would rather buy tickets to see rob fords drunken actions. :wink:

And there you have it - wannabe elitism. The CFL isn’t the “leading” grid-iron football league in the world and therefore couldn’t possibly be considered as part of “the best of everything”, which means it must be denigrated by the wannabes.

the teams you describe (Leafs, Jays, Raptors, TFC, Rock) are all part of a North American league which helps curry an international flavor and marketing cache with sports fans in larger Metropolitan regions such as Toronto.

All-Canadian leagues in hockey, basketball, baseball, and soccer would never garner the same type of interest/support in Toronto as an international league would.
The Argos are a historic football club and well known by the majority of GTA denizens, but place an NFL franchise in Toronto and you will likely see much greater attendance and interest than any received by the disregarded Argos.

and Canadian produced cinema pales in comparison to American produced cinema in Canada, even in Toronto.
There may be a niche market in larger cities that attend/watch independent Canadian films/programs although the vast majority flock to see American content and American stars. (or Canadian talent who become American stars)

yes, there are some indigenous musicians that do fairly well in Canada despite a lack of International success, yet those that do cross into the mainstream borders are received in an even much higher regard/recognition here at home. (e.g. Brian Adams, Michael Buble, Alanis Morrisette, Neil Young, Shania Twain, Avril Lavigne, Justin Bieber, Nickleback, Leonard Cohen etc etc)

Hypothetically speaking, if the Argos were purchased by the Toronto Group and absorbed into the NFL while retaining the name/history, local interest and sales for the club would skyrocket just for the fact that the Argos are now part of the biggest football league in the world.

American influence is measurably palpable in large Canadian Metros. Don't kid yourself TPB.
This is not to say that the CFL cannot survive in Toronto, but it makes it that much more difficult.
Even Hamilton is not fully immune to the allure of American culture.

The world looks to the US. Toronto is a very international city. Canada does not have strong integration policies when it comes to immigration. Canadians new and old describe themselves quite often based on ancestry. Toronto is very much a symbol of Canada's insecurity in the world. Why support our own, when we can just support what others have created elsewhere. If someone else recognizes it, then its ok. Support, or lack of for the CFL in Toronto would play to the cities inferiority complex when it comes to the US.
Oh well,That's my theory anyway

You guys must not hang with the Torontonians - the type that are my friends there. Most absolutely love their city, love some of the amazing things happening there, love how there is so much to do, love the new parks being built as part of the revitalized waterfront and docklands areas. It is a BOOMING city. And nobody I know who lives there ever talks about Americans or American cities with any sense of feeling inferior. Quite the contrary they take great pride in not being like (some) Americans and take great pleasure in showing off some of the great things about their city to ANYBODY who cares to visit - be that Americans, Europeans, other Canadians. And many are so proud they actually can be quite boastful about it!

And that is not meant as an offense to any Americans reading this. Maybe 25 year ago a lot of Torontonians looked at Americans or some American cities with a sense of jealousy or wannabe-ism - but these days - at least among most of my friends who live there - nothing could be further from the truth.

Born and raised in Toronto, although I live in Trenton now. Raised a Toronto sports fan and was a huge Maple Leafs and Blue Jays fan when I was still watching baseball and NHL hockey (neither of which I give any notice anymore). Lost interest in the NFL back in the early 90s when 3 1/2 hour + games and low scoring snoozefests took over the game, but never lost faith in the CFL. I won't cheer for the Argos until Barker leaves the team but that has nothing to do with not liking the team. I would not pay for a ticket to a game because of the venue. Skydump is the worst place to see a game and I have no interest in setting foot in that morgue. Skydump games look far more interesting and exciting on TV than they actually are at the venue.

When Barker is gone I'll be back on the bandwagon, but I still won't attend a game until they get a new home field.

But it isn't a dump, it's an engineering marval. Great in person or on tv.

Just curious -- care to elaborate on why you hate Barker?

Arblows shoud give away 20,000 tickets like the bills series did !! or change the name to the GTA Argos, make it a regional team :wink:

I believe the Toronto sports media holds a lot to blame for the Argos mess, but then again they haven't been managed well either by any recent owners. Unfortunately at this stage the fate of the Argos is most likely in MLSE's hands, they control the sporting culture in the GTA, it they decide its in, the media will go along with in. They Bills moving to Toronto is a dead issue, the team is almost certainly Pegula's now, and any addition party attempting to bid on them is just to say they were involved nothing more.
I live in delta B.C, i'm literally a 10 min drive to the Washington border, I spend many summer weekend in Washington state camping, and I run into Lions fans in Washington regularly, Lulay is a bit of a legend in the region because of his time at Montana State, its also a quick drive and affordable ticket to come a lions game. My point is there are real football fans and these individuals in Washington are an example, they enjoy many Sunday Seahawks games, but they also appreciate players that play in the CFL and follow them after their college careers, But it appears to me that many so called football fans in Toronto are fans of saying they are a fan, they like to wear a jersey, show up at the pub and maybe play some fantasy football but they are there for the social aspect of it, but when it come to actually paying for and watching the game they are apathetic at best which I why the Bills series was such a dud. IMHO

First, Cool I agree Skydump is an engineering marvel, but as far as it being a football venue it is the worst I've seen. Seat angle are lousy, fans are too far from the field creating a cavernous and empty experience. Argo game are for more exciting on TV than they are live at the dump.

pw13 it's not so much that I hate Barker, I don't like what he brings to the team. The fact that he has brought in Emery and Anderson, two players who at least as much damage as good through their undisciplined crap, is a negative and just reinforces for me the idea he is not a good long term solution. What put me off was when he brought in Mitchell last season. That racist cheap shot artist should be banned from football anywhere and I have no respect for anyone that would give him a job.

I swore last season I would not cheer for the Argos until Mitchell and Barker (for bringing the racist ass to the team) were gone. Halfway there.

One unique problem for the Argos that they face being in Toronto - other than being the only team in town not owned by a media conglomerate - which we all know doesn't help - and is a problem that no other football team in North America faces - are the popular well marketed Blue Jays.

In every other Canadian city June through September in most cities the only game in town is the CFL team in terms of a top level professional sports teams. So any kids wanting to see a game live are bugging their parents to go to the CFL game and there only is one about every two weeks to choose from. Same for teenagers and 20 somethings who want a sporting fun summer night outing with friends. For many CFL cities the only choice is the CFL game. For days before a game it is 'the' game everybody talks about as what they are looking forward to - with stories about it being the lead in newspapers or on local sportscasts for 2 or 3 days before the game

Sure in Vancouver and Montreal they have their MLS teams that draw 18,000 - 20,000 but even that is only one home game about every 10 days on average. In Toronto - they've got that with TFC but more significantly they've got the Blue Jays. And even moreso this year with them being in contention. I'm typing this on my Blackberry on the GO Train from Aldershot to Union Station on my way to the Jays game and it is PACKED with families and people on the way to the game. It has been standing room only on the train since Oakville.

With the Jays playing home games for 6 or 7 days in a row and everybody on their bandwagon - good luck not getting lost in the shuffle Argos. Last 7 game home stand in late July an average of over 36,000 - that's over 250,000 people. With yesterday's raucous crowd of almost 46,000 and today likely about the same size - that will mean an average of 38,000 per game for this six game home stand - almost 230,000 people. That's close to 480,000 tickets sold to sports fans that no other CFL team has as ticket buying competition over the last 3.5 weeks since the last Argos home game.

And even the NFL because their season doesn't start until pre-season games just now and regular season not until September - their NFL teams don't have a whack of their summer in direct competition with a cities MLB team. It is a problem unique to Toronto - so pretty obvious the only hope they have to carve out a ticket buying niche - for games through September at least is to be a part of one of the media conglomerates - otherwise they don't stand a chance.

Quick question. A friend just pointed out. (Argos season ticket holder). Anybody know if the Argos have a Plan B for where to play some games in October? They are scheduled for four consecutive weekend home games in October. (up against Leafs media saturation by then). But God forbid what do Argos do if the Jays make the post season and need the Rogers Centre for a bunch of post-season games?

Do you have season tickets there? I have, and I like it just fine. Angles are no problem for me, and I sit toward the Jumbo-Tron in the 200 level. Yes, when its down at the opposite end, it can be tough to see, but otherwise, no problems.