Review of BMO Field

For those of you that didn’t get there Thursday night…
The Argos put on a fantastic game experience.
A vibe could definately be felt in the air as soon as you stepped off the Go Train and made the 50 step trek to BMO Field.
We met our friends on the North Side of Lakeshore Road about a 5 min walk from the Go Train on the opposite side of the stadium for the Tailgate. The atmosphere, weather and tailgating in the shadows of the CN Tower made for an outstanding pre-game party - a lot of regulars, old die hards and young partiers were out in full force. Even Larry Tennenbaun stopped by among other sports celebraties and media. I almost feel like they are rubbing it in our face now that we don’t have anywhere to tailgate at THF as they did it up so well. Also had an area called the Ship Yard with a band for non-drivers which we didn’t get to. The only complaint we had was the 1 food truck had an hour wait for a burger. Did I mention the $4 cold cans of beer sold in tubs throughout parking lot had a bit of a line up at each one but that was worth it.
Moving to the game, The Stadium Atmosphere was outstanding and friendly as fans were greeted by the Argo Drum Core on the way in as a cool start with up tempo beats. Seeing all the red seats draped in blue t-shirts was noticeable as well from outside the stadium before the game. (note: as true Ticat Fan, I gave the blue and white shirt away immediately, my friends did not.)
We had good seats at mid field, site lines and people were friendly and quiet in this mainly Argo season seat holder area). Sitting on the East Side the sun was in our eyes for the beginning of the game. Seat room was not as good as THF nor are their cup holders. (scoreboard is small and weak)
However, their was very short line ups at all the concessions I saw and on the second level there was hardly any line ups (3 or 4 people long max, many just walk up with no line). Food variety was great including real Porchetta Sandwiches with Pig Head and all on display! I had an over cooked dry hot dog ( Actually ordered 4 and they didn’t have 4 so gave me 2 footlongs at no extra charge so my friends were happy.
Also fantastic views and photo ops of the CN Tower on the East Side concourse and NO CROWDING WHATSOEVER ON THE CONCOURSE. Very easy to get around, get beer, get food and go to washroom.

It was great to be back at the CNE! What a fantastic night…I hate to say it but the Argos did it right off the field and we did it right on the Field! Look forward to going back in September if not sooner to attend a game there. Actually puts my view of THF in a little different perspective now.

Looked good on TV. Much better than that huge ghost town like arena they had been playing in. Definitely not an Argo fan but I am an attendance fan across the board. Attendance is good for the league. Hopefully a more intimate setting like BMO will bring more fans to the games.

I'm curious, How did the turf hold up.
On TV, it looked clean and smooth.
I actually like the no ads on the field.

The field was pristine looked fantastic, I used my binoculars to zoom right down to grass level and couldn't see a mark. The north end zone had a different shade of green because of the artificial grass.
No ads on the field and if you sit on the East side you can't see them electronic boards that are used for soccer games.
I have to agree with everything the OP said, we went to the "shipyard" and the food was really good in there and no wait for burgers, foot longs etc and the $4 cans of beers.

The field was in great shape. My young guy performed in the school marching band before the game and I had to ask him if it is real grass or not. Apparently half of the endzone is artificial.
Also real grass seemed to cut down on any injuries. I can't remember a stop in play other than the head injury in the 4th quarter. And Fantuz and Gable both made it out unscathed :slight_smile:

Good review. I'll add a few more thoughts. I didn't join the tailgate, so mine is an "inside the stadium" review.

The Good

  1. Great atmosphere. You can actually feel like everyone is part of a group, unlike SkyDome which always felt like a series of disconnected boxes.

  2. The stadium crew kept things lively (music in between plays, excited announcers, etc) without being distracting or too loud.

  3. Good food selection, as the OP said. (Seemed a little expensive though.)

  4. I'm not sure if anyone has mentioned this. There was a cheerleader routine in the second half, and partway through a bunch of Argo players joined in on the dance routine - and they had pretty good moves! Turned out they weren't actually football players but rather dancers in full gear. But us fans didn't know that until they left the field instead of rejoining the team on the sidelines.

  5. It was nice that all the Ticat fans instinctively knew how to sit together even though it was the first time at that stadium. In section 121 you could see a few clusters of various players' families, identifiable by the fact that they'd all be wearing the same jerseys.

  6. In the last few minutes it was funny that almost all of the Argo fans had left. (The vast majority during the big injury time-out, in a great show of respect for their fallen player.) It was essentially a home game at that point.

  7. I actually enjoyed the "streakers" (lame as they were for keeping their pants on). The Argos sure tore a strip off of the second one though.

  1. The display of Argo T-shirts placed on every seat in the stadium was a great idea, and looked really good at the start of the game, other than being the wrong colour. Everyone left with a souvenir - or car wash rag, depending on your loyalties.
  1. I'm glad Pinball, Rocket-man, Allen and Theismann got to see a reminder that the Ticats rule.

Needs Improving

  1. I see they've continued on with the SkyDome policy of not showing replays when the visiting team does something good. You know that we pay for tickets too, right? Do you really think that even the home-team fans would not want to see a replay of something like that Fantuz TD? (I still can't find it in any of the online recaps, BTW, as though it's a routine play that happens all the time.)

  2. Scoreboard staff could never seem to get the down/yards-to-go info right. They'll probably get better with time.

  3. Never saw such a long line-up for a men's washroom. Took up most of the halftime for me. I'm sure I won't get sympathy from the ladies.

  4. Stubby end zones seemed a little weird. Funny thing is, I think it will disadvantage Rickie as much as anyone, since he's pretty good at those end zone fade throws.

  5. $25 parking! Not sure if it would be any cheaper on a night when Hall & Oates are not playing across the street.

  6. Could have sworn they were pumping a drum beat through the stadium speakers at one point as Jeremiah was calling signals. Surely we can return the favour for Rickie on Labour Day.

  7. I got to the game earlier than I normally would, and the pre-game portion of the night sure felt stretched out when they randomly decided to delay the start time by a half hour so we could see a marching band.

It was my first trip to BMO the other night and I have to say that my son (2ez) his two friends and myself had an absolute blast all night long from start to finish. I was very impressed with the stadium and in many ways even liked it better than THF . The closeness of the field and sight-lines reminded me very much of IWS and the atmosphere was off the charts.

The concourses were big and gave way to plenty of walking and standing room unlike THF where I find them incredibly congested and hard to manoeuvre in at the best of times.The canopies over the grandstands is also a plus that I wish we had at THF. The food selection and variety while expensive was also better than here.
Where we sat (section 210) there was a good mix of both teams fans and everybody got along all night long and even the Toronto fans seemed to be having a good time despite the score and their teams lacklustre play and us Cat fans being as rowdy and as boisterous as possible around them :smiley:

There were a few things though that weren't as good as THF such as the cheap non folding plastic seats and the aisles having far less leg room and no cup holders to speak of. The jumbo tron and scoreboard also isn't near as big as THF and was totally one sided for the home team when showing replays. I can't tell you about the tail gate or the shipyard as we unfortunately failed to make either before the game. All in all though it was a great trip down and back and a great experience at BMO. I would personally highly recommend to one and all CFL fans to try to make it down there this season for a game or two , you'll have a blast I guarantee you. :rockin:

Thanks for all of the reviews. I might go to the September game, but am worried I am a bad luck charm for the Cats. :oops:

This goes back to a late sixties game I went to at the CNE where the blew team were the victors.

And then there was the nightmare 1980 Grey Cup game at the same facility. I admit I was many sheets to the wind (have you ever had beer for breakfast?), and because of the beatdown I could not stop the F bombs that flowed religiously (hey it was a Sunday) from my lips. I kept apologizing to the Hamilton father of the young son in front of me for my behaviour but was unable to control my tongue.

The final straw was the September game (last year or two years ago?) where we should have won but blew it with mistakes like Plesius' fingertips encroaching within the neutral zone and Barker barking at the linesman to throw the flag.

So having said all of the above, I will consider going to the September game, with the thought that it is the Ticats year and it is time to break my jinx on the team.

:cowboy:

The seats aren't as good, I assume they wanted to cut down the price when they put them in, but a lot better than a bench.
The jumbo tron is not as good as THF or TD Place, very few replays and they don't show replays of the visiting teams plays.
The "Shipyard" was a fun place and the food in there was good and cheap. I liked the Strumbellas but the rest of it was not very good.
With a train station at the entrance plus a huge parking area, it's an ideal location.

enjoyed it there,,, great place to watch a football game,,,and memorable cuz we won too

Agreed with what everyone's said. I was so thrilled with the lack of lines for beer and food in the stadium, even at half time! THF has been dreadful in that regard.

Love the new overhangs. I've gone to BMO for many events in the past, but this expansion turned it from a kinda-shit stadium to a fairly respectable one.

I was in the upper deck and had great sight lines. The section we were in was about half Ticats fans (and the Ticat cheerleaders were up there watching the game as well). I had some good times chirping at the argos fans in front of us, and they chirped right back :slight_smile:

Great game day experience, I love that I can just hop a train and be there as well.

BMO looks a lot better than Rogers Place, agreed much better sight-lines, food and beverage concessions a little cramped in the end zones, kind of like Arena football on steroids CFL style. All in all way better than their previous home with the Jays.

GO CATS GO!!!

My Experience

The Good

Sightlines - I've been to Canada National Soccer games and TFC games before, and I'm glad there continues to not be a bad seat in the house. Not as good as THF mind you, but still solid.

Taco FC - Seriously for $12 buck I got an epic pulled pork nacho box complete with chili, salsa, con queso, sour cream and Guacamole. The Ti-Cats need to duplicate that stand at THF to the letter, instead of the food haven being restricted to the club level.

Beer Lines - They were pretty much non-exsistent during the game and before the game. I don't know if I can say the same about halftime as I didn't go.

Atmosphere - Far better then the dome, it felt like the Argos actually had a fan presence finally then it being lost in the vastness of the morgue. I was also somewhat surprised that the noise from Hamilton for once didn't seem to match it. That said, once the league was substantial, the tide turned.

Concourse - Not once did it feel overwhelmingly crammed, we've had more then a few Ti-Cat games where our concourse was just too tight.

Branding - I thought the team did an excellent job at making the stadium feel like the Argos play there. Very good job at concealling a lot of the TFC Red. That said, some permanent flags and presence would be ideal.

Seating - Seating and movement at BMO is excellent. Not as good as THF, but better then TD Place in my eyes.

The Bad

Gameday Staff - They really needed to get it together, there were a lot of odd slips of the tounge during contests and a lot of lacklustre attempts to involve the crowd.

Concourse Screens - I didn't see a single screen on the concourse. Maybe I missed them, but this is a fairly common component in modern stadiums and you would think with Bell owning the team, there would be more television presence.

Merchandise - The Argos merchandise huts were surprisingly low. I was looking for an opening game lapel pin, and not one to be found. Really apart from shirts and a few nick nacks, I didn't see a lot of selection.

The Meh

Security - While it was far better then the nth degree security gives everyone at the dome, it was a bit too lax here. I'll give some leeway to the first streaker on the field, just because you are breaking in the place, but the second one, at least a token effort to chase him down would be been good to see. Also, bizzarely enough some fights happened for far too long in the stands. Once things get physical security should be getting involved. That said, I was more pleased at the wait and see attitude of security then what goes on at the Dome. Might take some time for them to find the happy medium.

Big Screen - Of course the screen didn't beat THF, no outdoor screen in Canada can, as it is the largest in the country, or the Dome's. That said, I prefered it far more to the small, glitchy screen at TD Place. Need to get a bit better with the downs though.

The Turf - It sucks the endzones are smaller and clearly transistion into turf, but for the most part I thought the field held up exceptionally well and the endzones didn't seem to stop some solid plays from being made.

Really hope the Argos can make a real go at making a comeback in Toronto.

I already whined about the replay policy above, and I'll add one more point.

On the replay challenge, for whatever reason they switched to a format where you could see the replay on part of the screen and the officials (standing there doing nothing as they waited for their colleagues at the league office to return a verdict) on another part. Meaning the only part we actually care about is much smaller than it could be, on a scoreboard that's already a little small.

This is part of the reason you need lots of security staff on hand. The resources tied up dealing with the first streaker make life easier for the second.

BMO field is about a hundred times better than the Skydump was for football.

Our seats were high on the east-side near the 20 yd line, a bit too far from the field for my liking. THF is better than BMO from that aspect because the high seats on the west side are much closer to the field. I'll try lower down next time I go to BMO field, but I did hear some complaints from people sitting lower on the east-side about not being able to see the game because of the setting sun. I think I'll try the west side next time.

We got there late because one of the Go trains was cancelled, but we didn't miss any of the game because it started late. I love the location, right across from the Go station. There is no reason to drive and pay the extortionate rates for parking.

Seats in the upper east side are small plastic seats with backs about 12 inch high. Better than benches but nowhere close to the comfort and space of THF.

The BMO TV screen is small, and there were few replays, and no replays at all of plays that favoured the Cats.

Security was a bit lax. Someone set off firecrackers near us, and the security guys took about 20 minutes to respond, didn't find the guy responsible, just yelled at everyone in the area while blocking my view of the game, and then left.

I got a sense of a much better atmosphere than the Skydump and I think the Arblows will have a much easier job selling tickets at BMO field. This move will be good for the CFL in general and the Arblows in particular. (I don't care how many tickets they sell, as long as the Arblows keep losing. It would be good if they can become football's version of the Maple Loafs, full stadium, perpetual losers).

I agree the replay challenge set up was pathetic. As has been said, no good plays made by the Cats were shown on the screen.

But I found it funny when Lawrence intercepted for the TD, instead of showing a replay, they put on the video board Toronto marketing sloagan for this year, “THIS IS ARGOS FOOTBALL”. Very amusing after they were intercepted for a TD.

As a side note, and this would fit into

The Ugly

Argonaut's Mascot - My god, I mean Jason was lame to begin with, and while I do dig the new helment, why on earth would you make his skin blue? Is he dying of hypothermia?

He was holding his breath waiting for a win...

TFC must be thrilled.
After one week, the Argos not only didn't tear up the grass, but they even fertilized it last week!
:stuck_out_tongue: