Toronto has BIG plans for 100th GreyCup

[url=http://www.thestar.com/sports/football/cfl/argos/article/1130758--cfl-grey-cup-week-zip-lines-concerts-tailgating-and-oh-yes-the-game#.TzqDDgkfT3g.facebook]http://www.thestar.com/sports/football/ ... g.facebook[/url]

Like the fans who went to Indianapolis for the Super Bowl, folks attending this year’s Grey Cup in Toronto will also get to soar above Nathan Phillips Square on a zip line.

In fact, this year’s Grey Cup festivities will feature more than 50 events, from team parties and galas to concerts, cultural events and a film festival — even Santa will make an appearance during the nine-day, 10-night event. It’s a celebration that newly appointed president and COO Lou Ragagnin hopes will recapture the excitement the Grey Cup used to bring to the city when people rode horses through the lobby of the Royal York Hotel and the Toronto Argonauts and the CFL, for that matter, were very big deals.

And oh yes, the Nov. 25 Grey Cup game, which is well on its way to being sold out, in some ways is almost incidental to the success of the party being planned.

“Certainly, it’s a celebration (of Canadian culture and sport) culminating in the game,? said Ragagnin, who served as COO of the Canadian Olympic Committee. “When we first looked at this, we started from the premise that getting the chance to host the 100th Grey Cup was a pretty special opportunity for Toronto. So we asked ourselves, what it would take for us to create that festival atmosphere of the days gone by?

“We knew we had to change things up. Grey Cup week festivities have traditionally been a three- or four-day event. We knew that we had to create that Olympic feeling in this city, so we extended the week to bring this city to life over two weekends.?

Ragagnin expects the planned events to be attended not only by die-hard football fans but also by people who aren’t even into sports.

“We want to engage people to say, ‘Hey, what’s going on in the city? Let’s go check out this great event,’ in the same way the people of Vancouver just poured out onto the streets of that city because the Olympics were on,? Ragagnin said. “A city can be brought alive by a great event. The Grey Cup is a great event.?

Ragagnin said people lined up for seven hours to ride the zip line at the Vancouver Games and he expects it to be a big hit in Toronto.

With such a mix of nationalities in the GTA, some festival events will cater to people who haven’t grown up with football, Ragagnin said.

“New Canadians may not necessarily have been exposed to football but those are the fans that we need to engage for the CFL and this marketplace to be successful,? he said.

The festival will be spread out into four different zones: the “Family Zone? at Yonge-Dundas Square; the “Adrenalin Zone? at Nathan Phillips Square; the street festival around the Rogers Centre; and the “Fan Zone? at the Metro Convention Centre.

Ragagnin hopes the festival will also involve Toronto’s Cavalcade of Lights event during the first weekend and the Santa Claus Parade as part of the kickoff weekend. Santa will actually have the Grey Cup trophy with him in his sleigh.

“We want people who are attending the parade to remain downtown and visit festival events,? Ragagnin said.

As part of the festivities, the CFL will commemorate various Grey Cup milestones such as the first game in 1909 at Rosedale Field and the infamous 1950 Mud Bowl at Varsity Stadium. Plans are also underway for an alumni game, perhaps a touch football match involving some of the legends of the game.

The Vanier Cup for Canadian college football supremacy kicks off the week on Friday, Nov. 16.

The public will get the chance to purchase tickets to the game in June. About 70 per cent of the initial 18,000 priority reservations from across the country when the event was announced came from the GTA, Ragagnin said.

“That was a validation to us just how special the 100th Grey Cup game is to Canadians and particularly the people of Toronto,? Ragagnin said. “It would be amazing if the Argos are in it but the reality is the team is in a rebuilding stage and for the club it’s not about one year, it’s about building the team for sustained success. The Argos haven’t won a Grey Cup in Toronto since 1952 — that’s 60 years.?

I have never once doubted this event will be a success. It goes without saying. I just hope that all this hoopla will translate into tangible growth for the league, specifically in Ontario.

Funny but when the Grey Cup was awarded to Toronto the usual doomsayers in that city were saying the game would have trouble selling out.
And that it would be a PR disaster for the CFL.

These guys said the exact same thing about the Mem Cup in Mississauga last year.
Basically that nobody would care.

But the Mem cup was a big success in Mississauga with sellout crowds.
And the Grey Cup is well on the way to a sellout.

Funny, but I haven't read a single article mentioning Grey Cup ticket numbers since from this bunch?
No surprise there eh?
If I'm Cohon I stick the ticket numbers right back into their faces.

I wouldnt't count the argos out of being able to make it to the game

I'd say the chances are better than even the Argos will be there. Given all the trades, I'd be awesome if the Argos and Esks both made it :lol:

I'dlike that actually I'd like to see Jyles succeed I did have some hope in him

question is, if it is a success, will it be because of the locals, or the visitors?

toronto bimbos and meat heads will come out to a party because its a party even if they don't know what the CFL is.
also there will be a lot of homeless people there looking for free food

that makes sense.

Just got back from Toronto a few minutes ago after going to see War Horse. Very cool show I will say and I'm no big theatre buff.

Wore my Ticats jersey and toque, got a few smirks, hey but that's ok.

And yes, beggers as in any large city to be honest, some free tasties will bring them out for sure even more.

rpaege, it will be more awesome of course if the TiCats make it. :wink:

It sure would Earl! I'm a Ti-Cat fan from way back! My g/f and her family would take me to games at IW and her brother actually worked for them! :rockin:

To be honest I'd also love to see ABTA* in the final.

  • Anybody But The Alouettes

UMMM... that is not true... the Toronto media may ignore the CFL but that doesn't mean that there are no Argo fans.
Toronto has had a horrible team for 4 years. I am going to the big game.

18,000 tickets sold from the GTA and that is BEFORE ARGO season ticket holders order their tickets?

I guess that you are getting GREY CUP tickets and putting your money where your mouth is?

I think that it will.
I know that things are looking much better in B.C.

I am going to try to get two tickets but I will have to wait till may
hopefully there will be a lot of tickets up still

Tickets to the general public are supposed to go on sale in June, so you shouldn't have a problem.

Good luck :thup:

An idea I had for the 100th Grey Cup while I was watching the Super Bowl a couple weeks ago: During the game how about having some celebrities (sports and non-sports celebs) giving a shout out to the CFL for the 100th Grey Cup. I just think it would add to the star power of the event. For instance a clip of Wayne Gretzky saying “Congrats for 100th Grey Cup - Oskee Wee Wee” or Jim Carrey saying “Go CFL” or Ryan Gosling saying something similar…you get my drift. As we can’t force advertisers to all come up with new commercials (although a few new ones would be good) adding just clips like this throughout the game may add a little extra something especially for those who don’t normally watch CFL football. Don’t get me wrong The Game itself is the main thing and I’m glad we’re not the over-hyped league to the south but I’m just hoping for a bigger show than normal.

Couple other things - I’m hoping the game is simulcast on TSN and CTV. Also I’m hoping it is shown on a network down south as well. Whatever network doesn’t have the NFL on should have the 100th Grey Cup. Even if they don’t pay for the game and the CFL and the Network split profits…whatever the scenario is I hope the game is on a big network in the USA.

Last thing - how about Riders/Ticats in the game? Now that would be the best of all.

Good idea about the celebrity cheerleaders Pete. I'm sure there are 1000s who would love to say a few words. They just need to be asked. Not Shatner though. That guy gets too much work :lol:

I have major doubts about a big-time tv deal for the Grey Cup in the states. At beast I think we'll get streaming, but hey, you never know. Cohon just extended his contract so he's got the time, the mandate, and a successful product, to really go after it. Lets keep our fingers crossed.

I wonder what rogers plans are

to hide.