Nathan Phillips Square was filled with cheers and whoops on Tuesday as the Toronto Argonauts celebrated their hard-won Grey Cup victory.
“We want to thank you guys for every cheer, every high five, every positive thought you guys gave us along the way,” quarterback Ricky Ray said from the stage to around 1,000 cheering fans.
“Congratulations, we love you!” added Mayor John Tory, himself a former CFL commissioner. “All of Toronto is proud of our Toronto Argonauts.”
The Argos mounted an improbable comeback against the Calgary Stampeders in Sunday’s snowy title game to win the 105th Grey Cup Championship 27-24.
The Stampeders had dominated the regular season and led for nearly all of the final before Toronto moved ahead on a field goal with less than a minute on the clock.
Toronto held off a final Calgary drive to clinch the team’s CFL-best 17th Grey Cup.
Fans of the team hope that the title will help generate more interest in the Argos, who have at times been overshadowed in Toronto’s crowded professional sports landscape.
“Well, hopefully, more people will see them. You do have a kaleidoscope of teams in the city,” said Steve Smith, sporting a spiky, bright blue wig at Tuesday’s rally. “Sometimes it’s kind of hard to pick and choose your favourites.”
“It would be nice if we could see a little more enthusiasm in the city,” said Jennifer Emmerson.
Tory echoed those calls after leading the crowd through an “Argos” chant.
“We need all of you when you go and get back to your home or back to your office to [go to] Argonauts.ca and sign up for tickets next year,” he told the crowd.
The Double Blue will begin their title defence when the 61st CFL season kicks off in mid-June, 2018.