A Sports Lover’s Guide to Toronto

Sports fans can hail the arrival of autumn in Toronto with the convergence of football, baseball, basketball and soccer in one city.

Illustration par Muti.

The Majors

The Score

Traditionally a hockey town, Toronto is home to the only NBA team in Canada. This year, the Toronto Raptors won the NBA Finals for the first time in franchise history. With the team’s resident cheerleader, Drake, and thousands of fans wearing “We the North” shirts, the Raptors epitomized Game of Thrones’ Stark family rising up against the Golden Company of the south—the Golden State Warriors.

BMO Field, photograph by Nicolas McComber/iStock.

The Raptors share Scotiabank Arena with the Maple Leafs, who are part of Toronto’s DNA (a visit to the Hockey Hall of Fame is a must). The team was established in 1917, and standing in a blue jersey singing O Canada before the puck drop has been a rite of passage for generations. A short walk from Scotiabank, the Rogers Centre, where the Blue Jays play, was the first stadium built with a fully retractable roof when it opened as the SkyDome in 1989. Almost half of Torontonians are foreign-born, and many bring their love of soccer to BMO Field to cheer on Toronto FC. A red team scarf is a must-buy, either to wave above your head or ward off the wind, and, if your seat is in the south stands, expect to chant and sing throughout the entire match. Guests staying at Hotel X Toronto can simply walk over to the stadium after a cocktail at the Pétros 82 Lobby Bar.

Where Fans Gather

Illustration by Muti.

Real Sports Bar & Grill

Reopening this fall after renovations, Real Sports Bar & Grill is the place to catch all the action on the 39-foot big screen or 199 HD TVs.

The Loose Moose

The Loose Moose on Front Street is a beloved, low-key spot to share a growler or pitcher of beer after a Raptors, Blue Jays or Leafs game.

Scotiabank Arena

The NBA Finals elevated the area outside Scotiabank Arena, Jurassic Park, to legendary status as images of huge crowds at open-air viewing parties went viral around the world.

Liberty Village

FC followers often gather pre-match at Liberty Village, across the train tracks from BMO Field. Just follow the chants to Shoeless Joe’s on King Street West.

[This story appears in the September 2019 edition of WestJet Magazine.]