They jumped through hoops to bring Toronto, and, Canada home the NBA championship, and Monday morning the Raptors’ historic win will be celebrated with a giant victory parade and rally.
Upwards of one-million people are expected to line the parade route to view the Raptors and their family — along with the Larry O’Brien trophy of course — as they drive by in open-air double decker buses
The parade commences at the Princes’ Gates at 10 a.m. and proceeds along Lakeshore Blvd. and up York St. and University Ave. to Queen St., with a viewing prior to that at Coronation Park.
A victory rally will kick off at about 12:30 p.m. at Nathan Phillips Square and large screens set up around the square, on Bay St. and Queen St. to allow everyone and anyone to view the party.
Mayor John Tory has proclaimed June 17 We the North day, to celebrate not just the “momentous win” but the passionate Raptors fans who filled Jurassic Parks in Toronto and across the country.
“Toronto has proven that it is a basketball city and that the game thrives in The North,” the proclamation states.
“I want to thank the fans … who are extraordinary,” Tory said Friday, noting he’ll be wearing his lucky basketball blazer through Monday.
He joked that the blazer has been out in the rain many times and hasn’t disintegrated.
“I want to thank the players and coaches who brought an excitement to Toronto we haven’t seen for a long time,” he added.
Coun. Ana Bailao said Torontonians have waited for this for 24 years.
“Now all of us get to celebrate with the truly great Toronto Raptors team,” she said Sunday.
Everyone is being encouraged to wear Raptors clothing or #WetheNorth t-shirts to celebrate their hometown heroes.
Tory also said Friday he hopes all employers will allow employees to take a bit of time off to come to the parade because these kinds of things don’t happen often.
But a party of this size will come with major traffic headaches.
The public is encouraged to leave their cars at home and take transit, walk or bike on Monday.
A series of rolling road closures will impact on streets around Exhibition Place, as well as Lake Shore Boulevard West, York Street and University Avenue.
During the Nathan Phillips Square rally the following streets will be fully closed: Bay Street between Dundas and Richmond; Queen St. between Yonge and University, Chestnut and Elizabeth Sts.
TTC spokesman Hayley Waldman said they’ll have a large volume of extra staff situated downtown to help out customers and there will be more frequent subway service, as well as extra streetcars and buses on standby.
There will be some major streetcar diversions as well, including the 501 Queen; 504 King, 509 Harbourfront, 510 Spadina and 511 Bathurst routes.
Customers are asked to check www.ttc.ca for a map of diverted routes.