Is Toronto Canada’s Ultimate Sports City?By Alexander Huls
Hockey may be a big deal in Canada, but take a look at Toronto and you’ll see that the city’s and nation’s sports fandom extends far beyond the ice rink — and runs strong all year long.
Toronto has become one of the best sports cities in the world — and one of the most accessible, too, thanks to all its stadiums being clustered at the base of the downtown core.
Here’s a sport-by-sport look at the city’s pro scene: where and when you can watch, what colors to wear, and what to do near the stadium before or after the games.
Thanks to the Toronto Raptors winning the 2019 NBA Championship, hockey-crazy Toronto is now very much a basketball town. Because the team shares Scotiabank Arena with the Toronto Maple Leafs from October to April, many of the spots mentioned already apply.
But if you’re willing to go a little further afield, head toward the St. Lawrence Market, ranked one of the best market complexes in the world. Inside you can find plenty of quick eats, like Carousel Bakery’s “World Famous Peameal Bacon Sandwich.”
For the game itself, if you couldn’t get tickets or don’t want to watch the game in Scotiabank Arena, head to Maple Leaf Square (also known as “Jurassic Park”), right outside the stadium, where fans gather to watch the game on a giant screen.
Afterward, walk to nearby Real Sports Bar and Grill, now referred to as RS, which is often ranked as one of the best sports bars in North America.
Rogers Centre, famous for its retractable dome, is the home of the Toronto Blue Jays from March through October. Nearby, there are plenty of out-of-towner points of interest. You can tour the Steam Whistle Brewery, visit Ripley’s Aquarium, or head up to the CN Tower.
Come game time, put on the team’s blue and white colors, and either head to the stadium or watch the action from special suites in the Toronto Marriott City Centre Hotel that overlook the diamond.
Toronto’s celebrated multiculturalism means the world’s most beloved sport is well appreciated there. Especially since the city’s team, Toronto FC, has made it to the Major League Soccer finals three times in the last four years and won in 2017.
Games happen at BMO Field, nestled into scenic Lake Ontario, between March and October. Before a match, fans wear reds and whites and typically head to Liberty Village, a 10-minute walk from the pitch, for a drink or bite at Shoeless Joe’s or Craft Brasserie & Grill.
Afterward, Liberty Commons is a hot spot for wrapping up a day well spent enjoying the beautiful game.
If you’re a diehard fan, take a short walk to the nearby Hockey Hall of Fame before the game starts. Then put on some blue and white, and hang out at spots like The Irish Embassy Pub & Grill or the Loose Moose to tap into the pregame spirit.
If you haven’t had enough hockey by the time the game is done, “The Great One” himself has a bar and restaurant — Wayne Gretzky’s Toronto — where fans can congregate and toast their team.
The Toronto Argonauts, who won the Grey Cup in 2018 (it’s the Canadian Football League’s Super Bowl), share BMO Field with Toronto FC, which means Liberty Village is still the perfect pregame spot — although this time be sure to wear navy and light blue.
You can, however, also hit up Argos Shipyard, which offers games, food and photo ops before a game. Seasons run from roughly July to November, so be sure to dress warmly if you’re coming later in the season.