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CFL Travelogue: Toronto Argonauts

by Randy Snow

Originally posted on AmericanChronicle.com, Tuesday, August 17, 2010


Just north of the U.S. border, on the other side of Lake Ontario, lies the city of Toronto, Canada. It is a city known for the cultural diversity of it people as well as for its theater and entertainment districts. But when I think of Toronto, only one thing comes to mind, Canadian Football.

The Toronto Argonauts are the oldest sports team in North America and can trace their roots back to 1873. They have won 15 Grey Cup titles over the years and its roster has included some very familiar names to American football fans including Doug Flutie, Joe Theismann and Rocket Ismail.


I have been to two Argonauts games before and my most recent trip included a bit of sight seeing as well before the game. So, with passports in hand, my son, Adam, and I left our home in Kalamazoo, Michigan and headed east. We crossed the International Bridge in Detroit, went through the town of Windsor, Ontario, then past London and eventually we arrived on the north side of Toronto. Our first stop was at a place I have always wanted to visit, Casa Loma Castle.

Casa Loma is an English style medieval castle built between 1911 and 1913 by Sir Henry Mill Pellatt, a wealth Canadian industrialist and financier. The castle cost $3.5 million to build, which was an astronomical amount of money at the time. It has three floors and a tower that you can climb to the top of. There is an underground tunnel that leads to the garage as well as the horse stables. Unfortunately, Sir Henry and his wife lived in the castle for less than 10 years after financial trouble forced them to leave their home. It is has been owned by the city of Toronto since 1937 and the local Kiwanis Club operates it and allows the public to tour this one-of-a-kind place.


There have been several movies filmed at Casa Loma including The Tuxedo with Jackie Chan, X-Men and, most recently, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World. If you go there, be prepared for a lot of walking and stair climbing!

Our next stop was for dinner at an Italian restaurant. We headed for College Street in the Little Italy section of Toronto and decided to try the Bella Vista Trattoria. It was a small place of course (trattoria means small restaurant in Italian) so the menu was limited, but the rigatoni I had and Adam's fettuccini was both very good.


After eating, it was time to head to the Rogers Centre for the Argos game. The Rogers centre was originally known as the SkyDome and construction of the stadium was completed in 1989. It featured the world's first fully retractable roof when it opened. It is also the home of the MLB Toronto Blue Jays.

The two previous times I have been to games at the Rogers Centre, the roof had been open both times, but, unfortunately, this time the roof was closed due to the threat of rain.

We parked in a parking ramp under the Rogers Centre and headed into the stadium for the game. It was 1970īs Retro Night, which meant that the Argos wore uniforms and helmets from the 1970īs and there was a lot of great 70īs music playing throughout the game.

Montreal came into the game with a 5-1 record and Toronto posted a 4-2 record. Both teams are in the Eastern Division of the Canadian Football League.

Toronto jumped out to a 14-0 lead in the first quarter. Montreal did not get on the scoreboard until the second quarter, making it a 14-7 game. But on the ensuing kickoff, Toronto return man Ryan Christian caught the ball at his own goal line and returned it the length of the field (110 yards) for a touchdown! In the CFL, the field is much bigger than in the U.S. It is 110 yards long with 20 yard end zones instead of 10. There are also 12 players on the field for each team, compared to 11 in the U.S. and they only have three downs to advance the ball instead of four.

Toronto led at halftime 24-14. Both teams scored touchdowns in the third quarter but the Argonauts outscored the Alouettes 6-1 in the fourth quarter. Montreal received one point off a missed field goal. In the CFL, if a field goal attempt is missed, the opposing team must try to return the ball out of the end zone, just like a punt. If the runner fails to run the ball out of the end zone they concede a point to the kicking team, hence Montreal was awarded a point off a missed field goal. The final score was Toronto 37, Montreal 22. Both teams are now tied atop the Eastern Division with identical 5-2 records.

After the game, fans were invited down onto the field to meet the players and cheerleaders. Adam and I decided not to hang around after the game since we planned on returning home to Michigan that night.

The game against Montreal marked the beginning of Football Week in Toronto, which includes an NFL preseason game at the Rogers Centre between the Buffalo Bills and the Indianapolis Colts on Thursday, August 19. The following night, the Argos will host the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in CFL action. The Bills have been playing a preseason and/or regular season game in Toronto the past few years as a way to reach out to their fan base across the border. Buffalo will play the Chicago Bears at the Rogers Centre in a regular season game on Sunday, November 7.

Toronto is a great sports town to visit whether you are going there for a Major League Baseball game, a CFL or an NFL game. You can also visit the Little Italy or Chinatown sections of the city for some great international food.


Casa Loma

CFL Web Site

Toronto Argonauts Web Site


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