Windsor fans celebrate Raptors' NBA title
Published Friday, June 14, 2019 4:34PM EDT
Last Updated Friday, June 14, 2019 8:01PM EDT
The Rose City was Raptor Red on Thursday night, joining the rest of Canada in a chorus of celebration after the Toronto Raptors won their first ever NBA Championship.
Rain delayed the viewing party in Charles Clark Square, but it didn't take long for the weather to break and Jurassic Park Windsor came alive.
Attendance numbers weren't what they could have been, but it didn't matter to most fans.
Well over 1,000 made it downtown to celebrate history in the making.
The Raptors surged past Golden State in the final few minutes of the game, ending the neck-and-neck matchup at 114-110 to win the series in six games.
Chants of “We the North!” could be heard inside Oracle Arena as the Raptors hoisted the Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy and waved a Canadian flag in centre court.
It was the first time an NBA team outside the U.S. clinched the title.
"We are shaking right now,” said one Windsor fan right after the win. “Everyone is going crazy! They got the confetti going, everyone is jumping up and down people are splashing me!"
Windsor police say there were no major incidents and officers are proud of how the community celebrated responsibly.
“I was scare my heart was racing I nearly had a heart attack," another fan told CTV News.
It's been 26 years since a Canadian team won one of the big four North American professional sports championships. The last team to do it was the Toronto Blue Jays, who won the 1993 World Series.
Organizers of Windsor's Jurassic Park say they are happy for the city and happy to be a part of history.
"I think it's brought the community together. It's brought people together. I can't see anything negative from it it's been a fantastic thing," says organizer Renaldo Agostino.
Fan support for the team’s historic NBA championship run was at an all-time high, as preliminary data from Numeris confirms that Thursday night’s Game 6 attracted an average audience of 7.7 million viewers on TSN, CTV, and RDS, making it the most-watched NBA game on record in Canada and the biggest English-language television broadcast in three years.
In Toronto, fans basking in the glory of the win rushed to cement the memory with official merchandise Friday as the city prepared for a massive public celebration next week.
People lined up outside several stores peddling Raptors championship gear hours after the game.
In some locations -- including a store at Scotiabank Arena where the Raptors play their home games -- would-be shoppers at times waited in a line longer than a city block. Some stores set a limit on how many items each person could buy.
Many of those waiting wore Raptors shirts and hats but said getting their hands on new designs, which commemorate the team's victory, is part of celebrating the big win.
A parade and public celebration are planned for Monday in downtown Toronto.
The parade, which will be televised on TSN, CTV, CP24, and CTV News Channel, is expected to begin near the lakeshore at 10 a.m. Monday and wind its way towards city hall, where a rally will take place. A parade-viewing party is also planned in a nearby park to relieve congestion along the route.
The Raptors will travel in the parade in open-air double-decker buses with the Larry O'Brien Championship Trophy, according to team owner Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment.
Toronto Mayor John Tory said the city was "so proud" of the team.
"On Monday, we get to come together as a city to celebrate the team," he said in a statement. "On behalf of the residents of Toronto, I want to congratulate and thank the players, coaches and the entire Toronto Raptors organization for bringing home our city's first NBA championship!"
With files from The Canadian Press.