In The Spotlight: National Bank Open
This game-day guide has everything you need to know for the best National Bank Open experience in Toronto.
The third oldest tennis tournament in the world, following Wimbledon and the U.S. Open, the National Bank Open presented by Rogers—formerly known as the Rogers Cup—has been drawing spectators to Toronto since 1881. The first was held at the Toronto Lawn and Tennis Club, which it continued to call home until the tournament began to be hosted in Niagara-on-the-Lake and later in a rotating series of cities across Canada.
The National Bank Open returned to Toronto in 1968 but has alternated between Toronto and Montreal since 1981. Since 2004, the Sobeys Stadium (formerly Aviva Centre) has been home to the National Bank Open in years when it is Toronto’s turn to host. The Stadium was built to replace the National Tennis Centre on the edge of York University and features both indoor and outdoor hard courts in the same style as the U.S. Open.
The tournament is held outdoors in August, a month that can be quite pleasant in Toronto but may become hot if it’s quite sunny. There are 8,000 seats surrounding the main court, as well as numerous other practice courts on the extensive grounds.
Things to do at Sobeys Stadium
If you pay a visit to the Sobeys Stadium to see the National Bank Open, you’re sure to have a good time. The round stadium is cleverly designed to have numerous great vantage points so you don’t miss the action.
Sit on the west side if you prefer the shade or are planning on attending evening matches. Seats on the south side can afford a server’s-eye view of the court.
In addition to the stadium itself, you’re right by York University on the north end of Toronto, where you can explore the campus itself as well as the many local businesses that surround it. Not only that, you’ll be close to the Black Creek Parkland trail network if you want to stretch your legs after an exciting day of watching matches, as well as the Black Creek replica Pioneer Village.
Places to eat at Sobeys Stadium
Seeing the National Bank Open at the Sobeys Stadium is a feast for the senses, including your tastebuds. In the past, the Stadium’s concession stands had a wide variety of dishes on offer, from classic game day treats like foot-long hot dogs, burgers, and nachos to fancier fare like grain bowls, poke and barbecued brisket. They have even offered food delivered to your seat like at upscale movie theatres using Voilà by Sobeys.
While the restaurants that pop up to serve the National Bank Open each year can vary, one Toronto restaurant tends to be a reliable inclusion. Pizzaville has been a Toronto favourite since the 1960s, with classic stone-baked crusts topped with goodies that range from simple favourites like pepperoni to wild specialties like spicy loaded potato pizza.
Fun facts about the National Bank Open
- Bianca Andreescu’s 2019 victory at the then-named Rogers Cup (now known as the National Bank Open) made her the first Canadian to win the tournament since Faye Urban’s championship in 1969
- The Toronto Lawn Tennis Club, where the National Bank Open was first hosted, was founded in 1875
- The Canadian Open was sponsored by a series of tobacco companies for much of the last century before Rogers Communications lent its name to the tournament in 2001
- One of the most successful Canadian tennis players of all time is Daniel Nestor, who won 91 doubles titles—of which 12 were Grand Slams—as well as a gold medal at the 2000 summer Olympics in Sydney
How to get to Sobeys Stadium
By public transit: You can reach Sobeys Stadium on the 1 subway line headed north to Pioneer Village. From that station, it’s a 10-minute walk to the National Bank Open festivities.
By car: The Gardiner Expressway West is the most convenient way to reach the Aviva Centre and York University. Some National Bank Open tickets include parking. For other ticket holders, limited parking spots in Lot A are available on a first-come, first-served basis.