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Basketball in the Spotlight: Toronto Raptors
This game-day guide has everything you need to know for the best home game experience.
We know you’re here for info on Raptors game day, but we wanted to share some history first. In 2013, excitement for the Toronto Raptors intensified when Toronto native and international music superstar, Drake, became the team’s Global Ambassador. His vision and incredible efforts to put Toronto front and centre on the international basketball stage have certainly paid off. The Raptors pulled through a series-clinching win against the Golden State Warriors and took home their first NBA championship trophy.
From 1995 expansion team to 2019 NBA champions, the Raptors have etched their names in history with a victory 24 years in the making—Toronto and the Scotiabank Arena (formerly Air Canada Centre) (40 Bay St.) became the city and home court of champions.
Places to eat in or near Scotiabank Arena
In order to get the most out of a Raptors game, it’s best to get close to the stadium at least a bit before game time. You can go in and enjoy the stadium vendors or hit up Maple Leaf Square just beside the stadium, also known as Jurassic Park during the playoffs.
At the Stadium
You can get hot dogs if you want to, but you certainly have more choices than that. You can get everything from hearty poutine or prime rib sandwiches to gluten-free or vegetarian options. And it must be said: there is a spot dedicated solely to mac and cheese and grilled cheese. What a time to be alive!
Real Sports Bar & Grill
For a complete game-day experience, step into Real Sports Bar & Grill, located next to the stadium. It’s one of the most popular spots downtown on game days... and for good reason. This place is 25,000 sq ft of pure sports atmosphere. Eat and drink while being surrounded by countless big-screen TVs, including one that is two storeys high! 15 York St.
For a quieter and more refined pre- and post-game dining and drinking environment, choose E11ven, located next to Real Sports. For those who want to get away from the heavy crowds and still be in the midst of an energetic atmosphere, Front Street West is loaded with casual dining spots. 15 York St.
Things to do at Scotiabank Arena
Raptors fans can’t contain their excitement whenever the team plays a home game at Scotiabank Arena (formerly Air Canada Centre). Basketball lovers of all ages, from all corners of the city, arrive in a festive mood, adding to the already electric atmosphere in the air.
The energy builds as you get closer to the stadium and by the time you arrive in Maple Leaf Square, you’ll find thousands of people in team colours, the music pumping and rallying cries of “Let’s go Raptors” echoing in the streets.
You’ll also notice as you walk up that Maple Leaf Square is abuzz. If you don’t have tickets, you can watch the game for free on a big 24-metre screen in Maple Leaf Square—a.k.a. Jurassic Park. At any given time during the game, up to 5,000 die-hard fans are standing, watching and cheering the home team, even in chilly weather conditions. Ask anyone if they mind the cold weather and nobody will be complaining.
Fun facts about the Toronto Raptors
- Maple Leaf Square: This very spot is where Drake, Lilly Singh and thousands of Torontonians witnessed the Toronto Raptors claim their first NBA Championship
- Over two million people attended Toronto’s championship parade
- Toronto Raptors have been the only team to be based in Canada since the 2001-2002 season
- From 1995-1999, the Raptors played at Rogers Centre (formally known as the Skydome)
- The following team name suggestions were submitted: Dragons, Hogs, Scorpions, Grizzlies, Beavers, Tarantulas and the T-Rex
How to get to Scotiabank Arena
Located at the foot of the city right next to Union Station, you can choose to deal with the traffic and park your vehicle in one of 13,000 parking spaces near the stadium. Or, better yet, give yourself a stress-free experience by using public transportation.
By TTC: Get off at Union Station, follow the signs (and crowd) to the indoor walkway that connects the station with the stadium.
By car: Exit the Gardiner Express at York and go north.