Fans of the Toronto Raptors packed the city of Toronto’s downtown core to celebrate the team’s first NBA Championship with a big parade. The Raptors parade was every bit as bonkers as you thought it would be.
The parade, which turned out to be the biggest party in Toronto’s history, saw more than 2 million people in attendance.
RAPTORS PARADE ROUTE
The Raptors parade started shortly after 10:00am ET from the Princes’ Gates of the Exhibition Place, with members of the team on top of chartered double-decker buses.
Raptors players were smoking cigars and drinking champagne all throughout the parade, waving to fans who were lined along the route, which went down Lakeshore Blvd. before heading past ScotiaBank Arena.
Kawhi Leonard and Kyle Lowry took turns in holding the Larry O’Brien Trophy.
RECORD NUMBER OF PEOPLE ATTEND PARADE
Immense crowds gathered thorough the entire length of the parade route, slowing down the buses to a crawl.
The buses finally arrived at Nathan Phillips Square, where the Raptors took to the stage in front of thousands of people who had waited all day to catch a glimpse of the new NBA Champions.
Several hours earlier, city officials had asked people not to come down to Nathan Phillips Square anymore as it was already at capacity.
Subway stations along the route were closed due to overcrowding, forcing passengers to walk.
GUNFIRE BREAKS OUT AT NATHAN PHILLIPS SQUARE
Hours of waiting took its toll on some of the people in the crowd, with lost children separated from their parents and others passing out from dehydration.
At one point, gunshots rang out, causing panic at Nathan Phillips Square. Authorities called for calm, as police apprehended suspects and cleared the area to investigate.
POLITICIANS IN ATTENDANCE DURING RALLY
Dignitaries in attendance included Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Ontario Premier Doug Ford and City of Toronto Mayor John Tory.
Tory, who had asked employers to give the morning off to workers to attend the event, was dressed in his special black and gold Raptors suit.
The last time Toronto had a parade was more than 25 years ago, when the Blue Jays won their second World Series title.
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