Toronto has never seen anything like this. It was bedlam. It was euphoric. It was surreal. Nobody was preparing for something this big.
Crowds estimated at between 1 million and 2 million lined the parade route and clogged city streets on Monday morning to see the NBA Champion Raptors during a victory celebration and rally.
It was a clear indication of where the basketball market is in this country and where it could go. This historic event, with the Raptors becoming the first team outside the United States to win an NBA Championship, lived up to the hype.
Crowds were so thick that the parade was half an hour late getting started and hadn’t even arrived at Nathan Phillips Square until long after the scheduled 12:30 p.m. arrival time, which was greeted by a flypast of Canada’s Snowbirds.
Raptors players were offering up champagne showers along the parade route and people were perched on traffic lights and construction workers climbed scaffolding just to get a vantage point.
Motorists on the Gardiner Expressway were actually pulling over so they could peer down from the overpass to watch the proceedings below.
The love affair between the entire nation and these Raptors spilled over into this day of celebration in Toronto, four days after the Raptors beat the Golden State Warriors 114-110 in Oakland in Game 6 to win the series 4-2.