Montréal Alouettes with 2009 Grey Cup

Montréal Alouettes won 2009 Grey Cup where it should have been played - in Calgary


For the rest of time, the Grey Cup game should only be played in either Edmonton, Calgary, Regina or Winnipeg. Based on the way Edmonton just sold out the 2010 game – before the current CFL season has even started – it’s a no-brainer. Those four cities are the heart and soul of Canadian football. They deserve Canada’s championship game – every single year. And the Grey Cup should never, ever again be played in Toronto. 

1958 is regarded as the first season of the current Canadian Football League. It wasn’t until 1975 that the CFL first held the Grey Cup game at Calgary’s McMahon Stadium. Prior to that, it was held in only Canada’s major cities. Edmonton didn’t play host until 1984. The point is that it took the CFL many, many years to figure out that the game could be successful outside the three most populated cities in our country (with the exception of Ottawa). 

John Candy

John Candy was a part-owner of the 1991 Grey Cup champion Toronto Argonauts


It wasn’t until 1991 that the CFL determined that holding the game regularly on the prairies might be a smart thing to do. Interestingly, that first game at Winnipeg Stadium featured freezing temperatures, Adam Rita’s Toronto Argonauts walking (not running) out during introductions and Rocket Ismail winning the game’s MVP award. And that’s the beauty of holding the game on the prairies. The fans appreciate it like no others in the country. 

Canadian prairie football fans are the best in the country. That’s how they sell out 60,000 Grey Cup tickets in just seven days. The last time the game was held in Toronto was 2007. The only way, and I mean the only way, you knew the game was in Toronto is if you stumbled upon a few celebrations down on Front Street or right outside Rogers Centre. The fans inside the building enjoyed the 23-19 Saskatchewan victory over Winnipeg, but the city itself couldn’t have cared less if it was the Grey Cup or the athletic cup. And most of the fans inside Rogers Centre that day made the trip from either Saskatchewan or Winnipeg. In fact, Toronto is so blasé about Canadian Football that, this year, the Argos are even playing one of their home games in Fredericton, New Brunswick. And no one cares! Toronto should never host the Grey Cup again. 

And games indoors should be forbidden. That means Toronto and – sorry, Montreal – are out. I want my Grey Cup game to have an aura of unpredictability. That means weather is a component. I realize that B.C. Place Stadium is having a retractable roof installed right now. But, if it’s raining on Grey Cup Sunday in 2011, they will have it closed. As the Soup Nazi would say, “No Grey Cup for you, B.C.!” 

And Hamilton is, well, Hamilton. I don’t think we need to say any more about that. Besides, the CFL has been smart enough not to bring it back to Steeltown since 1996. So that leaves the prairies. They support their Stampeders, Eskies, Roughriders and Bombers win or lose. They live and breathe football twelve months of the year. Those are the cities that deserve the CFL’s biggest showcase. Those cities are the league. And that’s where the Grey Cup must be played. Period.

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8 Responses to “CFL’s Grey Cup game should only be held on Canada’s prairies”

  1. sheilamac says:

    I so agree with you BMS! I have been to Grey Cup games and inside in Toronto was not a true Grey Cup. I like my games where you have to cheer alot to stay warm.

  2. Fred says:

    an honest sentiment BMS, but do we risk further degradation of the CFL’s profile if we never have an other GC outside the prairies? What if the Argos ever get their act together? Maybe then?

  3. The Big Mouth says:

    There is a better chance of a golden monkey crawling out of my left ear in the next five minutes than there is of the Argos becoming the cornerstone of the Canadian Football League. Time to show the rest of the country that this league actually understands the core value of its Western teams and reward them accordingly. The CFL’s profile is a lost cause in that vast expanse between Winnipeg and Montreal. Just let it go.

  4. David says:

    Absolutely dead on with this one, Bigmouth. In fact I remember being driven back to my hotel after watching an Argos Grey Cup win at a friend’s house (when was that–05…06?) and during that entire drive through some pretty traffic packed areas we heard not a single horn honking to mark the celebration. In fact we honked just so someone in town was celebrating…In Calgary, Edmonton and omigod–Saskatchewan–the noise would have been deafening…ALL OVER TOWN. One thing that might help the game in T.O. Send a memo to cab drivers, restaurant serving people, streetcar drivers and hotel bellboys to let them know the Grey Cup is actually happening…and maybe what it is. This may prevent their responding to your “Well, I’m off to the Rogers Centre!!” with “Oh, yeah? What for?”

  5. JP says:

    Let’s get a CFL team out on the East Coast and share the love. Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal can cram it. Besides those big venues waste so many tickets on corporate seats – let the true fans, who will actually show up with their blankets and thermoses full of hot chocolate (or screech), buy the tickets and enjoy the party.

  6. thomas says:

    well sorry to dissipoint you mr.I hate Toronto but the grey cup in 2012 will be hosted in Toronto so suck it up.

  7. Josh says:

    And people talk about eastern arrogance? Nice shot at Hamilton, too. I forgot how awesome places like Regina, Calgary and Edmonton are. Glad I just live in lowly ol’ Hamilton or else I might think I’m better than everyone else. I can’t wait to go to the Grey Cup in Toronto in 2012, Ottawa in 2013 and Hamilton in 2014, 2015 or 2016. Gonna be loads of fun. Way better than some party in a piss-ant place like Regina. (See, I can take shots at places too).

  8. Jeremy says:

    keep it out there. no one else gives a s**t. a lot of Regina, especially, believe they are a part of an elite club being fans. laughable. to have to be better than 3 other teams to have a shot at a cup is a joke. no wonder that part of the continent is made fun of so much on so many levels.

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