Raptors fans across country ready to cheer for 'Canada's team'
Raptors fans across the country are gearing up for Game 5 of the NBA Finals as Canada’s lone team in the league is one win away from bringing the championship trophy north of the border for the first time ever.
With Toronto set to face the Golden State Warriors at home Monday evening, Raptors fans started to line up around the Scotiabank Arena two days earlier, hoping to gain access to the city’s famed Jurassic Park to witness history in person, despite rainy conditions.
“We have an opportunity to show the world that we can stand out rain or shine,” one fan, who was taking refuge under a tarp, told CP24, noting he had been in line since late Sunday.
As of noon, the lineup filled the entire barricaded area set up outside the gates to Jurassic Park and wrapped around the arena.
But the team’s historic run hasn’t stopped at Toronto’s borders. The Raptors have become “Canada’s team,” gaining support from Canadians from every corner of the Great White North.
“It’s super exciting to be here,” Toronto’s Kiana Coates Cameron told CTV News Channel from Jurassic Park. “The energy, so many people, this is Canada’s team so it’s a big deal that we could be one game away from winning the finals, it’s crazy.”
Halifax superfan Gab Levert said East Coast residents have come to his city from all over to celebrate and watch the Raptors’ quest for the championship.
“We’re getting people coming from Cape Breton, Moncton, P.E.I., all over Atlantic Canada to come to Halifax to experience Jurassic Park 2.0 here in Halifax,” Levert told CTV News Channel. “The excitement is indescribable, we’re just happy to see so many people enjoy themselves here in Halifax.”
Even fans some 3,000 kilometres north of Jurassic Park are truly putting the “north” in the Raptors’ slogan “We The North.”
“Here in Cambridge Bay, Nunavut you couldn’t find a person who is not following Raptors and has been watching it all the way through,” Paula Cziranka told CTV News Channel. “We always kid and joke about how we [are] the true north up here and it’s true. You’ve got Raptors fans far and wide up here, from every profession, from every house, we’re all intently watching and seeing how they’re going to do tonight.”
The Raptors can clinch the title Monday night with a victory over two-time defending champion Golden State Warriors, capping a historic post-season run that has captured Canada's collective imagination and whipped Raptors fans into a frenzy.