Thousands of Canadian basketball fans poured into the streets of Toronto and cities across Canada early Friday to celebrate after the Raptors defeated defending champions Golden State Warriors to become the first Canadian team to win an NBA championship.
Thousands more took to social media to celebrate the Raptors’ 114-110 win in Game 6 of the NBA Finals, including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who tweeted, “That’s how we do it in the North.”
Canadians gathered at 59 Jurassic Park viewing parties in Toronto, Halifax, Vancouver, Winnipeg, Montreal and Ottawa, and countless bars and restaurants across the country to watch the only Canadian team in the NBA capture the trophy.
In Halifax, where the Raptors began their NBA franchise, fans threw a massive outdoor block party.
Authorities in Montreal shut down two city blocks to allow fans to cheer on a team from Toronto, the city’s rival when it comes to hockey and soccer. Thousands of fans braved the rain as organizers handed out “We the North” T-shirts.
But in Toronto, the win sent thousands onto the streets, a sea of people loudly cheering, waving flags, high-fiving each other and clogging up some of the major downtown intersections near the Scotiabank Arena, the home of the Raptors.
“This is unreal. I’ve waited so long for this. Nothing like it,” Justin Harrison from Hamilton told CBC News. “I’m not going to sleep for like 10 days.”
Danny Salman, 20, told CBC News it was important to come out and celebrate on the street so the Raptors could see the fans coming together in the city.
“It shows the togetherness of all the fans. I just had to come out.”
As part of the celebrations, some fans set off firecrackers.
And there were at least a few significant incidents of vandalism. Some fans destroyed the windows of a police car.
At Yonge and Dundas streets, a city bus positioned to block the street was tagged with graffiti and had windows kicked out while some fans sat on the roof singing O Canada.
— John Tory (@JohnTory) June 14, 2019
With files from CBC News