Toronto is home to several sports teams, with various records of accomplishment behind them. No matter how good or bad the team is, the fan base behind it is almost fanatical. We take our sports seriously here. We celebrate the victories and losses deeply, and usually through social media to let our collective feelings known. So what do you need to know about Toronto’s sports teams?
As Canada’s largest city, Toronto has the advantage of having several professional, semi-professional and university teams. For some of the sports, Toronto’s sports team is the only one in Canada.
This makes it an exciting situation when it comes to playoffs. While many Canadians have U.S. teams as their favourites, when it comes down to it, they all become national teams that everyone roots for when it matters.
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Toronto’s sports teams
So without further ado, let’s look at Toronto’s sports teams and what makes them interesting.
Established in 1873, the Argonauts (known as Argos) are part of the Canadian Football League (CFL). They are also the oldest established team that still uses its original name. Like its better-known American Football League, the CFL is the highest level of competition for Canadian football. The league consists of nine teams across the country, divided into East and West Divisions. The Argos play in the East Division.
The Grey’s Cup, a coveted trophy awarded at the end of the season, is the second oldest trophy in North America behind hockey’s Stanley Cup. The Argonauts have brought the Cup home record 17 times, most recently in 2017. Fittingly, there was a parade to celebrate the victory.
Toronto Blue Jays
The Blue Jays referred to as simply the Jays, have the distinction of being Canada’s only major league baseball team, which means everyone in Canada is a Jays fan. The team, established in 1977, is named after a bird of the same name, which also appears on the team’s logo.
The Jays are part of Major League Baseball (MLB) as a member club of the American League (AL) East division. The team had its ups and downs, with its golden age in the late 80s and early 90s. Jays won the World Series back to back in 1992 and 1993. The team has come close in the last few years and filled the hearts of many with hope and pride nationwide.
The Toronto FC is also a fan-favourite. The team, established in 2006, is one of three Canadian teams in the Major League Soccer (MLS) as a member of the Eastern Conference. Avid fans make the home games full of excitement and are guaranteed a good time.
The Toronto FC has stepped up their game over the years, winning the domestic treble with the MLS Cup, Supporters’ Shield and Canadian Championship in 2017. Come the day they become champions, and this town will go nuts.
Toronto Maple Leafs
The Maple Leafs is the national hockey team since 1917. It is also one of seven Canadian teams part of the National Hockey League (NHL). Unfortunately, hockey’s championship trophy, the Stanley Cup, has eluded the Leafs since 1967. Despite not doing well for decades, Leaf fans are loyal to boot.
According to Forbes magazine, the Leafs are the second most valuable franchise in the NHL behind New York Rangers. The price for a ticket to the home game is also the highest of all teams in the league, teams as over 80% of available tickets are reserved for the season ticket holders. Ironically, the Leafs ranked last out of the 122 pro teams in the four leagues by an ESPN survey in 2014. Go figure.
The Marlies, unlike other Toronto sports teams, were established in the city in 2005 after several names and location changes. The team is part of the American Hockey League (AHL) and is affiliated with the Maple Leafs.
The Marlies brought the Calder Cup, AHL’s highest trophy, home after winning the 2018 season against Texas Stars.
The Raptors, established in 1995, are the only remaining Canadian-based team in the National Basketball Association (NBA). The team is part of the league’s Eastern Conference Atlantic Division and a source of pride for many Canadians.
Toronto Raptors have gained a huge following in recent years due largely to the endorsement of local rapper Drake, a huge fan and the team’s ambassador. Drake was also instrumental in launching the “We the North” campaign, which to this day, is embraced by the fans. The trade of Demar DeRozan, one of the fan favourites for Kawhi Leonard, has caused a huge upset in the city. However, as the team made its way to the championships, all the hurt was forgotten.
Raptors became a symbol of Canada as the whole country cheered them on all the way to the top. After 24 years of play, the Toronto Raptors won the 2019 NBA Champions. This makes them a hot commodity as far as Toronto sports teams go.
The Toronto Rock, one of four Canadian teams part of the National Lacrosse League (NLL), is another of Toronto’s sports teams that didn’t originate here. Before its 1999 start in Toronto, the team played in nearby Hamilton.
The Rock has successfully won the championships six times (last in 2011) and nine division titles (the last one in 2015). With a solid record, they are worth checking out.
The Toronto Wolfpack is a new kid on Toronto’s sports team block. This professional rugby team, founded in 2017, is part of the British Rugby Football League system. As it’s still brand new, time will tell how well it will do and how fans will embrace it.
Just when you thought there couldn’t be any more professional sports in Toronto, here come the Nationals, a 20-over cricket team. The first edition of the Global T20 Canada took place during the summer of 2018, with six teams in the competition.
The tournament, sanctioned by the International Cricket Council (ICC), makes this the first fully sanctioned T20 league in North America outside of the Caribbean.
Toronto’s sports teams: semi-pro and amateur
In addition to the professional teams mentioned above, Toronto has several semi-professional and amateur teams. You can check out the whole list of current and defunct teams here.
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Venues of Toronto’s sports teams
With this many teams, some sharing venue space, it can become confusing where to catch the game. The good news is that all venues are accessible by transit. You will also find (pricey) parking nearby.
- Allan A. Lamport Stadium (151 King Street West, Toronto) – Also known as the Den, the Toronto Wolfpack calls this place home.
- BMO Fields (170 Princes’ Boulevard, Toronto) – An outdoor stadium located at Exhibition Place in Toronto, home to Toronto Argonauts and Toronto FC.
- Coca-Cola Coliseum (45 Manitoba Drive, Toronto) – Formerly known as the Ricoh Coliseum, the arena is located at Exhibition Place in Toronto and is home to the Toronto Marlies.
- The Rogers Centre (1 Blue Jays Way, Toronto) – Originally named the SkyDome, this multipurpose arena has a retractable roof and if you’re lucky, you might see it open or close. It is the home of the Toronto Blue Jays.
- The Scotiabank Arena (40 Bay Street, Toronto) – Formerly, the Air Canada Centre, is home to the Toronto Raptors, Maple Leafs and the Rock.
Tickets and fees for Toronto’s sports teams
Tickets for sporting events depend on when in the season you’re looking. The closer to the playoffs the more expensive the prices and availability. Off-season, depending on the team, you can get tickets for as low as $20.
Most of the time, you’ll be getting tickets from Ticketmaster, where you should expect additional fees. There are also numerous ticket resale sights, and you should use them at your own discretion. All venues offer limited food options and alcoholic beverages. Expect to pay high prices for both.
Toronto’s sports teams: are you game?
Toronto’s sports teams are numerous and you’re likely to find some type of a game no matter when you are visiting. It’s a good idea to check the schedule ahead of time to avoid disappointments.
What’s your favourite sport to watch? Let me know.