Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Double-Size Party at Maple Leaf Square as Fans Unite after Toronto Van Attack

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Double-Size Party at Maple Leaf Square as Fans Unite after Toronto Van Attack

Article excerpt

Sports fans unite after Toronto van attack

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TORONTO - Still reeling from Monday's deadly van attack, hundreds of Torontonians braved the rain outside Air Canada Centre on Wednesday night to cheer on the city's teams as they played in pivotal games.

Five of Toronto's professional sports teams were in action with four of them -- the Maple Leafs, Raptors, Toronto FC, and Marlies -- in playoff games. Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment hosts an outdoor viewing party beside Air Canada Centre for all Leafs and Raptors post-season games, and the corporation stepped up to host a double-sized celebration for those two teams, with smaller screens dedicated to TFC and the Marlies.

"It's extremely rare to have the Leafs, the Raptors, TFC, the Jays and even the Marlies playing on the same day," said Eddie Baruela, one of the first fans into Maple Leaf Square.

He was wearing merchandise from each team and had a mask of Raptors all-star DeMar DeRozan.

"I'm going to have to swivel my head 360 degrees to keep track of both games. Depending on how momentum shifts, I'll have to focus on the Leafs game and then sometimes the Raptors game and then focus on the TFC game later."

Game 5 of the Raptors first-round playoff series with the Washington Wizards was shown on a large screen on the west side of the arena. Two more screens on the opposite side of the square had on Game 7 of the Maple Leafs' playoff series with the Bruins in Boston. Organizers promised fans that as soon as the Raptors game was done, the bigger screen would switch to the NHL game and then all screens would change to Toronto FC at Chivas Guadalajara in the second leg of the CONCACAF Champions League final.

Just two blocks west of Maple Leaf Square, the Blue Jays were hosting the Boston Red Sox at Rogers Centre in a regular-season game. Toronto is chasing Boston for top spot in the American League East. …

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