“Oh what a time, to be alive.” Drake’s line couldn’t be any more apropos if you’re currently living in Toronto. There seems to be so much going on here right now and even if you’re not into sports, its almost impossible to not get caught up in the energy. The NBA All-Star game was hosted here on the coldest weekend of the year. The Raptors have reached the second round of the playoffs for the second time. BMO Field, home of the TFC and now the Toronto Argos this season, just celebrated their grand re-opening this week revealing more seating and a covered roof – finally! The 104th Grey Cup will be hosted here this coming November and how can I not mention the release of Drake’s highly anticipated album, Views.Toronto is literally on fire right now and I couldn’t be happier to call this city home.
Since the team’s inaugural year in 1995, the Toronto Raptors has had some great players gracing the hardwood; Damon (Mighty Mouse) Stoudamire, Tracy McGrady, Vince Carter, Marcus Camby, Chris Bosh, Doug Christie, Mo Pete but have yet to successful make it to the Eastern Conference finals, but maybe this could be our year. Thanks to BMO, the Raptors official bank and title sponsor, my birthday was made extra special this week with an ultimate “Girls Night Out” at the ACC for the game two of the Raps/Heat playoff series. If you followed my snapchat story you saw the arena was out of control. I can guarantee you the team’s overtime win shaved a few years off my life and biting my nails down to the cuticle destroyed my birthday manicure but hey, a win before the team heads back to Miami is all a girl could have asked for on Thursday night.
So yeah, not our typical girl’s night but but trust, Lauren McPhillips and I enjoyed every second of our VIP #BMOBallStar experience. The evening kicked off at Jurassic Park, the team’s appropriately named fan zone. It’s kind of intense (in a good way) with tons of activations for fans to engage in but seriously my fave was the Raptor’s replica locker room that was created by BMO. The perfect spot for ultimate fans where you can snap and post shots in front of your favourite player’s locker. It’s here where we almost passed out from excitement after receiving our customized Raps jersey’s with “So Sasha” and “Renegade” on the back. How badass right?!
I cannot express how much I detest line-ups. I have actually been known to arrive at sporting events late just to avoid waiting with the masses to get into an arena. But guess what? If you’re a BMO cardholder, line-ups don’t exist for you at the ACC. With a private entrance into the arena, you are treated like a VIP before the game even starts. Seeing as though I’m usually arriving to games late, the other night was the first time I have ever gotten a chance to be court side before legions of crazed fans thirstily show up early before tip-off. And as you can imagine, an empty stadium with seats draped in “6ix” shirts as gifts for fans, which is pretty dope, made the perfect backdrop for pics and snapchats.
As for the game…my anxiety was so high, I don’t even think a prescription for Xanax could have calmed me down. It’s nice to see Toronto fans actually get into a game and cheer their asses off. If you were watching Lauren and I’s snaps, to say the arena was electric would have been an understatement. The game being tied at 84, taking it into the first overtime didn’t help either. To help take the edge off, we drowned our nerves and footlong hotdogs with ridiculously delish Raptors Coladas until the buzzer went off with the Raptors winning the game close to 11:30pm.
As an avid sports fan with true love for my city, I’m excited to see the investment being made by corporations in Toronto’s professional sports teams and our childhood sports communities alike. Corporate sponsors like BMO plays an integral part in creating excitement during the season and post season for the Raptors and TFC. Not to be outdone by their fostering of sport in communities across the country with highly successful community basketball and soccer programs that help to breed Canada’s next basketball and soccer super stars.
Thank you BMO for an incredible experience that I will never forget. It will legit to difficult to top this birthday next year!