By Shaleni McBain
The annual football showdown will be held this year at Toronto’s SkyDome on Sunday Nov. 25.
“We wanted to create an environment where families can come down and be exposed to not only the festival, but the CFL and everything football,” Lou Ragagnin, President and COO of the Grey Cup Festival, told Humber News.
“On Nov. 15 we are going to kick-off the festival with a football film festival. That’s going to take place down here at the Scotiabank theatre.”
This coming weekend, Nathan Phillips Square downtown will feature a variety of activities — all sponsored by the CFL.
“The adrenaline zone is marketed towards the 18-30 age group. We have a zip-line that is going to run through the city hall towers. It’s going to be the highest urban zip-line that has ever been created,” said Ragagnin.
It’s going to be an “adrenaline-infused” environment for those attending said Ragagnin.
“The history behind this [the Grey Cup] is phenomenal. There is so much history behind each game. We are trying to re-create that. The festival will have a tribute to a lot of the things that have happened over 100 years. It will be something for everyone really,” said Ragagnin.
“We are taking part in the Santa Claus parade on Sunday Nov. 18. We have a section in the parade focused on the 100th Grey Cup.”
Next Monday there is going to be a re-creation of the Mud Bowl, a famous Grey Cup that took place in 1950 in Toronto. Because of melting snow and rain, the field got to the point where it was no longer recognizable because of all the water and mud.
“We are going to re-create that at a school here in Toronto and as a legacy we are going to re-sod that field in the spring and provide that school with a brand new facility for football,” said Ragagnin.
There will also be music next week at the Metro Convention Centre to energize football fans, Ragagnin said. Thursday night will have a younger and hip urban vibe, whereas Saturday is their classic rock night.
“The 100th Grey Cup Festival is thrilled to present an all-Canadian line-up featuring some of the best musical acts in the country,” said a press release sent to Humber News from the Grey Cup festival.
Thursday Nov. 22 K’naan, Kardinal Offishall, Kreesha Turner and Mia Martina will Perform.
Friday Nov. 23 Sam Roberts Band, Matthew Good and Treble Charger will perform.
Saturday Nov. 24 Big Sugar, Willie Williams, Myles Goodwyn, April Wine and Kim Mitchell will all be performing.
“We are going to have a huge street festival the weekend of the game filled with activities for the entire family, and again a concert series outside there,” said Ragagnin.
“The game is sold out already but that doesn’t prevent people from coming and joining in on the tailgate party on the Sunday where we will have entertainment throughout the day and in to the night as the game continues.”
Ragagnin said that with an event of this magnitude, a lot of planning goes into it – 2 years worth.
“ It is kind of an iconic national institution in the Grey Cup. Its something that is truly Canadian,” said Ragagnin.
Ragagnin said CFL pride has decreased over the years and that’s part of the goal of the festival is to put the CFL back on the radar screen of the younger generation.
“A lot of folks over the years – particularly the younger generation – its something they are not as close to as maybe their parents. We want to engage some of the younger folks,” said Ragagnin.
He said every team is setting up their hospitality area and a number of them will be in the convention centre, including Saskatchewan, Hamilton, Winnipeg and Calgary. Edmonton will be at the Sheraton Centre.
Ragagnin said all of the teams are really getting behind the 100th, including Ottawa which is returning to the league in 2014.
“Its a true testament to what being Canadian is all about.”
Ragagnin has also offered discounted ticket prices to all Humber College students for festival events. To take advantage of this offer, click the link below.
100th Grey Cup Festival
A Quick Overview of the 100th Grey Cup Festival
There are four major zones of operation at the festival as well as a number of marquee stand-alone events.
THE FESTIVAL ZONES
The mbna Adrenaline Zone at Nathan Phillips Square: Saturday, November 17 to Saturday, November 24
- Entertainment Stage with Screen
- Toronto Sun Zipline
- Canadian Forces Obstacle Course and Displays
- High Octane Food Zone
- “The Gridiron” Football Experience
- “Football Fitness Day” – Youth Programming all day on Thursday, November 22
- Traditional Free Pancake Breakfast
- Cheerleader Flash Mob
The Nissan Family Zone at Yonge Dundas Square: Saturday, November 17 to Saturday, November 24
- Entertainment Stage with Screen
- Weekday Youth Engagement Programming:
- Anti-Bullying Rally
- Art of the Game Day
- Dance Cheer Day
- Official Welcome Party to out-of-town fans
- Post-Santa Claus Parade Party
- “The Gridiron” interactive Football area, featuring clinics and player appearances
- Eaton Centre Urban Eatery location with rotating vendors
The Scotiabank Fan Zone at The Metro Toronto Convention Centre: Friday, November 23 to Sunday, November 25
- Scotiabank Football Experience: Football interactives, TSN broadcast location
- Scotiabank VIP Zone
- Team Celebration Areas
- Autograph Area
- Display of CFL artifacts from the 100th Grey Cup Train Tour
- Canadian Forces Display – Flight Simulator, Photo Booth, Recreation of RCAF Football Jerseys
- Molson Licensed area
- Main Stage with Screen
- Ticketed Evening Concerts
- Daytime programming including panels, interviews, Q & A’s, “Great Cup Stories”
- Ongoing Football Trivia competition
The TELUS Street Festival on Front, John & Simcoe Streets: Friday, November 23 to Sunday, November 25
- Main Stage with Screen
- SiriusXM Battle of the Bands
- CN Train display
- CN interactive football field
- Beer Garden
- Award winning Ribbers
- Street Curling
- Department of National Defense Vehicle Display
- Frank’s RedHot Pre-Game Tailgate Party
- Includes arrival of the 100th Grey Cup Fan March
MARQUEE STAND-ALONE EVENTS
Rushes Football Film Festival presented by Nolitours
Thursday, November 15 – Sunday, November 18, Scotiabank Theatre
Arrival of the Grey Cup to Toronto – Official Welcome – Friday, November 16
Cavalcade of Lights Concert at Nathan Phillips Square, Sponsored by the 100th Grey Cup Festival
Saturday, November 17
The Santa Claus Parade – Sunday, November 18
The Art of Management Speakers Series
Keynote Speaker – Jack Welch
Monday, November 19, Metro Toronto Convention Centre, North Building, Constitution Hall
The Mud Bowl Recreation – Monday, November 19, TDSB Post Secondary School
The Scotiabank Gala – Wednesday, November 21, The Rogers Centre
Gibson’s Finest CFL Player Awards
Thursday, November 22, Koerner Hall
After Party and Concert at Metro Toronto Convention Centre
The Vanier Cup – Friday, November 23, The Rogers Centre
The Official 100th Grey Cup Pre-Game Party: An Invitation to Rock the Nation
Sunday, November 25, Metro Toronto Convention Centre
The 100th Grey Cup Game – Sunday, November 25, The Rogers Centre