Raptors fans make long trek to Jurassic Park for Game 4 of the NBA Finals
Katherine DeClerq, CTV News Toronto
Published Friday, June 7, 2019 6:57PM EDT
Last Updated Saturday, June 8, 2019 12:33AM EDT
For some Toronto Raptors fans soaking in Game 4, Jurassic Park is just a transit ride away—but for others; the journey to see the team in the NBA Finals was a bit more of a trek.
“It was a four-hour car ride, from home to the airport, flew two hours, and then another two-and-a-half hour drive here,” said Anthony Brewster, who came to Toronto from Cape Breton Island to be part of the Raptors historic journey.
“We had to experience Jurassic Park,” said his friend Josh Garnier, who is also from Cape Breton. “It’s totally worth the money, the wait, everything really.”
Nick Campbell came to Toronto from Fredericton, New Brunswick. While waiting in line to enter Jurassic Park, he said the only thing he expects is “history.”
Raptors fans in Jurassic Park cheered the Toronto Raptors to a 105-92 victory against the Golden State Warriors on Friday night.
For many fans, this moment is 24 years in the making. It is the first time in franchise history that the Raptors have had the opportunity to win the NBA Championship Trophy.
Canadians from coast to coast have come together to cheer on the Raptors as they compete against the Golden State Warriors for the coveted title, with fans patiently waiting for hours just to get a prime spot in the designated fanzone outside Scotiabank Arena.
“This morning, we got here at about nine o’clock and we didn’t even think about the 12-hour wait,” said Mayra Merino Luba Rohile.
Maple Leafs Sports and Entertainment (MLSE) said they expect an “upwards of 10,000 people” at Jurassic Park on any given night, but they believe Game 4 was one of the busiest days of the series so far.
Overflow area at Mac and Cheese festival
Fans that couldn't make it into Jurassic Park were able to watch the game in Roundhouse Park, located near Lower Simcoe Street and Bremner Boulevard.
The park, which can hold about 500 people, was also hosting the Mac and Cheese Festival, which has been billed as North America’s largest event of its kind.
The founder of the festival said the game will enhance the already popular event.
“Basically you have the game, you have mac and cheese, and you have beer,” Philip Sups said.
Fans caught the game at BMO Field near Canadian National Exhibition Place. Toronto FC played Kansas City at 7 p.m. and then they turned their support to the Taptors with a special viewing party at 9 p.m.
The Aka Khan Museum also projected the game outdoors on the building’s front wall.
NBA Finals tests family relationships
Ottawa-resident Christina Ganotakis was one of the first fans to line up Friday morning to get in to Jurassic Park.
She said she arrived in Toronto two days ago and she hopes the Raptors win so she can rub it in her family’s face.
“My dad is a Warriors fans. He thinks that Steph Curry is the greatest player in the NBA,” she said. “I don’t know if he actually believes the Warriors are better than the Raptors or if he is just trolling me, but I’m here to prove him wrong.”
In Oakland, one married couple—one sporting a Raptors jersey and the other wearing a Warriors hat—say they won’t be talking to each other during the game.
“It’s hands off,” said the Raptors fan. “We will say, winner of this game gets to either name our unborn child Kawhi or Klay—it’s all on the line tonight.”
Warriors fans remain confident
In Oakland, fans didn't appear to be concerned with the Raptors 2-1 lead going into Game 4.
“We’ve been here before,” said one fan. “We are going to rebound.”
“I believe that the Warriors always have a plan for how they are going to win. We are counting on them,” said another fan.
The Warriors have made it to the NBA Finals the last three years in a row and Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf said she is expecting a payout from Toronto Mayor John Tory at the end of the series.
Ahead of Game 1, the two mayors placed bets in support of their hometown teams.
Should the Golden State Warriors win the series, Tory will send Oakland’s mayor a case of Henderson beer, a peameal bacon sandwich, some Tim Hortons coffee and some Toronto-centric apparel from the Spacing store.
If the Raptors clinch the NBA Finals, Schaaf will send Tory some coffee from local roaster Red Bay Coffee, some beer from local brewery Old Kan Beer & Co. as well as some barbecue sauce from Oakland restaurant Everett and Jones BBQ.
“Your mayor has been a lot of fun to bet with,” said Schaaf. “Past mayors have not felt like betting with me. I’ve just enjoyed this. I’ve learned fully what a peamale bacon sandwich is.”
The Toronto Raptors now lead the series 3-1.