'This doesn’t happen all the time': Some offices close to allow employees to attend Raptors victory parade
It won’t be business as usual for many Toronto companies today as employees flock to the downtown core to celebrate the NBA champion Raptors.
Mayor John Tory previously encouraged employers around the city to give their staff some time off this morning to watch a parade celebrating the team's historic win.
He said it appears many bosses heard the message loud and clear.
“I was talking to some people down in (Nathan Phillips Square) just now and they said indeed that their employers had said it was OK for them to come,” Tory told CP24 on Monday morning.
“I was hearing about a law firm where they had just given up. So many people were planning to go that they just gave up and said, ‘Well you should all go then,’ and they closed the office.”
The mayor said while he understands that it difficult to give employees the morning off, he believes the lost productivity will be recovered.
“I realize that for businesses it is tough but at the same time I think for Raptors fans if they get a chance to come over and be part of this, they’ll work harder when they get back to work. It is a day to celebrate something that doesn’t happen all the time,” he added. “It is just a day to have some fun and it is going to be a great party.”
The parade started at 10 a.m. on the grounds of Exhibition Place and will move east on Lake Shore Boulevard before turning north onto York Street and University Avenue. It will ultimately head east on Queen Street and will end in Nathan Phillips Square for a rally at 12:30 p.m.
Thousands of fans, including some who had come from out-of-province, have packed into Nathan Phillips Square for the celebration.
On Front Street, commuters in Raptors jerseys filed out of Union Station ahead of the parade.
"Early this morning on our early trains we’ve already had people with the Raptors logos on and strollers and people all coming downtown," Steve Harvey, a Metrolinx inspector, told CP24 on Monday.
A group of fans on their way to Nathan Phillips Square said they came from Mississauga this morning to take part in the festivities.
“We are here to see the squad. We won,” one fan said. “We are trying to participate in history right now.
One young woman from Brampton said she and her friends skipped school to come downtown for the parade.
"My English exam is in a couple of hours," she said. "My bad."