A Red Letter Day For Toronto

By Briane Nasimok

(TORONTO, ON) – Halloween 2013 should be a day that Torontonians will mark down in their history as one of the most significant ever. Why you ask?

Okay maybe you’re not asking, but go with me on this.

No, I am not only talking about Chief Bill Blair’s Rob Ford announcement in the morning. Carried live on most television stations, the infamous video was declared to exist.

Some may refer to this as the trick that turned into a treat. Many of us speculated that his video career would end up coming back to bite Rob in his assets, and it seems to be the case. But innocent until proven guilty they say, so more on Rob later.

But this revelation is not the only reason to circle this date on the calendar. For long suffering fans of sport, and people whose blood runs true blue (or purple in case of Raptors fans) it was a day to cherish.


Never before in the history of sports franchises in Canada’s Centre of the Universe, have three professional Toronto sports teams led their respective leagues on the same day. Johnny Bower must be proud.

Yes, with the Raptors beating the Celtics on their opening night and starting their season tied at the top of their division undefeated at 1-0, the trio of Toronto teams stood number #1 on October 31, 2013.

Oh Buffalo, you must be so envious!

As a sports enthusiast (a fan who never gets to Leaf hockey games because he can’t afford them) I have supported the local heroes since birth.

Yes, I was there the last time the Leafs won the cup. Unlike the thousand who profess to have been at the game, I was honestly there.

At that time in 1967, my Mom was being courted by a man who wanted to curry favour with her, so he took her pride and joy to Game Six of the Stanley Cup Finals at Maple Leaf Gardens.

Unfortunately, stepfather not-to-be was a Habs fan, so I had to curtail my enthusiasm. And he didn’t last.

How much of a Leaf fan was I? In Grade 13 I had my own personal scalper.

Steve Stanton and I would wait outside Maple Leaf Gardens on Saturday nights with Maxi, a short weasel of a man; and those were his good points.

Once the puck dropped, at 8:00 pm those days, Maxi would sell “you boys” greens or grays at cost. Between $7 and $20; yes I am that old.

This, however, was well past the era of Stanley Cups and in the futility of the Ballard days.

In college, my then girlfriend Sheri, got us end blues to see the Leafs play Detroit, and during the second period she fell ill. And we had to leave.

I was very gallant about the exit, but found out the next day that I missed my favourite player at the time, George “Chief” Armstrong, score a goal. All right it deflected off his head, but he still got credit for the goal. I was bummed.

Our relationship soon soured after that incident. Not only because of me missing the end of the game but, in retrospect, it may have been a factor.

Dating one of her sorority sisters may have been another factor.

Fortunately, in my myriad of careers, I spent a good deal of time writing about, and producing, sports based events.

This included covering the Toronto Blue Jays as a “stringer” for United Press for eleven years, and I was in the press box for the Joe Carter home run; so, I have seen a Toronto triumph a few times.

Needless to say, I have not dwelled on the Good Ship Argonauts triumphs lately. Not because they are of any less value, but with eight teams, making it to the Big Game seems a lot easier than beating out some 30 other competitors.

Yes, the Raptors will stumble once they play a few good teams. And although management is already laying out the parade route, the Leafs may crumble.

But for one glorious moment in Toronto fandom, we are number one.

Fellow Toronto sports fans, enjoy the moment.

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About the Author

Ian Shalapata
Ian Shalapata
Ian Shalapata is the owner and publisher of Square Media Group. He covers politics, the police beat, community events, the arts, sports, and everything in between. His imagery and freelance contributions have appeared in select publications and for organizations in Canada and the United States. Contact Ian with story ideas.