Stampeders' horse allowed in Toronto hotel after all

The Calgary Stampeders were allowed to recreate the magic of the team's first Grey Cup victory when a Toronto hotel allowed a horse to enter the premises, just a few hours after locking the mascot and its entourage out.

Staff at the Fairmont Royal York Hotel on downtown Front Street West on Thursday morning initially refused to allow a contingent from Calgary to parade the horse — named Marty — through the hotel, as they had done in 1948.

News of the denial soon made the rounds on social media. The hotel later backtracked and extended an invite to Marty, who walked through the front doors just after 2 p.m. amid a crush of reporters and Calgary supporters.

The stunt comes as Toronto gears up for Sunday's championship game against the hometown Argonauts.

Marty, an Ontario-bred horse standing in for the Stampeders' regular mascot Quick Six, had an eventful morning. After the Calgary contingent tried unsuccessfully to persuade hotel staff to let them enter with the horse at around 10:20 a.m., a group photo was taken in front of the hotel.

He was then led up University Avenue to First Canadian Place.

Upon entering the building, Marty was allowed into a branch of the Bank of Montreal, where a bank executive took a turn riding him.

Calgary football fans remember 1948 fondly. It was the year the Alberta city won its first Grey Cup, and saw local fans bring pageantry to the championship festivities in Toronto.

The 100th Grey Cup game will be held this Sunday at Rogers Centre.

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