It’s the party of a lifetime in Toronto, as the city and country celebrates en masse for the Raptors’ first NBA championship ever. As the day progressed, however, it became clear the city wasn’t properly prepared for the festivities, after having 26 years to plan for this outcome.
A number of fans scaled the arches at Toronto’s Nathan Phillips Square, one of the central hubs of the city. While the enthusiasm is appreciated, it’s certainly a safety risk to all the people who gathered in attendance to see the team.
what could possibly go wrong? pic.twitter.com/WvlnV5nNZj— Yahoo Sports Canada (@YahooCASports) June 17, 2019
The parade was temporarily halted at the square due to safety concerns, and fans were told to get down from the arches.
The City of Toronto also put out an advisory that Nathan Phillips Square reached capacity and no one else is allowed to enter the square.
Nathan Phillips Square is at capacity, no one else will be allowed on the Square. Watch the parade + rally on big screen at Coronation Park. Everyone onsite: please celebrate safely... @TorontoPolice want you to be able to enjoy the entire event! #WeTheNorthDay #WeTheNorth pic.twitter.com/D9AfdMnEZr— City of Toronto (@cityoftoronto) June 17, 2019
Parade has stopped at Nathan Phillips until these people come down from the arches pic.twitter.com/gai4vUIuCB— Yahoo Sports Canada (@YahooCASports) June 17, 2019
Afterwards, Toronto Police tweeted that there’s more space at Yonge-Dundas Square for fans to take part in the parade and the rally. The logistics of transferring tens of thousands of people remain unclear.
Yonge and Dundas now has viewing screens up to watch the parade and rally. If you are feeling too crowded around the route and at Nathan Phillips Square, please move to Y&D. ^ams— Toronto Police (@TorontoPolice) June 17, 2019
Yonge/Dundas now has viewing screens up to watch the rally. If you are feeling too crowded at Nathan Phillips Square, move to YD Square. Yonge St is closed from Richmond Dundas & Dundas closed between Bay & Church Sts. No vehicles permitted #WeTheNorthDay #RaptorsParade ^sm pic.twitter.com/9Vp2f6xUuW— Toronto Police (@TorontoPolice) June 17, 2019
Fans are beginning to run out of patience, however.
Announcements from the stage at city hall asking fans to be patient, safe. Most people were expecting the bus around 12:30 and this is definitely messing with their plans, a lot of people talking about needing to get back to work.— Laura Armstrong (@lauraarmy) June 17, 2019
Unfortunately, with an estimated two million people in attendance, children have been reported missing and Toronto Police set up a line to find any kids who wandered off.
If children go astray during the parade or rally, police will bring them to 52 Division at 255 Dundas Street West. 416-808-5200. If an emergency, please call 911. #WeTheNorthDay #WeTheChampions #WeTheNorth— Toronto Police (@TorontoPolice) June 17, 2019
Technically problems so no music or video on the stage or screens; heat and a lack of water bottles; and almost no way to get out of the crowd, which is packed as the world’s biggest rush-hour subway car. This could have been planned and executed better. https://t.co/spo8yaSuxq— Bruce Arthur (@bruce_arthur) June 17, 2019
We don’t want to sound like anyone’s overbearing parents, but stay safe out there, Toronto.
More Raptors coverage from Yahoo Sports