Thousands of Montrealers are out on Peel Street Monday night doing the unthinkable: cheering for a Toronto sports team.
“Let’s go Raptors” and “We the North” cheers could be heard for several blocks around the downtown area, where a portion of Peel Street is closed to become Montreal’s own Jurassic Park.
Toronto Raptors fans are watching Game 5 of the NBA Finals on a giant screen set up where the F1 festivities took place.
Toronto and Montreal’s sports rivalry is notorious, but local basketball fans are putting their differences aside and lending their support to the neighbouring province.
“It’s the one time when I get to come out here and support a Toronto team and not be shunned,” McGill University student Gabe Recke-Smith said jokingly.
Even Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante admitted to being on the Raptors bandwagon.
“I have to say, basketball is a very exciting sport,” she said after a press conference for an unrelated matter Monday afternoon.
Since Montreal has no NBA team, Plante said she felt free to throw her support behind the rival city’s team.
When asked if she foresees an NBA expansion in Montreal, she said the city hasn’t been approached. And if it happens, it’s a question she will have to ask Montrealers.
Peel Street is closed between De Maisonneuve Boulevard West and Sainte-Catherine Street and will re-open Tuesday morning.
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