Live Sports Are Back and So Is Toronto
Posted on November 20, 2021
When I came back to Toronto in late August, the first thing I did was go and see a few Jays games with my friend. Finally being able to see live sports with a big crowd after well over a year was incredible and for the first time since I’d moved here for school, Toronto felt alive. When you walk down the streets on game days you’ll see hundreds of people in jerseys and shirts and hats heading to see the game and it’s something that the city had been sorely missing.
Image Credit: Steve Russell/Toronto Star
If you lived in Toronto, or really anywhere last year, you almost certainly felt a drastic difference between how it felt before and how it did then. This is obviously because of the pandemic, but in Toronto, I think it went a little deeper than that. The city felt completely dead, in a way that might seem normal in somewhere more rural but not in a big city like Toronto. Even as more things started to open up there was still this strange feeling like something was missing. Depending on who you ask, this could be a multitude of things, but for me, it was pretty clear. Before moving to Toronto for school, most of the times I visited was to see sports, whether that was the Jays or the Raptors or any of the other teams. The Toronto I knew was the big city where I would come to watch sports with these huge crowds, but moving here last year, that aspect was missing.
Image Credit: Christopher Hume/Toronto Star
This might sound pretentious but sports are, and have always been a reflection of society as a whole, and when the world shut down so did sports. As sports returned to much of the world though, they didn’t necessarily return to Toronto. The Leafs were able to play in Toronto albeit with no fans allowed to attend their games but the Blue Jays and Raptors were forced to play in the US until late July. Once they finally returned though, it felt as if the city did too. The streets are busy and the areas around the Rogers Centre and Scotiabank Arena, which had been empty for so long, were finally filled with fans again.
Image Credit: Joe Warmington/Toronto Sun
As I said, sports are a reflection of society and I think the state that they were in for the last year and a half perfectly mirrored that of Toronto. When the Jays and the Raptors were in the US and the teams that were here couldn’t have fans, the city just wasn’t the same. There were no big events for everyone to go to and no teams for the city to rally around. Obviously, the decreased COVID numbers have played a part in bringing Toronto back to life but I think that the return of live sports might have been the biggest change. There’s just something about live sports that brings the city to life unlike anything else. I don’t think people realized how important sports were to the city until it was taken away but now that it’s back, so is Toronto.