711 Words About BMO Field

 

I attended the Argos’ first regular season game at new BMO field on June 23rd, 2016 and here’s my rant.

The Shipyard (A for effort, C+ for execution)

Something

Notice everyone standing around sans beer.

This was the official (non-tailgate) pre-game party  It was virtually impossible to purchase beer from the bartenders whom ostensibly couldn’t handle making change.  Even more difficult was purchasing food from the 50+ person line.  Unless…

That monstrosity took up a lot of precious event space and hardly seemed patroned, with piles of uneaten food sitting on the table.

…you had the magic TSN wristband.  There were piles of uneaten food there.

One great idea worth mentioning was the setup of traditional tailgate games (lots of bean bag toss) spread throughout the grounds, though there was hardly any room to play or walk between them. This place was jammed and I’m sure that’s the last thing anyone expected at an Argos game!

Something

Every game had a player, an obvious hit.

Tailgating (?)

I can’t comment on it directly because I didn’t drive there.  However, the rules say you need to purchase a “pass” in advance (limited number) for one of the two designated lots.  Upon arrival you’ll be searched for contraband and be forced to purchase beer from the Argonauts directly.  No word on whether Kathleen Wynne has appointed a Minister in Charge of Tailgating to manage this bureaucratic mess or when she’ll allow the sale of cider or wine in parking lots.

Beer Pricing (B)

Sigh.

Branding is always a work in progress with the Argos.

A lot of advertising was done concerning $4 cans at the pre-game parties which seemed too good to be true.  It was, turns out $4 is what you pay for a baby can of Bud Light, otherwise it’s $7 for a tall boy.  I do give them extra points for the sale of buckets of beer.  Five piss lights for $20 or three tall boys of anything else Labatt for $21 in a bucket filled with ice!  $16 for the plastic draft above inside BMO.

BMO (B)

Don't be fooled, the seats are all red, they just put t-shirts over all of them before the game.

Don’t be fooled, the seats are all red, they just put t-shirts over all of them before the game.

Looks 90% like old Winnipeg Stadium, the only difference being everything is red instead of blue and gold.  They built the upper decks new for this season and promptly buggered up bathroom allotment in the process (just like Hamilton!).  No line for the women’s but you were waiting a solid fifteen minutes for the men’s.  That’s the difference between having a great night and pretending some Rider fan spilled beer in your lap.

Food @ BMO (D)

Better than Hamilton because it doesn't have stairs in the middle of the concourse.

Concourses are better than Tim Horton’s Field because they don’t have stairs in the middle where people like to walk.

Terrible.  Hot dogs, burgers, pulled pork or two food trucks (the only saving grace).

Atmosphere (B+)

Best game day atmosphere in Toronto since the 100th Grey Cup.  There’s a long way to go because there was a huge block of empty (corporate?) seats at center field in the upper deck.  Still, you could see how the place might conceivably sell out and get rowdy on a nice weekend afternoon.

Overall (B)

It’s better than SkyDome (so far, in the summer) no doubt about that.  We’ll see after the weather turns and the leaves drop but it’s a palpable improvement over the game day experience CFL fans in Toronto had previously.

Is it Winnipeg? No.

Though they did their best to steal the cannon!

Though they did their best to copy-cat the cannon!

Is it Saskatchewan? No.

Is it Hamilton? No, but pretty close and I didn’t see anyone getting the bum’s rush which is more than I can say about football at their previous venue.

Lost in the revelry over BMO Field’s reopening is the irony of the whole situation.  Tens of thousands of CFL fans whom attended “the Rain Bowl” Grey Cup in 1982 converged at City Hall the following day and began chanting “We want a dome!”  24 years later the fans, like children tired of an old toy, have returned to the exact same location (albeit different stadium), having rejected SkyDome.  The 104th Grey Cup, to be played on November 27th, at the same site as “the Rain Bowl” has a historical average daytime high of 4.9C with a 33% chance of rain.

Still better than Regina.

All weather aside, there is smoother sailing ahead for Jason and the Argonauts and as they say, what’s good for Toronto is good for league.

4 thoughts on “711 Words About BMO Field

  1. Hello;

    I enjoy reading all you put on the web. I like how can be sarcastic about those eastern teams and I hope that the Bombers do better this season but so far a dismal start.

    Gerry

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