You don’t have to be a Toronto Raptors fan to enjoy the experience you will have when crossing the border into Canada for a game. The Raptors are the only NBA franchise located outside of the United States, and they use this to their advantage, making the playoffs the previous five seasons.
All experiences in this post will be based off our experience in Toronto at Scotiabank Arena, formally known as the Air Canada Centre, where they challenged and defeated the Chicago Bulls. Fortunately, we had the opportunity to see the Raptors before they traded away Demar DeRozan and fired their coach Dwayne Casey.
Scotiabank is in the heart of Toronto, right around a few of the main attractions that the city has to offer. It is across from the Rogers Centre (home of the Toronto Blue Jays) and the CN Tower, both are amazing things to see and should be on anyone’s list visiting the area. Also, the arena is steps away from Union Station, which is known as “Canada’s busiest transport facility”. We did see parking garages available for the stadium, but the public transportation to the stadium was so great we turned in our rental car early and committed to the trains.
If you are looking for a fun and innovative way to tailgate, Scotiabank is located across from Steam Whistle Brewery, which offers extremely cost-effective tours and drink options. There is food in the arena that will satisfy cravings while you watch your game, but I did not see anything too extravagant. We settled on snacks, sprite and popcorn, and saved our appetite for our final meal in the city at Real Sports Bar & Grill, which was also in walking distance and open late for people who attended the game.
Scotiabank itself was very impressive, as it was large, with a maximum capacity of 19,800. The coolest thing to me was Jurassic park (formally known as Maple Leaf Square), which is located outside of the arena. Essentially it is has grown into a public watch space for fans who cannot (for whatever reason) get inside of the venue. I have always seen this area packed full of fans, especially during playoff time for the Raptors, when ticket prices tend to soar. So even if you can’t get in, this makes for one of the most unique experiences possible when going to one of their games. There is no other arena in the U.S. that has an outside viewing area like the Raptors do.
We also happened to go on a night when Toronto celebrated their “Huskies Night”. A throwback night to when they were known as the Toronto Huskies, where everything was decorated with their old logo, even the jerseys. Overall, the throwback atmosphere and Raptors win made a memorable experience that we would recommend to anyone.