Raptors Championship Parade and Rally #RealTalk

Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 478"There are no words. Today was one of the worst days of my life when it should have been one of the best, not just for the shootings, so many other fails by the City of Toronto and MLSE." That Tweet was sent by Brian this evening so I phoned him up to talk about it. This episode is exactly 40:51.

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Raptors Championship Parade and Rally #RealTalk

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Urooj Islam

The CP24 crime reporter/former cop that Brian was talking about is Steve Ryan, I believe.

June 17, 2019 @ 9:47 PM


Just had a listen.
I’m sorry, but I disagree with what most of Brian says. He could have left at any moment. He made the decision to stay. Brian is trying to blame The City for an event that was planned in four days. Mike, you made a comparison of today’s event to the Caribbean Carnival. The Carnival takes months and months of planning.
Same with the Santa Claus Parade.

I am wondering what Brian expected? Did he expect water bottles and boxed lunches to be served? How did he expect officials to limit attendance at an open, public square?
I’m not trying to sound disrespectful, but Brian sounded awfully entitled, demanding videos, entertainment, water and space around him. But he had a choice. And he chose to stay.
He complained that medics didn’t respond fast enough.
Events like this are a wake-up call for some people. We need to be responsible for our own personal safety. If you don’t feel safe, leave. Get yourself away from the masses.
What would Toronto look like if we suffered a catastrophic event? Waiting for the City to come and save you would not be a viable solution.

Just as an aside, Retrontario’s newsletter today included video footage of an Argo’s celebration parade. The attendees took over the Eaton Centre.
Today’s event wasn’t a first. And hopefully, it won’t be the last (Go Leafs Go).
But a parade is the last place you’ll find me.

June 17, 2019 @ 9:57 PM

Brian Gerstein (Raptors Devotee)

Yes, Urooj, you are correct. Thanks for letting everyone know.

June 17, 2019 @ 10:41 PM


Glad you are OK.
I love the Raptors & was going to take work off today but couldn't due to workload.
When I got home I watched the end of the parade & the speeches from players & MGT.
Matt Devlin calmed everyone down but surprised the players, etc. weren't escorted off the stage with the shooting. Shortly later another incident at Eaton Centre with 2 stabbings.
This was supposed to be a day of celebration for Canada but for the sake of a few people it wasn't.
Keep Safe Brian & a great discussion with Mike. Thanks.

June 17, 2019 @ 10:51 PM


I will listen to Brian’s take on thing on my way into work today, but I was at NPS by 7:15. People were friendly, lots of We the North chants. We shared food and water with others. By 1:15, it was different, people trying to fear out, and more people trying to get in causing a crushing and potentially unsafe situation. Add to that the fact that the Raptors were now delayed until 3, we made the decision to leave. Even that was tough as exit area was not visible (shortie here) and we ended up having to climb a fence to leave. I am not surprised that tensions escalated and the shooting occurred (saddened though for sure). Thankfully, we did see the parade pass by on Adelaide, so all was not lost.

To the parade planners, an F. There was no crowd control at NPS and it was desperately needed. I counter Anonymous’ “4 days to plan” - there are many parades in Toronto, and there must have been some contingency plans in the works before we won the championship. I cannot believe it could not have been better run, and why was arrival at NPS delayed 3 hours! That was unnecessary and caused hardship for those who did not come prepared with water and/or food, it was not supposed to be an all day wait at the square.

Next year (cause I hope for a repeat win 😊), will pick up the parade closer to the start.

June 18, 2019 @ 6:29 AM


“By 1:15 it was different, people trying to CLEAR out...”

June 18, 2019 @ 6:33 AM


Thank you for sharing Brian. I really thought we would get away from any kind of violence and stuff, sad that we couldn't.

Anonymous - their contingency plans could have included some more safety protocols - I don't know why they would assume a small crowd - it definitely should have happened today or tomorrow if they needed more time to figure other stuff out. And we should be able to rely on our city services if there is an emergency or a crisis situation. Brian could have left, but why should he when he wants to celebrate?

June 18, 2019 @ 7:59 AM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

MLSE said on Sunday they were expecting up to two million people, so they sure weren't expecting a small crowd.

And the "only four days to plan" argument doesn't hold water. This was always a possibility. In fact, this was the plan!!!!

June 18, 2019 @ 8:05 AM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

Having said that, this really was a tale of two parades. Everyone I've talked to who was on Lake Shore had a wonderful experience. There's the Lake Shore take, and the other take.

Hebsy and I will talk about our parade experience on Friday's Hebsy on Sports, although I shared a bit in this episode of Toronto Mike'd.

June 18, 2019 @ 8:07 AM


I'm literally almost finished listening to this. Will finish it off on my drive home today.

June 18, 2019 @ 8:10 AM


I think there was a lot of disappointment with the delays. Had everything ran on schedule - most of this wouldn't have happened. My wife and friend visiting from Portugal had a good spot at University/Queen at 11am. I was giving them updates as to the procession. I estimated the parade wouldn't reach them until at least 2. Just after 12 they packed it in and left entirely. They went to lunch, they went shopping at the Eaton Centre. They proceeded to get locked down in the CF building as they were super close to the shooting. They finally got released around 530 and came to my building. Not the experience anyone had hoped for. Like I said - had they kept to schedule this all could have been avoided. I understand that there was nothing to base the timing on - but 3 hours delay is ridiculous. I feel for the people at the NPS - lack of water, food. And if you went to the washroom you weren't getting back. Mike you did the smart thing going to Lakeshore.

June 18, 2019 @ 8:15 AM


I'll be disappointed though if Brian's jingle doesn't come on and he isn't presented the opportunity to ask himself a question.

"Hi Brian, this is Brian from PSR Realty...." :)

June 18, 2019 @ 8:16 AM


And as for these pieces of S*** who fired the gun - name them and charge them for more than just the shooting. This caused mass hysteria / stampede. This could have been so much worse. Just disgusting. And sadly this is what most of the international media will pick up on. I am still so angry.

June 18, 2019 @ 8:21 AM


I had an amazing (and quick) experience. Wasn't planning to attend the parade because of work but after seeing the scenes online I felt that I couldn't pass up the opportunity.

Took a late lunch and a short 15 minute subway ride to St. Andrews station, timed perfectly so I only waited about 10 minutes for the the parade to come through. Saw all the players up close and celebrated with the fans around me before I went back downstairs to the subway only 30 minutes after arriving. Got back to work in (a little bit over) an hour and enjoyed the rest of the day. A little taste at the perfect time was all I needed, and I'm glad I wasn't part of the mayhem downtown all day.

June 18, 2019 @ 10:20 AM

Al The Royal Pain

100% agreed. Charge them with possession attempted murder and and endangering the lives of thousands.

June 18, 2019 @ 10:29 AM


I work close to lakeshore. At lunch, I walked down to the parade and had an awesome experience. I went back to work, and caught some highlights on tv. I left work at around 3 and headed towards the subway. I thought I would go check out the square and it was insane. Night and day from what I experienced on lakeshore. I did get knocked over, and if that 1st surge of people did not let up, there would be fatalities - at least where I was by the burger place, northwest corner. Way too many people. I could not move. I will go to a future event, but I will select my spot carefully, and certainly not to NPS (or equivalent).

June 18, 2019 @ 12:10 PM


Correction - southwest corner

June 18, 2019 @ 12:16 PM


Correction - southwest corner

June 18, 2019 @ 12:16 PM


Correction - southwest corner

June 18, 2019 @ 12:16 PM


In 1973 I was in a lineup for a Neil Young concert at Queens College - when the doors opened for the general admission event the crowd surged for the doors - I was literally lifted off my feet and noticed the floor to ceiling windows flexing in their frames - after that my SOP - never get trapped in a crowd - risk> reward!

June 18, 2019 @ 1:49 PM

James Edgar

I was tempted to try and get downtown to catch some of the parade early in the day but seeing coverage early and how big the crowds were I passed. I just can't take that kind of crowding and waiting for hours would have made me very unhappy.

@Brian i think you should have bailed at some point it just doen't make sense to stay in the environment for such a long time. Of Course "that kind of crowding and waiting for hours would have made me very unhappy. "

Ultimately the responsibility lies with the TPS and the city for not having the resources in place to let the parade through in a timely manner. If the parade had gone as planned and arrived in a couple of hours it would have been much less of a mess.

June 18, 2019 @ 1:56 PM

Brian Gerstein (Raptors Devotee)

I covered that on the podcast James. Logically I should have, but I reached the point of having devoted so much time to sucking it up, risks and all, I wanted to see it out. Not smart, but that was my decision.

June 18, 2019 @ 2:02 PM


@Brian, you made it to BlogTO:

Also, as I was listening to your account, I was thinking where was St. Johns Ambulance? They are usually around for big events.. they should have had multiple stations at NPS!

June 18, 2019 @ 2:30 PM

Brian Gerstein (Raptors Devotee)

Thanks for the heads-up Lieve. Don't need any fame from it, but cool nevertheless. My goal is not to have what happened swept under the carpet and buried, as public safety, and you brought up a great point yourself, was unnecessarily put at huge risk when it never should have been.

June 18, 2019 @ 2:41 PM


Why was Trudeau shouting in the mike?
Why wasn't Trudeau holding a spliff, after all, his voters were all in front of him. Did you smell the amount of dope in the air?
Why didn't Dougie speak?

Just asking.

June 18, 2019 @ 2:57 PM

Urooj Islam


"Poorly Planned Parades in the SIX dot coooooooooooooooooooooooooooooom"

June 18, 2019 @ 4:27 PM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike


DoFo likely didn't speak because he's have been drowned out by the boos.

June 18, 2019 @ 4:37 PM

Rob J

People are veeeerrrryyy slooooowwwllly realizing that unless you make $250 000 or more, North American right-wing parties give zero craps about you. Voting smart is better than booing, but baby steps.

June 18, 2019 @ 7:11 PM


re: Toronto Mike: "@jj .... DoFo likely didn't speak because he's have been drowned out by the boos."

Tory & Trudeau got mostly cheers when introduced.

Ford was greeted with a loud chorus of boos on his introduction .... delicious & deserved.

Given Ford's SOP is simplistic revenge & continues to stick it to Toronto repeatedly, no surprise.

June 18, 2019 @ 7:54 PM

Rob J

Booed at the Special Olympics, at a tech conference, and now at event by people who were filled to the brim with elation. His current five-month holiday and needless attacks on those who will feel them the most fly in the face of his laughable 'for the people' mantra.

Further, he and his coked-up brother apparently were the only 2 councilors who voted against approving the building of the Raptors' practice facility even though there was to be no cost to the taxpayers!

We're through the looking-glass here, people.

June 18, 2019 @ 8:06 PM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

@Rob J

I believe he called it "hug a thug".

June 18, 2019 @ 9:02 PM

Rob J

That does ring a bell. The dog-whistle-politics of right-wing populism is a brown stain on modern politics and civility in general.

June 18, 2019 @ 9:13 PM

Brian Gerstein (Raptors Devotee)

It just hit me, as my original plan was to go with a friend of a friend, and bring two chairs with me for us to use, but I found out that no chairs were allowed. Had chairs been allowed people would have had a place to sit and space and capacity would be more easily controlled. Also they could have been allowed to bring in coolers even. Key missing was to have security check what you are bringing in and cap it off once full. So many things went horribly wrong and by sheer luck disaster was averted. Also by having a chair, and a location, you can leave for bathroom breaks and come back easily. My instincts were correct, to have a place to sit down, relax, watch the parade, and wait for them to enter.

June 18, 2019 @ 10:32 PM

Brian Gerstein (Raptors Devotee)

I just posted on Twitter, and let John Tory know, that he will in all likelihood be seeing both personal and even class action lawsuits come forward for willful negligence on their part. I can only allude to my own experience and what happened at Nathan Phillips Square. To have an estimated 100,000 people jammed in, double the capacity, and all of the issues as a result for the time frame it happened, was completely unacceptable.

When the Mayor of your City invites everybody to come out and support the team, encouraging employers to let their employees out, acting like a cheerleader and not as a Mayor with proper planning, he should be held accountable. Other parties such as MLSE would also be involved since they worked together with the City, but IMO the City are the ones who have to take the bulk of the responsibility, and the Mayor most accountable.

Regardless of what happens legally ahead, the City by sheer luck avoided a catastrophe for the shitfest they put on. They will be able to settle what I expect to come and the taxpayers will not be affected, but can you imagine had their been serious injuries and deaths inside? I don't even want to think of that happening, as it would have been a huge black eye on our city, not to mention the most important thing, the innocent people hurt or killed as a result.

Again, I want to see an inquiry on this, and find out if this really as Brad Ross said, was put together in 4 days!!!!! This is unfathomable for a city of our size.

June 19, 2019 @ 12:47 PM

Urooj Islam

I hope Brian becomes the official parade correspondent of Toronto Mike'd and reports back from every major parade in the city.

Next up, Pride!

June 19, 2019 @ 1:26 PM


Urooj, You are my favorite poster here. All others are a distance behind.

You crack me up daily.

All you other fools need to step your game up.

June 19, 2019 @ 1:39 PM

Brian Gerstein (Raptors Devotee)

Sign Me Up Urooj! New title, love it!

June 19, 2019 @ 1:44 PM

Urooj Islam

@Beatts Weird, because that's exactly how I feel about your posts, funniest stuff on this blog by far.

@Brian Gerstein Haha, glad you like it. Start planning for Pride and Caribana!

Anyways, the claim that they had "only 4 days" to plan the parade is such bullshit. From what I've read and heard, most cities begin to have a rough outline/plan for a parade in mind as soon as a local team makes the championship round.

Everyone in the city knew that the Raptors were going to the Finals on May 25th so at that point, the possibility existed that there could be a parade, probably a massive one. They should have handled all the logistics then but proving that we live in and around a total bush league city, they're acting like you plan the parade the day you clinch the championship. What a load of total horseshit.

The last people that should be blamed are fans like Brian who wanted to partake in a once in a lifetime type celebration simply for being fans. Blame our minor league, bush league city, not the great Raptors fans.

June 19, 2019 @ 2:08 PM

Brian Gerstein (Raptors Devotee)

Urooj, you made my day with your comments just now and I really appreciate it. Thanks Man!

June 19, 2019 @ 2:29 PM



June 20, 2019 @ 4:56 AM


MLSE probably thought that by not invited half their own staff would make the event manageable...talk about bringing the city together is hilarious for an organization that is so divisive! Truth needs to come out....

June 27, 2019 @ 11:06 PM

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