Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Saturday November 18, 2023
Grey Cup Fever: A Welcome Escape from November’s Gloom”
As the chill of November settles in, bringing with it the gloom of dreary weather and the weight of troubling news, Canadians find solace and excitement in the arrival of the Canadian Football League’s (CFL) Grey Cup. The coveted trophy has made its way to Hamilton, setting the stage for the championship clash between Winnipeg and Montreal on Sunday, Nov. 19.
In a time when headlines are dominated by war, inflation, conflict, and a cost of living crisis, the Grey Cup festivities offer a much-needed diversion. The city of Hamilton is gearing up for a week-long celebration, with events scattered across town, promising entertainment and joy for everyone.
While the Hamilton Tiger-Cats won’t be vying for the 110th Grey Cup after being eliminated by Montreal, the game on Sunday is just one part of the spectacle. The CFL has orchestrated a series of events, many of which are free, ensuring that the entire community can join in on the excitement.
The festivities kick off with the Grey Cup’s grand entrance on His Majesty’s Canadian Ship (HMCS) Harry DeWolf. Although the ship’s arrival is exclusive to the media, the official Grey Cup arrival ceremony, set against the backdrop of the Arctic-defending vessel, is open to all onlookers at HMCS Star Naval Reserve Division.
One of the week’s highlights is the CFL Fan Central, reminiscent of the popular Supercrawl, taking over James Street N. from Thursday at 11 a.m. This event promises a vibrant atmosphere with a beer garden, food trucks, inflatables, a Christmas market, giveaways, games, and more.
For those seeking a taste of Calgary Stampede without leaving Hamilton, the Calgary Grey Cup Committee is hosting a free breakfast on James Street on Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Meanwhile, a community race involving 2,000 students will see them sprint from Gage Park to Tim Hortons Field, adding a touch of youthful enthusiasm to the festivities.
Music enthusiasts are in for a treat with the kickoff to the music festival on Thursday, featuring local talent like The Dirty Nil and Montreal’s NOBRO. The music festival, running from Friday to Saturday, promises a diverse lineup of performances, offering a respite from the anxieties of the outside world.
Beyond the game itself, fans have the opportunity to interact with CFL players, get autographs, and capture memorable moments with the Grey Cup at the Canadian Football League Players’ Association headquarters.
Even the annual Hamilton Santa Claus Parade is getting a Grey Cup twist, as CFL cheer teams and the trophy itself become part of the spectacle. As the parade weaves through the streets of downtown Hamilton, festival-themed giveaways will add an extra layer of cheer to the event.
Sports enthusiasts can head to the John Weir Foote Armoury on James Street N. to witness the Hamilton Flag Football Classic—a three-day tournament featuring teams from across southern Ontario and the chance to meet CFL alumni.
The week concludes with the CFL’s 2023 awards ceremony at the Fallsview Casino Resort in Niagara Falls, providing a glamorous setting for recognizing outstanding achievements in Canadian football.
In a world filled with uncertainties, the Grey Cup festivities serve as a welcome distraction, offering a chance for the community to come together, celebrate, and momentarily escape the weight of November’s gloom. So, as the Grey Cup takes center stage, let us embrace the joy it brings and revel in the shared experience of a much-needed diversion. (AI)