While I must admit, I am more into cuddling/huddling, I do love Canadian football – it’s in my blood. There is something so exciting about watching sports live and cheering on the hometown team. So I brought my boys to BMO Stadium to watch the big guys run, catch, huddle and yes tackle.
And the Toronto Argonauts make it a family-friendly experience. Here’s how to do game day with kids in TOw:
Get game tickets in the family section: Stadium tickets start at $20. Section 127 (lower northwest corner) is the designated family section. They got rules “no standing during play, no foul language or unruly behaviour.” It’s a great view, easy to get to from the main gates, covered and shaded from the afternoon sun and there are still lots of die-hard fans in the mix to liven up the game experience.
Join the Kids’ Club: This was the first year for the Argos Kids’ Club, a membership that gives the littlest fans kid-sized Argo swag and special access to games, events and contests.
It’s not all football: Like most professional sporting events, the spectacle is more than just the game. My kids are not at all obsessed with sports but the action on the field, scoreboard, half-time performance, dancing cheer squad and of course the touchdown celebrations had my guys entertained (though it may not look like it below — it was hot that day.) It can also get loud – for the babes in TOw consider bringing noise cancelling headphones.
Get there early and tailgate: Yes – tailgating with your kids! This year the Argos have added a pre-game party in the Ontario Place parking lot. (Buy passes before the game, or you can arrive day of, but space is limited and not guaranteed.) Bring a portable BBQ, lawn chairs and set up camp. No car? No problem. The Shipyard Fan Zone (located southeast of BMO Field on the north side of Lakeshore Blvd) is a free (with your game ticket) fan-fest style tailgate party with pre-game games and activities.
Little Cheerleaders in TOw: The Argos Cheerleaders offer a Junior Cheer program aimed to promote physical fitness, self-esteem and teamwork. Kids 5-15 can learn the basic cheerleading and dance and have a chance to perform in front of thousands of people during an Argos game. Cost: $150.
Getting there: BMO Stadium is located between the Gardiner Expressway and the Lakeshore in the Exhibition Grounds. Driving, there are hundreds of parking spots Exhibition Place with rates varying from $15 to $20, depending on other events happening in the area. Directions on transit here.
Strollers: Yes you can bring them but they must be checked at the Gate 3 Fan Services location.
Nursing mothers: Go to one of the Fan Services locations near Gate 1, Gate 3 and outside section 207 to be taken to a more private location.
Potty time: Family washrooms with a change table are located near sections 109, 116, 206, 210, 223, & 226. All men’s and women’s washrooms are equipped with baby change tables.
Snacks: No outside food or drink (we bring water bottles.) Typical snacks and food available for purchase.
Mark your calendars: Next game is the Labour Day re-match against arch rivals Hamilton Ti-Cats on Sunday, September 11th at 4:30 p.m. Tailgating begins at 11 a.m. and the Argos will be honouring Olympians who competed at Rio — Penny Olesiak will do the ceremonial coin toss. Last home games: Monday, October 10th at 4 p.m. against Calgary and Saturday, October 15th at 4 p.m.
Grey Cup: If you’re not already a football fan, this year is the year to get into. Toronto is hosting the 104th Grey Cup.
Post-game: You can bring the Argos to your school. For over 10 years, Toronto Argonauts’ Huddle Up Bullying Prevention Program brings Toronto Argonauts players, cheerleaders, program staff and the Canadian Safe School Network to schools to empower students and talk about the positive role of bystanders and speaking up when something doesn’t feel right.