Toronto Argos crowned 100th Grey Cup champs
The Canadian Press
Published Sunday, November 25, 2012 11:13PM EST
Last Updated Sunday, November 25, 2012 11:16PM EST
TORONTO -- The Toronto Argonauts claimed a place in Canadian football history Sunday when they were crowned the 100th Grey Cup champions over the Calgary Stampeders in front of a sellout crowd in their hometown.
Many of the 53,000 CFL fans packed into Toronto's Roger Centre for the historic game rose to their feet and erupted into deafening roar as the final seconds ticked off the Argos' 35-22 win.
The title is particularly special for the city, whose University of Toronto Varsity Blues team won the first Grey Cup trophy in 1909.
The highly-anticipated, sold-out game Sunday got off to a quick start. Chad Owens, an Argos fan favourite and this year's CFL oustanding player, scored the first touchdown minutes into the game.
The crowd -- many dressed in Argos blue -- waved flags, blew into plastic horns and bellowed out the team's trademark chant -- "Arrrrgoooooooos!" -- throughout the high-stakes match between the East and West Division champions.
Those dressed in Stampeders red could also be heard screaming "Go Stamps Go!" at the start, but were given little chance by their team to cheer in the second half of the game.
From the start, both CFL teams had a lot on the line for a win.
Calgary hadn't won a Grey Cup since 2008 and Toronto, which has been struggling for the past few years to increase its fan base, hadn't hoisted the trophy since 2004.
And the last time the Argos won the Grey Cup at home was in 1952 when they beat the Edmonton Eskimos.
Argos fan Justine Bertrand came to the game from nearby Ajax, Ont., with her mother, father, husband and six-year-old son Aedan.
She says football is a family affair and a win for the double-blue will show the rest of Canada that Toronto is a still a football town.
"It would mean a lot to this city because the city has nothing to cheer about right now," Bertrand said. "It will mean a lot to the fans because there are faithful fans in this city that nobody remembers."
Bertrand was ecstatic at the turnout for the game.
"This feels good to see everybody out here," she said.
And although the mood inside the stadium was mainly jovial, the crowd was quick to boo during the game's controversial halftime show.
Both times when a photo of teen idol Justin Bieber was shown on the JumboTron, the crowd erupted into boos.
And when the superstar from Stratford, Ont., hit the stage following performances by Carly Rae Jepsen Jepsen, pop-punk bank Marianas Trench, and Canadian rock legend Gordon Lightfoot, the fans continued with long and enduring jeers.
Governor-General David Johnston, Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty, Toronto Mayor Rob Ford and Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi also attended the game.
Ford and Nenshi had made a public bet on the outcome of the decisive game, with the mayor of the losing city promising to donate his weight in food to a food bank and wear the winning team's jersey to a council meeting.
Argos fan Jamie Wolodarskym says the Argos are long overdue for a win and a win at home is just icing on the cake.
"It means everything," said the 40-year-old Toronto man.