Royal York changes its mind about horse guest
Chris Fox, cp24.com
Published Thursday, November 22, 2012 11:12AM EST
Last Updated Thursday, November 22, 2012 4:31PM EST
It was hardly a Royal welcome.
In fact for fans of the Calgary Stampeders and their galloping mascot Marty it was more like the Royal shaft.
The 15-year-old horse, standing in for the stallion famous for racing up and down the sidelines of McMahon Stadium after Stampeder touchdowns, rode up to the Royal York Hotel Thursday morning with throngs of Stamps fans in tow.
However, when the horse’s handler tried to ride him inside the hotel he was refused entry.
This, despite chants of “let him in” from a boisterous crowd eager to see a memorable moment from the 1948 Grey Cup celebrations recreated in the lead up the 100th Grey Cup.
“We are here for the 100th anniversary and to take the horse into the hotel just like we did in 1948,” Marty’s handler Fletcher Armstrong told reporters. “If we get our horse in we’ll be happy, happy, happy.”
Alas, it wasn’t meant to be.
The horse was given a hearty meal by hotel staff, but ultimately refused entry.
But just after 1 p.m., officials at the hotel changed their mind and decided to keep with Grey Cup tradition.
"After listening to feedback and speaking with the Grey Cup organizing committee, the Fairmont Royal York has decided to continue the tradition of letting the horse into the hotel," says a news release issued by the hotel. "We are pleased to be a part of the 100th Anniversary Grey Cup and are looking forward to all of the excitement this weekend."
The hotel had previously put out a press release saying the horse would not be allowed in out of concern for the “health and safety of guests.”
“It would have been nice if he had made it inside, so it’s a little sad, but it’s still exciting just to have him here,” a member of the Stampeders cheerleading team told CP24 outside the Royal York Hotel.
After leaving the Royal York Hotel, Marty headed for the intersection of King and Bay streets before walking into the lobby of First Canadian Place and stopping by two nearby pubs.
At 4 p.m., he is expected to attend a function at the Holiday Inn on Carlton Street, where he will be allowed inside.
As for whether the horse will be allowed to pace the sidelines during the Grey Cup Sunday, Armstrong was cryptic.
Officials with the 100th Grey Cup organizing committe have previously said that the layout of the Rogers Centre may not provide enough space to allow the horse inside.
“It’s very possible he’ll be there, but I can’t let that out of the bag,” Armstrong said.
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