100th Grey Cup was a Canadian Woodstock

The Toronto Argos win the 100th Grey Cup in Toronto Nov. 25, 2012.

Credits: Craig Robertson/Toronto Sun/QMI Agency


TORONTO -- It just doesn't get any more Canadian.

It had everything quintessentially Canuck -- from a classic CFL football game to a spectacle for the ages to our usual tendency of eating our young.

Being at the 100th Grey Cup was like being at a Canadian Woodstock.


People will brag that they were there.

Electrifying, thunderous, out of control. The crowd was on fire both inside the Rogers Centre and later outside.

This atmosphere was perhaps not seen in Toronto since the Maple Leafs last Stanley Cup win in 1967, and certainly not since the Blue Jays won the World Series in 1992 and 1993.

"This is fantastic," said one fan. "The Argos won the Grey Cup at home and so far in 2012 the Leafs have not yet lost one game."

Yes, there's nothing like winning a championship on home turf for putting a city in a good mood. It's especially marvellous when it's the 100th Grey Cup handed out.

Who wrote this script?

Mark Cohon, David Braley, Jim Barker and Argo fans wrote it in the pre-season. Ricky Ray, Chad Kackert, Chad Owens and crew performed the story line perfectly at the end of the season.

History was made.

Fans will remember this 100th Grey Cup in Toronto for a long time. Maybe they'll talk about it at the 200th classic in 2112.

Grey Cup 2012 will certainly go down as one of Toronto's finest hours.

"It's just so exciting," said Reno Demita, who came to his first Grey Cup game with his 11-year-old son Matthew.

It was.

There were so many highs at the game and during the entire week.

But there were some lows too.

There was no sign of that Calgary Stampeder horse during the game, which may be an excuse why touchdowns were hard to come by for the guys in red. And there was no paying homage to the Argo team that 60 years ago this week won the 40th Grey Cup on home turf at Varsity Stadium.

The youngest of those remaining players is 80, so it was more of a case of Toronto eating its elderly. It was an inexcusable and unnecessary snub.

Perhaps the biggest low was the way some of the 53,208 Rogers Centre fans actually booed halftime headliner Justin Bieber. They booed him when his picture was on the screen during the second quarter, they booed him when Brian Williams introduced him and they tried when he was singing.

"There aren't any 14-year-old girls here to scream for him," yelled one fan.

"Wrong fit," said another. "I wanted Rush for this. They could have called it not 2112 but 2012."

It was hardly the raucous reception to what he would normally be accustomed from his Beliebers but the 18-year-old superstar won this tough, CFL crowd over with a gutsy effort of singing and dancing.

There were enough people in the stadium with class to make sure it was a legion of boos.

The thing is the CFL was also thinking about the home audience too -- across the country and even an international interest since Bieber is as big a performer in entertainment as there is in the world today.

The twitterverse was alive with opinions on this subject and that is not all bad for the CFL and the Argos, which are not necessarily used to having that kind of social media time.

Meanwhile, Carly Rae Jepson and Marianas Trench both put on solid mini sets but the crowd seemed to reserve most of its fondness for legendary Gordon Lightfoot, who performed his famous Canadian Railroad Trilogy.

Johnny Reid was tremendous before the kick off and nobody is sure what happened with Burton Cummings and O Canada.

It was the bilingual version and while Burton had Prime Minister Stephen Harper and the whole crowd singing along, he kind of lost them when it appeared he dropped a stanza or something. It was difficult to tell, but something was amuck with the anthem for sure.

"I couldn't hear it," James Pioscia said. "I am not sure."

He and pals Dave Brummell, Scott Rooney and Mark Combat said the real pleasure of the evening was seeing a terrific, tough and memorable football game.


Any of the negatives of the day were mere warts on a beautiful masterpiece.

The 100th Grey Cup was a huge success -- and maybe the greatest sporting event held in Toronto in years and perhaps ever.

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