Canada’s 150th birthday celebration in the capital is a step closer to securing another major event. In fact, perhaps the biggest one of them all.
What’s long been rumoured / speculated / expected will soon be set in motion at Ottawa city council, and on Monday, the Ottawa Sports & Entertainment Group (OSEG) confirmed their bid for the 2017 Grey Cup has been submitted to the CFL board of governors.
And while the awarding of the 105th Grey Cup may be pretty much a done deal, the pressure is definitely on the Redblacks to make it something special, befitting of the country’s sesquicentennial.
(I had to look that up).
Some elements to consider:
Half-time show: Securing a big name half time act is key and you have to think there will be pressure to go Canadian. Lots of very talented Canadians doing great things in music, but this could be tough. Could they get someone like Drake to do it? Are groups like the Sam Roberts Band or Sheepdogs a big enough draw? Kardinal Offishall featuring Neil Young or Anne Murray?
Stadium upgrades: It’s always nice to show off a little when hosting friends from out of town, so why not throw a few extra bucks into TD Place? An east-end scoreboard would be amazing. Some work on the North Side concessions would be welcome, too.
Alumni: Bring in as many as you can find to as many events as possible. Renegades included. And we need lots of quality Russ Jackson time. Would be an opportune time to have a statue of the legend made.
Parliament Hill: Do something really cool there. Maybe a good start or end for the Grey Cup parade.
Another Trudeau Kick-Off? I’m not a huge fan of mixing sports & politics, but those Pierre Trudeau kick-offs are a great slice of Canadiana. Great opportunity to re-kindle the memories and give Justin some air time. So camera-shy, that one.
There will be plenty of time to discuss these and other ideas for making Grey Cup 105 the best event it can be. But before we look too far forward, let’s take a quick peek back at Ottawa’s history as Grey Cup hosts.
1925 Grey Cup
In the 12th Grey Cup game, played on Dec. 5th, your Ottawa Senators Football Club defeated the Winnipeg Tammany Tigers 24-1 in front of 6,900 rowdy Ottawans at Lansdowne Park. This would also be Ottawa’s first Grey Cup championship. Huzzah!
1939 Grey Cup
Played on Dec. 9th, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers edged the home town Ottawa Rough Riders 8-7 in the 27th edition. The home team was robbed, no doubt.
1940 Grey Cup
Bit of an asterisk here, as the 28th Grey Cup was a two-game total points series between the Toronto Balmy Beach Beachers (terrible name) and the Ottawa Rough Riders. Games were played Nov. 30th (Toronto’s Varsity Stadium) and Dec. 7th (Lansdowne Park). The Riders took both ends of the series – by scores of 8-2 and 12-5 – to win Ottawa’s third Grey Cup.
1967 Grey Cup
It would be 27 long years before Ottawa would again host the Grey Cup. Played on Dec. 2nd, the Hamilton Tiger-Cats beat the heck out of Saskatchewan 24-1. 31,358 showed up to watch.
WATCH: Short film from the National Film Board on the 1967 Grey Cup (h/t to @pinemud)
1988 Grey Cup
Ottawa waited another 21 years for their next opportunity to play host. The 76th edition of the Grey Cup was played on Nov. 27th, with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers edging the BC Lions 22-21. Our friends at Wikipedia capture the storylines nicely:
This was the first Grey Cup game between two teams from west of Ontario, and the first to be won by a team which had only a .500 season.
2004 Grey Cup
This event was essentially the swan song for the Ottawa Renegades franchise. During Grey Cup week, the Ottawa Sun broke the story that Brad Watters’ ownership group was working on selling the three-year-old franchise to the father-son-ownership-group-that-shall-not-be-named.
The game took place on Nov. 21st, with the Damon Allen-led Toronto Argonauts defeating the Lions 27-19.
I was fortunate enough to attend this game. My first Grey Cup, in fact. Couple of blurry memories:
- While I had my ticket on me, no one ever asked to see it nor was it ever scanned. Honour system, I guess.
- Shortly after Allen took the field for the first time, I made sure to yell out “Ho-bart!” Yep, I’m that awesome.
- Metal benches on the South Side upper deck weren’t ideal on a chilly night. Not that I really had a chance to get cold with so many people rammed into each row. More like seat suggestions, really. Very sardine can-like.
- Getting to the bathroom at halftime was probably the worst experience of my life. Missed all of the Tragically Hip and about the first eight minutes of the 3rd quarter.
What will Grey Cup 105 (Presented by Shaw) have in store for Ottawa? No doubt a home game would be music to #RNation’s ears.
Speaking of which:
Thanks for reading!