The party is far from over after thousands of Montrealers packed onto Peel Street in the city’s downtown core to cheer on the Toronto Raptors in their historic playoff run.
The first Canadian basketball team ever to make it to the NBA championships has sparked viewing parties all across the country. While it was once unthinkable for Montrealers to support a Toronto sports franchise, that didn’t seem to deter basketball fans and local merchants from joining in the city’s first Jurassic Park on Monday night.
“It was something I’ve never seen in Montreal,” said Alain Créton, the owner of Chez Alexandre et Fils on Peel Street. “It was so giant, grandiose, beautiful — so many people.”
As the Raptors hope to take the championship this Thursday, some basketball fans in Montreal hope there will be a second viewing party for game six. Dwight Walton, who was among those in attendance, said Montrealers want to show their support as the Raptors are on the verge of making history.
“In some way, shape or form, we need to have our own form of a Jurassic Park here in Montreal to support what could be a very historic event,” said Walton.
“I hope the city co-operates to have some sort of celebration.”
Stéphane Gauvin, the owner of Impact Media and producer of the Formula Peel event, said he and other organizers are working to ensure there will be another Jurassic Park. He says he was blown away by the turnout at the free event, which drew nearly 7,000 fans.
“We have to go until the end,” he said. “We have no choice.”
Organizers are in talks with the city to figure out how it can be done. Alex Brousseau, who works at Speakeasy Studio and Soubois, says the idea is to work with local authorities to make the viewing party a safe environment since they believe more fans will show up.
The City of Montreal did not respond when asked if they support keeping Jurassic Park, but organizers seem certain they will obtain the necessary permits in time for game six.
“For sure, it’s going to happen, yeah,” said Gauvin. “How exactly and where exactly is to be determined in the next few hours.”
The Toronto Raptors face off against the Golden State Warriors at 9 p.m. EST on Thursday.
WATCH: First in line at Jurassic Park, more than two and a half days ahead of Game 6 opening tip-off
— With files from Global News’ Dan Spector and Gloria Henriquez
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