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Viewing parties and lit-up landmarks: Canada prepared to honour return of Toronto Blue Jays

Last Updated Jul 29, 2021 at 2:46 pm EDT

Fans arrive at the Rogers Centre for the Toronto Blue Jays season opener against the New York Yankees in Toronto, Thursday, March 29, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Fran Gunn

The City of Toronto and the country as a whole are eagerly bracing for the return of the Toronto Blue Jays, who will begin a highly anticipated homestand at the Rogers Centre on Friday.

The Blue Jays were granted approval to play in Toronto through an exemption, confirmed by the federal immigration minister’s office, which will allow players to cross the border without being subject to Canada’s COVID-19 travel restrictions.

The CEO of Niagara Falls Tourism says landmarks, such as the iconic American falls, will be lit up to honour Canada’s baseball team.

“Niagara Falls Tourism and our destination’s experiences are thrilled to join Canada in celebrating the return of the Toronto Blue Jays,” Janice Thomson said in a statement.

“The illumination of Niagara Falls in blue [and] white is a breathtaking welcome home for Canada’s beloved Blue Jays and a unique symbol of the united support the team has received from both nations these past two years.”

Niagara Falls Tourism says the Skylon Tower and Fallsview Casino will also be collaboratively illuminated in blue and white Thursday to celebrate the team’s return to Toronto from 10:00 to 10:30 p.m.

Boston Pizza is also playing a part in welcoming the Blue Jays and its many hungry fans back in a special way after 590 days.

The restaurant chain says five participating locations from coast to coast will be hosting viewing parties when they return home for the first time since September 29, 2019.

Guests will have an opportunity to win Blue Jays swag and enjoy free drinks and snacks while they catch the first home game. The five locations are:

  • Langford BP – Victoria, BC
  • Southport BP – Calgary, AB
  • Cityplace Mall BP – Winnipeg, MB
  • Ajax BP – Ajax, ON
  • Water Street BP – St. John’s, NFLD

 

Finally, Mayor John Tory thanked fellow Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown for allowing the Blue Jays to play at Sahlen Field in each of the past two seasons.

“Thank you to the City of Buffalo and Mayor Byron Brown for welcoming our Blue Jays with open arms during the pandemic,” Tory wrote. “I hope that one day we can catch a game together in Toronto. Toronto is ready to welcome our Jays back home.”

The Blue Jays will host a maximum of 15,000 fans per game at Rogers Centre with mask requirements and other public health measures in place.

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