A once-in-a-lifetime celebration for Toronto Raptors fans on Monday was not without organizational problems, as millions of people waited to greet the NBA champions for the first time since their historic win.
Despite what city officials say was "intense" planning, the Raptors victory parade saw hours of delays amid euphoric chaos. Many people were left stranded without water or sufficient bathroom facilities in the midday heat. Others climbed traffic poles and buildings, or watched atop trucks to get a better view.
With no barricades to keep people off the main parade route, frenzied fans clogged the streets to join in the party just days after the Raptors beat the Golden State Warriors in Game 6 of the NBA Finals. This caused huge lags as the motorcade carrying the team and the trophy inched along, trying not to hit people jammed together like sardines along the sides of the five double-decker buses. The parade took more than four hours to wind its way through downtown Toronto, and the city came to a virtual standstill.
Brad Ross, the city's chief communications officer, insisted there were barricades set up along the five-kilometre route to keep the crowds back, but "in their exuberance," a wave of revellers dressed in red, white and black jumped over them.
"They were quickly ignored and people just took to the streets in an attempt to celebrate and be close to the team," he said Tuesday in an interview with CBC Radio's Metro Morning.
"Yes, it slowed things down significantly, but overall people were having a very good time, and that was really the point of the entire day."