Arts & Life
Canstar Community News
Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 24/11/2019 (260 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Popping champagne and blasting Queen's We Are The Champions over a speaker, Winnipeg Blue Bombers fans gathered on Portage and Main as their 29-year Grey Cup drought ended.
"We waited 29 years to celebrate something this big," said Jeff Baquiran. "I’m long overdue to run up and down Portage and Main and celebrate a Grey Cup win."
Police closed the intersection as fans were singing and cheering on their way over. Cars honks echoed through the streets with drivers laying on the horn in celebration.
People bunched together, began to sing the O Canada as loud as they could, followed with chants of "We won the cup."
Fans at the intersection couldn’t put into words how they were feeling.
"Ecstasy, how about that?" said Joe Soto.
The party started earlier in the night as Bomber fans arrived at the Boston Pizza in Cityplace mall.
Five o'clock hit at Boston Pizza and the lounge was packed with fans decked out in blue, some with blue and gold wigs.
It didn’t take long for the noise levels to rise. Player introductions began and cheering, blowing of noise makers and the ringing of a cowbell echoed throughout the restaurant.
"At the stadium you always hear the cowbell going off," said Jeff Baquiran. "You might as well bring it here and make lots of noise, you can’t be in Calgary, so go to a place and bring the atmosphere with you."
Fans of all ages were there to support their Bombers and they were all feeling a wide range of emotions.
"Since Thursday my heart rate's been a little bit high and I’ve been buzzing all week," said Kris Halaiko, a Bombers fan for more than 20 years.
"Excited. Nervous. Anxious. All those things," said Pat Twozd.
The noise levels continued to rise prior to kickoff.
The Hamilton Tiger-Cats called heads during the opening coin toss and the Boston Pizza lounge erupted when the referee said it landed on tails.
Fans removed their hats and channeled their inner Winnipeg Jets and screamed out "Blue" during the national anthem, when True North is usually shouted at Jets games.
Fans cheered throughout the opening kickoff and got louder when the Bombers made a quick tackle.
"You’re surrounded by Bombers fans, it’s almost like you’re at Investors Group Field with all the noise and everything," said Baquiran.
Momentum stayed with the Bombers as Adam Bighill recovered a fumble after Willie Jefferson, the CFL’s Most Outstanding Defensive Player, knocked the ball out of Tiger-Cats quarterback Dane Evans’ hands.
On the next play, Bombers running back Andrew Harris ran the ball 15 yards for the first score of the game.
Longtime Bombers fan, Brian Bollenbach, pushed himself off of his chair and ran around to high-five everyone in the lounge. Bollenbach said he wasn’t nervous for the game and a Grey Cup win would mean everything to him.
"There are no words, I’ll be so emotional, I’ll be crying," said Bollenbach.
After every Winnipeg score, the servers gave out Blue Bombers merchandise, free food and discounts on bills.
The Bombers offence had success throughout the first half and fan chants of 'go blue go' were echoing throughout the bar.
Meghan Dare and Matthew Fiola were making a lot of noise with a group of friends and said they were there to watch the first two playoff games as well.
"We decided to all come here again, we’re a little superstitious," said Fiola.
"Who’s got the Cup? We got the Cup," chants roared through the restaurant during the final minutes of the game.
It took 29 years, but fans can say the city is the CFL champion once again.
Updated on Sunday, November 24, 2019 at 11:11 PM CST: Updates images and adds video
November 25, 2019 at 7:57 AM: Corrects typo
The Winnipeg Free Press invites you to share your opinion on this story in a letter to the editor. A selection of letters to the editor are published daily.
Letters must include the writer’s full name, address, and a daytime phone number. Letters are edited for length and clarity.