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'Great way to include fans': Grey Cup passes through region

'It's not everyday you can say you had the Grey Cup in your driveway,' Argos season-ticket holder Bob Martinell says

One of the most iconic trophies in Canadian sports made its way to Barrie this morning and, despite the wintry weather, the Grey Cup had plenty of Canadian Football League fans pass by to see it. 

Bob Martinell has only been a season-ticket holder with the Toronto Argonauts for a few years, but says he's already enjoying the fruits of their labour. 

“This was a contest where ownership chose season-ticket holders of the Grey Cup-winning team and those chosen got to host the trophy for about 30 minutes or so on a given day,” Martinell said. “I think it's a great way to include fans, so I’m really excited about it.”

The Argos defeated the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, 24-23, on Nov. 20, 2022 to claim their league-leading 18th Grey Cup in franchise history. The Argos franchise was founded in 1873 and the Grey Cup was first awarded in 1909 to the Toronto Varsity Blues.

Martinell and his wife set up a tent in their east-end Barrie driveway and served hot drinks, which definitely came in handy for Friday’s weather.

“It's a snowy, cold day, but the sun is out, so it’s not too bad,” Martinell said as friends and neighbours showed up to get a picture with the CFL’s top prize. 

Rob Richardson, who helped bring the Grey Cup to Barrie, is an assistant manager of membership with Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment (MLSE), which owns the historic CFL franchise in Toronto. 

Richardson said the organization wanted to show its fans they appreciated their ongoing support.

“We’re taking the Cup to 109 fans, with this being the 109th Grey Cup. They’re a part of the team just as much as anyone else,” he said. “We’re going as far north as Parry Sound, east as far as Oshawa and west to Kitchener. We’ll even head south and stop by our friends near Tim Hortons Field in Hamilton.”

The Argos and Hamilton Tiger-Cats, a franchise established in the Steel City in 1950, have one of the CFL’s longest-standing rivalries. The Grey Cup's visit to Hamilton could be a sore point, as Ti-Cats fans haven’t seen their team win the big prize since 1999. Toronto, meanwhile, has won it four times in those 24 years — including 2004, 2012, 2017, and 2022.

On Friday, the Grey Cup sat on a table with some Argos merchandise. Martinell was decked out in his Double Blue, the Toronto team's iconic colours, while passersby slowed down to see what was going on.

“This is wonderful and I think MLSE did a great job getting their promotion going,” he said. “It's not everyday you can say you had the Grey Cup in your driveway.”