Calgarians To Ride Horse Into Toronto Hotel For Grey Cup

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NIK LEWIS YARDS
Calgary Stampeders' touchdown horse Quick Six and rider Karyn Drake celebrate a Stampeders touchdown during second half CFL football action against the Edmonton Eskimos in Calgary on Monday, Sept. 3, 2012. The Calgary Stampeders beat the Edmonton Eskimos 31-30.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh | AP

Members of Calgary's Grey Cup committee started leaving for Toronto today to take part in festivities surrounding the CFL's championship game this weekend.

Ald. Ray Jones, a longtime council representative on the Calgary committee, says he is looking forward to seeing rowdy Calgarians parade a horse through the lobby of the Royal York Hotel on Thursday morning — just like they did in 1948.

That year in CFL history is often remembered fondly by Calgary football fans as being the city's first Grey Cup win and a year that saw local fans bring pageantry to the championship festivities in Toronto.

"We've already got a room booked for the horse, so it should be pretty exciting," he said. "It's tough to get, you know we can't bring our own horse from here. We have to get them down there so we hope we don't get one that's spooky."

Jones says the Grey Cup events tend to get overlooked in Toronto, but he's hoping that with the hometown team in the big game this year Torontonians will get involved in some of the hoopla leading up to Sunday.

The Calgary Grey Cup Committee's preparations are already in full swing for the 100th Grey Cup.

The group, which is made up of about 100 volunteers from Calgary, has travelled to every host Grey Cup city to put on parties, pancake breakfasts and other events for the last six decades.

Up to 5,000 expected at pancake breakfasts

Committee chair Fletcher Armstrong flew out of Calgary this morning.

"Now it just makes it so much better that the Stampeders are in the final and playing in Toronto like they did in 1948 when the party first started," he said.

"We'll still bring to the table two breakfasts — 2,500 people per breakfast — passion for the game, passion for the Stampeders [and] passion for the CFL all around."

Stamps season ticketholder Don Strangward is also getting ready to meet a group of friends from across Canada in Toronto for the last, and most important game of the year.

"10 tickets, 11th row midfield — we're gonna light 'er up," he said as he walked out of the Stamps store at McMahon Stadium with a bag of Stampeders gear.

"A couple of the other fellas didn't have enough Stamps stuff so I'm loading here up here."

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