11/22/2012 11:21 EST | Updated 01/22/2013 05:12 EST

Calgary Stampeders' Horse Marty Allowed Entry To Toronto's Royal York Hotel


It's all about tradition before big sporting events and the Grey Cup is no exception.

However, as Calgary Stampeders fans cheered on, Marty the horse was denied entry to Toronto' Royal York Hotel.

Staff at the tony downtown hotel would not let a 15-year-old dark brown stallion through its front doors — a practice that Stamps fans started in 1948 when they rode a horse through the Royal York lobby.

By tradition, the Stampeders parade a horse in a hotel when the team vies for the Grey Cup.

Hotel spokeswoman Kerry Ann Kotani says Marty couldn't go inside due to safety concerns for staff and guests.

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A large crowd of Stampeders fans dressed in red jerseys and cowboy hats gathered outside to try to persuade the hotel to change its mind, chanting: "Let us in!" "We want the horse!" and "Go Stamps go!"

Instead, the hotel rolled out a red carpet to welcome Marty and offered him a bucket of carrots and apples.

The horse's rider, Calgary Grey Cup committee chairman Fletcher Armstrong, says he was disappointed the hotel wouldn't budge — especially since it's the 100th anniversary of the Grey Cup.

A blow to the high spirits for the Grey Cup final this weekend in Toronto. The tradition is seen as a good luck charm for Calgary.

WestJet airlines added additional flights to Toronto after the Calgary Stampeders beat the B.C. Lions, making their way to to the finals.

The Grey Cup game between the Calgary Stampeders and the Toronto Argonauts is on Sunday at Rogers Centre.

With files from CP