Reasons to Visit Calgary for the 2019 Grey Cup

Calgary Stampeders fans, McMahon Stadium
Calgary Stampeders fans, McMahon Stadium
CFL Celebrations

Reasons to Visit Calgary for the 2019 Grey Cup

An invitation from some diehard CFL fans to attend the biggest party in Canada

In late November 2019, Calgary will host the nation for the 107th Grey Cup Championship. As a CFL diehard (and one of the leaders of the CFL Horsemen), there was no question that I was thrilled to find out the game was coming to my hometown. Not just because I knew I could sit in my season ticket seat for the game, but also because I know Calgary always rises to the occasion when any opportunity to host any kind of spectacle.

Even though we’re all excited to watch the Grey Cup in Edmonton, we can’t wait to welcome the country to Calgary in November, and a party like this in our city can’t be missed. 

Here are the top 7 reasons I’d recommend you come and join the party in 2019:

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Calgary Stampeder fans tailgate

Calgary Stampeder fans love to party.

Calgary Invented the Grey Cup Party

Fondly referred to as the Grand National Drunk, the Grey Cup has become an incredible festival and gathering of the who’s who, while remaining in reach of the average fan. That is in no small part to a few trainloads of Calgarians that swarmed Toronto to cheer the Stampeders on to victory in 1948. They rode horses through hotels, served up pancakes to anyone that would eat them and generally stayed pickled through their stay. Anyone who questions Calgary’s ability to party needs only stop by during the Stampede to get a true marker of what this city can do. You won’t be disappointed in the 2019 parties. 

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CFL fans cheering

Fans come together to celebrate the Grey Cup

Calgary Stampeders and Edmonton Eskimos fans

Camaraderie of Calgary and Edmonton fans – a sight at every Grey Cup!

The Camaraderie Among Foes

Of course, only two teams will make it to the game. That doesn’t stop fans of all teams from making the trek, and raising a glass in celebration or commiseration when discussing the fate of their football heroes. There are fans from American teams that don’t even exist anymore like the Las Vegas Posse, Memphis Maddogs, Birmingham Barracudas, and the Baltimore Stallions. Even the diehards for the Atlantic Schooners, awarded a franchise in 1984 but still waiting for a stadium to play in and therefore will celebrate 35 undefeated seasons, show up. All are welcomed and are brought together by their love of the game, which means that grudges are left at the door. We love hosting CFL fans from across the country, and you know that no matter what jersey you wear in Downtown Calgary, we’re ready to cheers to each other’s team! 

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Penguins at The Calgary Zoo

The Calgary Zoo

Interactive learning activities, TELUS Spark

TELUS Spark

Plenty to Do When Not Partying

Calgary is filled with unique experiences that aren’t football related. Whether it is strolling around the Calgary Zoo, stopping in for an education at TELUS Spark, having dinner at Sky360 - the rotating restaurant at the top of the Calgary Tower, or stopping in at one of Calgary’s many wonderful museums, there is a lot to offer the fan who’s elbow needs a break from the constant tipping of beverages.

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Keith Urban will perform at the Freedom Mobile Grey Cup Halftime Show in Calgary.

Keith Urban will perform at the Freedom Mobile Grey Cup Halftime Show in Calgary.

The Halftime Show

Four-time Grammy award-winner and country music superstar Keith Urban will take centre stage at the Freedom Mobile Grey Cup Halftime Show in Calgary. The reigning Entertainer of the Year is ready to headline the biggest sports event of the year and get CFL fans from across the country dancing.

The CFL and the organizing committees never fail to put on a whale of a Grey Cup Half Time Show. I’ve been to more than a handful of Grey Cups in my day, and during that time, I’ve seen The Guess Who, Theory of a Deadman, Blue Rodeo, Justin Beiber, Imagine Dragons, One Republic, and Shania Twain perform. Other past performers have included the Tragically Hip, Lenny Kravitz, and the Black Eyed Peas. 

We love to party during the Grey Cup, and the open air McMahon Stadium means there are a tons of opportunities for the halftime show to rock the city. 

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A traditional Calgary pancake breakfast at the Grey Cup.

A traditional Calgary pancake breakfast at the Grey Cup.

The Pancakes

Calgary’s Grey Cup Committee famously serves up flapjacks at the Grey Cup in the tradition of the Stampede Breakfasts that cover Calgary in a syrupy blanket of sweetness every July. Thousands of pancakes are served for free to all and have been for the last 70 years. Having the game in Calgary will likely mean there will be several opportunities to help that morning hangover with a helping of pan

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Calgary Public Transit C-Train

Ride the Calgary Transit C-Train to McMahon Stadium.

The Accessibility

Between the C-Train and our bus network, Calgary is very accessible to get around without a vehicle, and when a quicker ride is required, both taxis and ride share services like Uber and are also available. The LRT drops you off a short walking distance from historic McMahon Stadium, which offers an incredible view of the game from every seat. Walking to the game from the train will send you through the pre-game tailgate party, which is also something to behold. Run by fans, there is no end to the delicacies you can find around the stadium prior to game time, and the atmosphere is second to none in the CFL.

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CFL fans

Fans take in CFL action.

Calgary Stampeders, Grey Cup champions 2014

The Calgary Stampeders celebrate a Grey Cup win in 2014.

The Game

The Grey Cup is a game that is still relatively affordable. Unlike the NFL’s avian celebration, (I think they call it the Superb Owl…?) the Grey Cup game isn’t reserved for millionaires. Normally, a great game ticket is worth a few hundred bucks or less, and the game itself rarely disappoints. 15 of the last 20 games have been won by less than 10 points. The last 5 Grey Cups went to different teams, and the massive underdog has won the last two. The level of excitement for footballs oldest trophy is palpable and an incredible thing to be a part of. 

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The 2019 Grey Cup takes places on November 24 at McMahon Stadium. Tickets for the 2019 Grey Cup will become available in mid-year for fans to purchase, but it’s never too early to plan your trip for an epic time with football fans from across the country. Follow Tourism Calgary on Twitter, Facebook, and Snapchat for the latest Grey Cup updates. 

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By
Ryan Ballantine

Ryan is the Host of the Horsemen Radio Podcast available on all podcast platforms and at CFLHorsemen.ca 2019 will be his 8th Grey Cup.