Jubilant Raptors fans decked out in team gear jammed downtown Toronto for a parade for the NBA champions.
Crowds packed the route and the square outside City Hall where the march is to end in the afternoon. Fans, many skipping school and work, filled the streets and subways as early as 7 a.m.
Kailua native, ‘Iolani graduate and Raptors General Manager Bobby Webster took to the microphone during the celebration starting a chant of “We The Champs”, a play off of one of Toronto’s team slogans of “We The North”.
Former University of Hawaii guard/forward Phil Handy who is currently an assistant coach with the Raptors, celebrated his second NBA championship, as he won a ring with the Cavaliers in 2016, as part of his five consecutive NBA Finals appearances dating back to his time with Cleveland.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau attended briefly. Mayor John Tory declared Monday “We The North Day” in Toronto, after the NBA champions’ slogan.
Some 1.5 million fans filled the streets for the parade. The Raptors traveled in open-air double-decker buses with the NBA championship trophy.
Star guard Kyle Lowry, the team’s longest-serving member, said on Twitter: “Grandma I know you front row already!!”
The last time the city held a sports celebration of this magnitude was after the Toronto Blue Jays won the World Series in 1993.