Big changes are coming to the Toronto Argonauts’ fan scene. Now that the CFL team has moved to BMO Field, tailgating is finally a reality. Pre-gaming in parking lots next to the stadium has long been a core part of American football culture, and now Argos fans can enjoy the barbecuing, games and fan excitement too.
To kick off the home opener against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats on Thursday, June 23, we’ve put together an ultimate guide to tailgating with the Argos.
Pick up a selection of sausages, burgers or steaks from Toronto butchers like Gasparro’s, White House Meats or Cumbrae’s (discover more butchers here). If you’re thinking less chicken and beef, more deer and rabbit, check out our top five game meat markets.
Vegetarians in your party will love the grill-worthy meatless options at YamChops.
Be sure to do as much food prep as possible before you put on your jersey and load up the car. Making potato salad? Do it the night before. Got a steak rub you’re hoping to try? Don’t rush it at the last minute. Some basic preparation is key for a smooth tailgate experience.
Great pre-game cooking can boost team spirit, and showing off your barbecue skills is part of the fun. If you’re looking to impress fellow fans with some perfectly charred wings, research your marinade and do a taste test beforehand. Get started with this recipe for Greek Grilled Chicken Wings (pictured above).
When in doubt, just “Smash Bag” it. The Canadian variation on Frito Pie was created by Toronto’s own Junked Food Co. Spoon some homemade chili and toppings into a sliced-open bag of Doritos and you’ve got a classic game-day meal.
Show Your Team Colours
Before you can light up the barbecue, you need to make sure you look like you’re part of the home team crowd. Tailgaters are known for bringing out the superfan in all of us – some more than others (hello, face-painters!).
You don’t have to show up in a full-body mascot costume. A t-shirt, jersey or cap is plenty enough to show some Team Argo solidarity. Local CFL sports apparel stocks will get stronger as the season progresses, and you can get fan gear straight from the team’s official online store or local shops like Sport Gallery in the Distillery District.
If tailgating at BMO Field urges you to convert to a superfan, choose a face paint that’s water-soluble and cosmetic-grade. Drop by a Curry’s location and head for the jugs of white and blue liquid body paint. And remember: your fan art will only be as good as your stencil. Use a sponge, not a brush, and take your time.
Argos Tailgate Tips
- BBQ: Bring your charcoal or propane barbecue. Propane tanks must be smaller than 20 pounds.
- Booze: While you can’t bring in your own booze, beer and coolers will be available for purchase on site. ($4 beers!)
- Parking: Each pre-game tailgate will have at least 250 parking spots available across two parking lots (Ontario Place and Exhibition Place).
- When: Arrive up to three hours before kickoff.
- How much? Single-game passes are $30. Season ticket holders pay $5 on top of regular event parking rates and they get first dibs on tailgating spots. Get game tickets here and tailgate parking passes here.
- More questions? Check out these tailgate parking FAQs.
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