They 99th Grey Cup Championship is coming to Vancouver at the end of this week with a parade, festival, and final game in which our BC Lions are participating. The Lions had a bumpy start to their season at Empire Field but moved into their renovated home at BC Place and stormed up the ranks to win the Western championship.
Vancouver hosted the Grey Cup game in 1955, 1958, 1960, 1963, 1966, 1971, 1973, 1983, 1986, 1987, 1990, 1994, 1999, and 2005. With the season starting out at Empire, this generation had a small taste of what games would have been like in the same location back in the 50’s and 60’s. Fresh air peppered with aromas from the concession stands, north shore mountains in the backdrop, and “Roar You Lions Roar” echoing through the crowd.
The 1955 Grey Cup game in Vancouver was the first to be held outside of Ontario.
In 1964 the BC Lions defeated the Hamilton Ti-cats in Toronto to win their first Grey Cup.
After the 1966 Grey Cup game between Saskatchewan and Ottawa, the parade went through downtown Vancouver. It was the CFL’s first night-parade. The crowds grey on the streets and a riot broke out. Vancouver Police arrested 300 people.
The first Grey Cup game at BC Place stadium was played in front of a crowd of 59,345 in 1983.
In 1994 the BC Lions won their first Grey Cup in nine years against the Baltimore CFL Colts.
Aside from our outstanding players, coaches, and staff, you can’t mention Grey Cup history in Vancouver without a shout out to Dal Richards. Dal’s band played at the opening of Empire Stadium in 1954, they played the ceremony ushering the BC Lions into the CFL in 1954, and have played at BC Lions halftime shows for the last 40 years.
The 99th Grey Cup festival kicks off this Thursday, November 24, 2011 in Vancouver. The parade is Saturday, November 26th and the BC Lions will take on the Winnipeg Blue Bombers on Sunday at 3:00pm PT.