With the 109th Grey Cup just days away in Regina, Saskatchewan, let’s look at future host cities past 2024.
The annual event will return to Hamilton, Ontario in 2023 for the 110th Grey Cup, followed by the most recent announcement of Vancouver, British Columbia hosting the 111th edition of the yearly event for 2024.
With that said, I will give you my take on who should host the next 5 Grey Cups and why. I will look at a few factors for this one. Cities that have not held it in a while. We’re assuming in five years, the expansion in Atlantic Canada has come to fruition, and a permanent stadium has been completed. I will also look at factors of accommodation, along with food and beverage.
So, without further ado, here are my next 5 Grey Cup locations and why.
Simply put, I’m still not sure why it has not returned to Montreal, Quebec. They last hosted the Grey Cup on November 23rd, 2008. It was a great game that saw the Calgary Stampeders defeat the home hosts in the Montreal Alouettes 22-14. More importantly, a crown of 66,308 attended the Grey Cup that day.
So why should Montreal host the Grey Cup in 2025?
There are a lot of variables that will go Montreal’s way in this one.
Hotels. Montreal has an abundance of places for accommodations for any sort of large gatherings. The downtown core, or Le Centre-ville de Montreal by the locals, has always been a hub of hotels. One of the most notable annual events is when Montreal hosts the Canadian Grand Prix during the Formula 1 circuit. In 2022, a crowd of 338,000 attended the event during the weekend. On the low end, 180,000-200,000 is the norm during F1 weekend in Montreal. The City of Montreal has always accommodated large crowds for various events historically.
Food. Is anyone a foodie? Then Montreal is the place for you. Wheater it is fine dining or just that local Mama and Papa shop in the city. It is safe to say that you will never have a bad meal in Montreal. Montrealers take pride in good food no matter what the budget is for a traveller. You can take your pick on either Italian, Greek, Asian, French, African, or Caribbean cuisine just to name a few. When it comes to its diversity like Toronto, there is no food from around the world that you cannot have in Montreal.
Social scene. Montreal has always been a hotbed for live music and great pubs. Their nightlife has always been well attended by both locals and travellers alike.
I’m going out on a limb on this one. You can say Toronto does not deserve it as the locals in Toronto don’t care about the CFL and the Grey Cup as a whole. You’re right, and you’re wrong.
So why should Toronto host the Grey Cup in 2026?
When the Toronto Argonauts were fully purchased by Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment (MLSE) in January 2018, there was a lot of optimism in the Toronto Argonauts’ future as a relevant pro team in the Toronto sports landscape. However, it has been a roller-coaster of success. At times home attendance has been even lower than in previous seasons. But then you see a string of turnouts of 20,000 plus attend playoff games since 2017 when they would host a game.
When the purchase was completed in 2018, one of the areas that MLSE wanted was to host three Grey Cups in about 10 years. With the last Grey Cup being held in Toronto in 2016, having one in 2026 will be their second in 10 years.
Just Mike Montreal, Toronto is a carbon copy in a lot of ways whether Torontonians or Montrealers would admit to it. I’m not talking about Montreal architecture having a lot more of a historical appearance. What I’m getting at is Toronto is very much a world-class city as Montreal and Vancouver are to Canada. There is a lot of business around the world happening in Toronto on any given day.
Food. Take your pick. There is not a nation’s flag not represented in Toronto. Toronto is one of the very few cities in the world where there are approximately 150 languages and dialects spoken in Toronto. Just like in Montreal, there is a lot of high-end dining, to your local diner for good food options from all over the world.
Venues. Toronto has a lot of venues to host any event. The Toronto Convention Centre alone has hosted many international events and can host massive numbers. This has been the go-to spot during past Grey Cup Festivals when held in Toronto.
And let’s not forget the hotels. Toronto has a lot of them also just like Montreal with a few that are convention hotels. Hosting any large crowds would not be a problem in Toronto.
In 2026, the World Cup of Soccer will be hosted by the United States of America, Canada, and Mexico. For the first time, it will be three host nations for the World Cup. Toronto, along with Vancouver, is the lone Canadian cities that will host some matches. BMO Field will expand to 45,000 for the World Cup. With that said, it only makes sense to keep the additional seating for the Grey Cup in November. This was done before during the 2016 Grey Cup when it was also hosting the Toronto Maple Leafs vs Detroit Red Wings in an NHL outdoor game. Moreover, Toronto FC was in the MLS Cup Final that year also and was the host. It all played out in the end where it was used by three different events.
Anytime the Grey Cup is held in the Canadian Prairies, there is a special aura about the event. This is why I feel Winnipeg should host the Grey Cup in 2027.
Unfortunately for Winnipeg, historically they have not hosted a lot of Grey Cups. The last Grey Cup in Winnipeg was in 2015. Before that, it was held back in 1991, 1998, and 2006. All of those games were held at the defunct Winnipeg Stadium.
So why should Winnipeg host the Grey Cup in 2027?
The fans in Winnipeg love football. It’s quite simple. Winnipeg just like Saskatchewan loves its football just like all Prairie-based teams in the CFL.
Accommodation. It might not be the big cities of Montreal, Vancouver, and Toronto, but Winnipeg still has quite a few accommodations options in and around the downtown core.
The outdoors. There are a lot of festivals year-round in Winnipeg and many are outdoors. There are a lot of green places in the Winnipeg area that outdoors people would enjoy.
Diversity. Over 100 languages are spoken in Winnipeg which makes it good for food options and foodies alike.
Winnipeg fans would love nothing more than for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers to host and win a Grey Cup on their home soil. With the way GM Kyle Walters and Head Coach Mike O’Shea building this team in the last few years, it is safe to say they will still be a competitive team in the long haul.
Halifax, Nova Scotia
I’m going on that if all went to plan, by now at the latest, the Atlantic Schooners have played their inaugural CFL season in 2028.
So why should Halifax host the Grey Cup in 2028 and 2029?
The people. East Coasters in Canada are very humble people. They enjoy people’s company. Hosting a Grey Cup Festival will be new to the City of Halifax, along with the Province of Nova Scotia.
The history. Halifax is a historical city in Canadian history. The Halifax Farmers Market was founded in 1750. You can visit the Halifax Citadel. in 1912 when the Titanic sunk, Halifax was one of the first to respond for aid relief.
Halifax is no stranger to hosting big events. They have hosted the World Junior Hockey Tournament in 2003 along with Sydney, Nova Scotia. In 2023, they will be co-hosting the games along with Moncton, and New Brunswick.
The Halifax Donair. You just have to try one if you’re a foodie. It’s oh-so-good.
I’d like Halifax to host a back-to-back Grey Cup for the simple thing of revenue. This will give the Schooners much-needed monetary revenue which will go to paying off the stadium sooner rather than later. I feel that Halifax, assuming it is up and running, should host three Grey Cups in ten years for the sole purpose of this.
Let’s just say that the pubs in downtown Halifax will be rocking during Grey Cup Week.
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