The Winnipeg Blue Bombers are set to face the BC Lions in the Western Final. However, fans making their way to the game are going to have some unusual difficulty with traffic and parking.
Yet fans of the Bombers are not the only ones with concerns. The issue arises from a previously planned and booked accessible sport exhibition at Investors Group Athletic Center – which is on the other side of University Crescent than the stadium – on the same day as the Western Final is scheduled. The expo has already cut back its end time by two hours to end at 2:00pm on Sunday November 13, but the Bombers are asking the expo to cut back their end time by an additional half an hour. Kickoff for the big game is scheduled for 3:30pm and gates open at 2:30pm.
While fans may wonder why the CFL does not push back the start of the Western Final it really is not that easy. TSN is the exclusive television carrier for the game and any change in schedule would have to be approved by TSN.
Traffic concerns are not new to Bomber fans. Often fans have to deal with construction on Pembina Highway, the main artery leading towards the entrance to the University of Manitoba’s Campus where IG Field is situated. Additionally, in 2017, fans arriving at the Bomber game had to deal with a moose blocking traffic. No, that is not a joke. A moose on the loose almost caused a delay to the Bomber game!
So surely fans can find a way to get to the stadium with the accessible sports exhibition, right? Well it is not that simple. Many Bomber fans have parking passes for parking lots that are sure to be filled with attendees of the expo. And since it is an accessible sports expo consideration needs to be had for those with mobility of visual impairments attending the expo. I can tell you that the sidewalks are absolutely packed before a Bomber game.
Dodging The 2021 Snow Storm
However, Bomber fans are a creative bunch. In 2021 there was a major snow storm forecasted for the Western Final game day. Many fans, like myself, that travel over an hour to get to Winnipeg for Bomber games decided it was best to travel in the night before. On game day fans were out 4-5 hours before the game tailgating and having a great time in anticipation of kickoff – I know, I was there.
Yet the question has to be asked, how did we get here? How did the University of Manitoba accept a booking on a day where there could be the Western Final at IG Field? In all fairness the University of Manitoba did not know the Bombers would be hosting the Western Final until late October. They could have been hosting the Western Semi-Final on November 6 instead. In that case the accessible sports expo would not be an issue.
Nevertheless, Bomber fans had both the date of the Western Semi-Final and the Western Final circled on their calendars and were not making any other plans for those Sundays, so it is interesting that the University of Manitoba did not follow suit.
Credit to the Bombers, they have already made some plans to alleviate the congestion of people and traffic. The Princess Auto Tailgate area is going to open up to fans with a game ticket at 11:30am. But why would fans want to arrive that early? There are a number of reasons.
- The Eastern Final will be playing on 22×29 foot screen – the largest mobile screen in North America.
- Fans can stay warn by the fire pits or in the warming huts that will have televisions playing the Easter Final.
- $3.50 hotdogs and other refreshments will be on sale.
Add it all up and you have a great way to get around the traffic and parking headaches!
So make sure to buy your ticket for the Western Final – good tickets still available – and show BC that they are still the little brother.
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Written by a Bomber fan, for the Bomber fans.
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*An earlier edition of the article said that the accessible sports expo was at IG Field.
*An earlier edition suggested the Bombers took the booking.