Something that us Canadians take for granted and sometimes overlook is experiencing the Canadian culture at a Canadian Football League (CFL) game. Scattered across Canada from East to West there are teams that offer a great family experience to attend a football game that provides a glimpse into our Canadian culture.
Whether you are a fan or not there is something to experience by going to a football game. The bottom line is regardless of where you go in the world, sports and recreation are part of culture. There is a sub-group of people in our Canadian culture that are dedicated and committed to their CFL teams. It is part of their life and sometimes can be crazy fans and it is so hard to believe they truly love their teams! The fans follow them across the country to watch their teams, stick with them through their losses and the extreme weather to watch and cheer for their football team.
For our kids (having no choice but to be Saskatchewan Roughrider fans!) it was a right of passage for them to go to their first game. A big day in our house for both kids! They had prepared for this day since they were born when friends and family gave them CFL baby outfits and jerseys for gift. They have repeatedly asked to go to the game, and it was finally their big day!
So when their time had come and we took them to the game, what do you think was the best part of the football game was? Yep, you guessed it… it was NOT the game!
It was the fireworks, mascot, cheerleaders, music, food, cheering and Saying “D” (A chant for defence). It is very unlikely unless your kids are a bit older that they will truly understand what is happening in the football game, but it is really about the excitement, anticipation and energy with the sheer amount of people gathering together to cheer for their home team. It is all about the experience, so even if you know absolutely nothing about this crazy Canuck game they call “football” you will still have got a Canadian experience. (If you are not from Canada or USA, it is a different kind of football… we call that “other football” soccer).
As compared to other professional sporting events in Canada, it is reasonably priced so you don’t have to feel like you wasted money if all they remember was the name of the mascot. For most games on average about $30 for a child ticket and about $50 for an adult.
Some things to consider when planning to attend a CFL game with kids:
- If your kids are young and the timing is flexible, try to go to an afternoon game and the chances of them lasting the game will be better.
- Bring snacks and lots of them! There are food concessions but to keep your costs down and number of times of getting up, pack some extra snacks.
- Season usually runs from Mid June to late November.
- Check out if the team is having any pre or post-game activities for kids. Like player signing, meet & greets or Grey Cup pictures. Kids usually get the A+ treatment when they show up with the players.
- Sometimes for pre-season games many season ticket holders will give up or sell at a very good price. For kids, there is really no difference so this is a good opportunity to experience it at a lower cost.
The Canadian Football League (CFL) consists of the following teams:
- British Columbia Lions – Located in Vancouver, BC
- Edmonton Eskimos – Located in Edmonton, AB
- Calgary Stampeders – Located in Calgary, AB
- Saskatchewan Roughriders – Located in Regina, SK
- Winnipeg Blue Bombers – Located in Winnipeg, MB
- Hamilton Tiger Cats – Located in Hamilton, ON
- Toronto Argonauts – Located in Toronto, ON
- Ottawa Redblacks – Located in Ottawa, ON
- Montreal Alouettes – Located in Montreal, QC
For more on the CFL, check out their website www.cfl.ca. Each team also has their own website to find out schedules and ticket purchases.
So I get it, sporting events might not be on the top of your to do list on a family vacation. But, if you happen to be in one of the cities during the season it might be a good option to go check out. You and your kids will each find something to experience from it. From all the international folks that we have come to visit us here is Canada, it has been one of the highlights of their trip.
This weekend is the 103rd Grey Cup Championship game for the CFL and has been a long standing Canadian tradition. It is a slice of Canadian culture that not everyone thinks about.