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Toronto – a mecca for sport lovers

Toronto, the Big Six, is a major North American sports city and can offer almost anything a sports fan desires, from the National Hockey League to lacrosse and Indy cars. But sometimes it’s worth looking past the obvious choices. Here are seven tips for sports fans.

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Not those Leafs

Hockey fans know the Toronto Maple Leafs, the team that hasn’t won the Stanley Cup since 1967, but there’s another Leaf team in town. They play baseball in the Intercounty league that’s been around for more than 100 years. The players in the summer league are amateurs, mostly college players and former pros. All eight teams are from Southern Ontario.The Maple Leafs play their home games at Dominico Field at Christie Pits, in downtown Toronto.

Dominico Field

750 Bloor Street West, Toronto

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Back to the farm

The Toronto Maple Leafs NHL tickets are a hot commodity and prices can easily get out of hand. But it’s Canada. There’s hockey. The Leafs’ farm team, the Toronto Marlies play their American Hockey League games at a renovated horse palace arena built for the Canadian National Exhibition (CNE) and the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair (the Royal) in 1921. Where the past meets the future (of hockey).

Coca-Cola Coliseum

45 Manitoba Drive, Toronto

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Photo: Raptors 905

How about some hoops?

Just like with the Maple Leafs, the other tenant of the Scotiabank Arena, getting tickets to a Toronto Raptors NBA game may prove to be difficult and expensive. And again, a glance sideways will bring into focus the Raptors 905 team, their affiliate in the developmental NBA G League. The 905 in its name comes from the area code for the Toronto suburbs, as they play most of their games at the Paramount Fine Foods Centre in Mississauga.

Paramount Fine Foods Centre

5500 Rose Cherry Place, Mississauga

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Photo: Nathan Fernandes

Ladies first

And of course, there’s the Toronto Six, the only Canadian team in the Premier Hockey Federation, a professional women’s hockey league. The Six play their home games at the York University rink. While the PHF is currently the only pro league for women in North America, most of the national team players have thus far stayed in their national team programs. The Six are coached by Hockey Hall of Famer, Angela James.

Canlan Ice Sports, York University

989 Murray Ross Pkwy, North York

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For the racing fans

Formula 1 racing fans have to go to the neighboring province of Quebec. However, the Indy car circuit is also still alive and well and if you’re in Toronto in mid-July, you can see that for yourself. The 2022 Honda Indy Toronto race, the 36th edition of the event, takes place on the Exhibition grounds.

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Canadians love contact sports

While the noise may make you want to cover your ears at an Indy car event, in rugby it’s the players who have to do that. Canada’s past as part of the Commonwealth is evident in the popularity of rugby. The Toronto Wolfpack was the first fully professional rugby league team in Canada in 2014 and competed in the UK Super League system. The pandemic made travel difficult, and the team is now making a comeback in the new North American Rugby League.

Lamport Stadium

King Street West, Toronto

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Go Canadian!

The most Canadian of all sports may just be lacrosse. In 1856, William George Beers, a Canadian dentist, founded Montreal Lacrosse Club and came up with codified rules for the game originally invented by Native Americans. The first game played under Beers’ rules was at Upper Canada College in 1867.The local team, Toronto Rock has its origins in the nearby Hamilton in the late 1990s, but they played there only one season until 2022, when the team relocated back to Hamilton, a steel town about 60km outside the city but still inside the GTHA, or Greater Toronto & Hamilton Area. With their six titles, the Rock is one of the most successful teams in the National Lacrosse League.

FirstOntario Centre

FirstOntario Centre, Hamilton

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