CFL 2010.09.06: Labour Day Classic – Fans & Tailgating

As I did last year, I spent some time over at Scott Park field to take in some Labour Day Classic tailgating. But this year I also wandered around the stadium a bit to get a better feel for the unique environment around Ivor Wynne. Perhaps Tiger-Cats fans take the urban setting a bit for granted and don’t realize how special it is now in the era of highly refined and researched ‘driveway to driveway’ stadium experiences.

Bob Young is right that no one in 2010 would build a stadium where Ivor Wynne is now. The same is probably true for Lambeau Field in Green Bay, another old-time stadium in a residential area, though it’s not sandwiched as tightly in among narrow streets and houses like Ivor Wynne. But it doesn’t mean that it doesn’t work. Somehow 30,000+ spectators managed to make the trip and enjoy the Labour Day game, despite all of the factors that Ivor Wynne supposedly has working against it. And all that supposedly terrible traffic? I was home within 15 minutes of leaving the stadium, though I did wait about 30 minutes after the game finished. One of the things working in Ivor Wynne’s favour is that there are a lot of ways to leave. North, south, east and west. I personally prefer heading north up Gage to Industrial, taking it west along Burlington all the way to Bay, then south to Stuart, continuing west along Barton to Locke, York, etc. The circuitous route effectively avoids the downtown King Street bottleneck.

This is in contrast to some suburban or rurally located stadiums with only one major access point. Gillette Stadium, where the Patriots play is a prime example, with primary access off Route 1. Before that road was widened to three lanes each way, it was a disaster. It’s still terrible. OK, so 60,000+ attend Patriots games, double a Labour Day game. But for 30,000+ related traffic to diffuse within 30 minutes in an urban setting is pretty amazing. Another example is Arrowhead Stadium, which is flanked by two interstate highways. If you arrive later than 8-8:30 am for a noon start, you’ll be waiting in line on the interstate to get to the stadium exit. Access is terrible if you don’t know the back way in or out. All I can say is people are creatures of habit and tend to generally shy away from trying something different. The obvious way to the stadium is the interstate. People tend to avoid back roads for fear of getting lost. But with Arrowhead, it’s the best way in and out, especially if you have to catch a flight after the game.

The Hamilton equivalent would be putting a new stadium at Confederation Park. There are only two ways in or out: the QEW via Centennial Parkway or Van Wagners Beach Road off Beach Boulevard. It’s a guaranteed bottleneck. With fan tendencies to arrive at Ticats games just prior to kickoff, there would be significant traffic backlog along the QEW for the exit. After games it would be the opposite with everyone trying to leave a couple parking lots (worse still would be a parking garage) at the same time…

Anyway, on to the photos…

The Box J Boys and their elaborate production:

I did get some grief from the painted man, and his friend with a ‘record’ as well…

Tiger-Cats fullback Darcy Brown’s personal cheering section – his family.

These guys wanted to show off their ‘staches. Definitely have a ’70s p0rn vibe going here.

A fairly common scene, unfortunately, at the tailgating, and apparently also after the game. Ironically there’s a port-a-potty just around the corner, so not sure why it was necessary to urinate against the school. Yes, a school, though this one is no longer operational in the public school board. Not exactly sure, but it might now be a private school for international students. Anyway, the urinating in public issue before/after Ticats games came up in The Spectator following the game, though related to a different, elementary school.

September 6, 2010; Hamilton, ON, CAN; Paul Weiler, the previous ‘Pigskin Pete’ debates something with Hamilton fringe politician and Church of the Universe religious figure Michael Baldasaro. I didn’t really catch the gist of their discussion, but I guess it was something since there were two guys videotaping it as I walked by.

Like father, like son? I found this kind of amusing how both the boy and the man are preoccupied with their own personal electronic devices. The woman’s stockings are also interesting… If the guys are Jays fans, I wonder if they’re from Toronto, since they don’t strike me as typical Hamilton fans.

The following photos are a brief documentary of the interesting parking solutions one can find around Ivor Wynne, whereby residents will allow you to park on their lawns, for a fee of course. This isn’t unique to Ivor Wynne. It also happens at Lambeau Field and across the street from Ralph Wilson Stadium where the Bills play. If and when the new stadium is built, this scene will most likely not be repeated unless the stadium is at West Harbour:

These are along Beechwood Avenue.

Now along Balsam Avenue at the stadium’s east side.

I didn’t know it was Rob until he turned around and spotted me. We went to middle and high schools together. I haven’t seen him since the end of high school about 20 years ago. Makes me feel old to write that.

If there is a place where I most likely will run into people from the past, it’s either at Ticat games or at the store where I worked for a number of years in the 90s. Lately it has been more often at Ticats games.

Living across from the stadium and being Ticats fans must be pretty cool for kids. I later saw them sitting in section 18 or 19 – the ‘cheap seats’ in the east end zone. Always an interesting crowd there.

The scalpers were keeping busy… the game was sold out.

I wonder if he had a few brews tucked away in that outfit like he did last year at the tailgating:

Speaking of brews… this guy could barely speak coherently and his friends insisted that he show me his tattoo for the photo. I like it!

The Argonotes band was set up and playing across from the Balsam gates. A few Ticats fans decided to mount a protest with the requisite ‘Argos Suck’ chant.

Yellow Man getting in the face of an Argos fan, all in good fun. Kind of foreshadows ABIII’s disruption tactics following the Als interception of a Quinton Porter pass intended for him during the following game.

Culminating in a chanting/shouting showdown.

This guy is a diehard Tiger-Cats fan. I think I’ve seen him at every game I’ve attended, always in the usual face paint and has good seats near the field in Box A or B. For a photographer on the field, he’s so easy to spot there’s now an unofficial photo-ban on him at the Spectator, otherwise he’d probably appear in print numerous times each season.

According to my colleague Glen, the guy with the beer just behind the striped face guy, a lot of other people stopped here to photograph them throughout the game. The were seated in the first row of the upper seats, so there would have been a lot of traffic in front of them.

Anyone can be, and is, a Ticats fan. Great to see the enthusiasm!

Dofasco steel mill in the background…

This was at the beginning of the game, so only a couple cans…

Prior to the game security had a meeting near where I had my equipment. The head honcho told the others that they can’t look away from the stands because as soon as they do, that’s when someone will make a dash for the field. To be honest, I was kind of surprised that it only happened once. He had a nice chat with the police afterwards.

East end zone spectators trying to get a better view of an altercation nearby, which I couldn’t see from my vantage point. But it got everyone’s attention up there.

I wonder if that was custom made headgear?

He might be related to the “Bob Young for Mayor” guy…

As always, more photos can be found in my CFL photo galleries. Either fans at games or action from the Labour Day game.

Even more photos specific to fans at this game are on my Flickr gallery.

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