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CanadaJurassic Park After Dark: Camping out with Raptors fans

18:05  10 june  2019
18:05  10 june  2019 Source:   cbc.ca

Jurassic Park invades Regina city square plaza

Jurassic Park invades Regina city square plaza The fan phenomenon known as Jurassic Park hit the Queen City for game four of the NBA finals on Friday night.

Jurassic Park After Dark: Camping out with Raptors fans© Spencer Gallachian-Lowe/CBC Makda Ghebreslassie spent the night with dozens of people in line to get into Jurassic Park.

When I heard that raptors fans were camping out to be among the first to get into Jurassic Park to watch the Toronto Raptors and Golden State Warriors battle it out in Game 5 of the NBA Finals, I thought it would make for a fun story if I joined them for the night.

So Sunday evening I packed up my sleeping bag, comforter and all the tech toys needed to file several stories throughout the night and made my way over to Scotiabank Arena.

There I found about 30 fans already lined up and Jurassic Park regular Alex Brown was among them.

Line up of fans grows at Jurassic Park ahead of Game 5 of NBA finals

Line up of fans grows at Jurassic Park ahead of Game 5 of NBA finals One day before Game 5 of the NBA finals, a line of Toronto Raptors fans is growing for a spot in Jurassic Park, the fan area outside Scotiabank Arena in Toronto. On Sunday morning, there were a total of nine fans and they were having fun.  Jurassic Park, of which there are mini versions all over the Greater Toronto Area, is an outdoor public square where fans gather to cheer while watching the game on a big screen. There is enough room in the public viewing area, located at the entrance for Scotiabank Arena, for about 5,000 people.

"They call me 'Jersey boy,'" he said.

His number five, white Raptors jersey bares the names of hardcore fans like himself.

Jurassic Park After Dark: Camping out with Raptors fans© Spencer Gallachian-Lowe/CBC Alex Brown is also known as 'Jersey boy.' He's a hardcore Raptors fan who has spent a lot of time at Jurassic Park during the NBA playoffs.

"Game 4 I had everyone in this line up here sign this jersey," he said.

So of course I signed my name on it too.

'It's just our home away from home'

I also met Mark Milman and Zack Stemar who gave me a tour of the tent they set up for the night.

"We've got a pretty good thing going here. We've got snacks. We've got a comfy place to lay down," said Millman.

"It's just our home away from home to set up to watch the Raptors win the NBA championship tomorrow after waiting all these years," said Stemar.

Your guide to Jurassic Park — and other viewing parties — for Raptors Game 5

Your guide to Jurassic Park — and other viewing parties — for Raptors Game 5 We are one game away, and thousands of fans will vie for the chance to stand shoulder-to-shoulder to scream, or cry, along with a tribe of like-minded people. Here is what you need if you're trying to join the crowds.

Jurassic Park After Dark: Camping out with Raptors fans© Spencer Gallachian-Lowe/CBC A Toronto Raptors fan gives the thumbs up Sunday night while waiting in line to get into Jurassic Park, the viewing area outside of Scotiabank Arena. Over 50 fans camped out overnight to watch Game 5 of the NBA Finals on Monday night from Jurassic Park.

By 11 p.m. more than 50 people were in line. As the crowd grew so did the chants and cheers: "Raps in five! We the north!"

And many of them came with signs of support. Roberto Bernabe held one up that said: 'Raptors Fans from Philippines.'

"The Philippines is a huge basketball-crazy nation," he said.

Bernabe then flipped the sign around to show the other message: 'Warriors exit here.'

Jurassic Park After Dark: Camping out with Raptors fans© Spencer Gallachian-Lowe/CBC Tarps cover fans from the rain as they wait in line to get into Jurassic Park for Game 5 of the NBA Finals.

Masai Ujiri surprises campers

Just as things were quieting down an unexpected guest arrived. Raptors President Masai Ujiri showed up to take pictures and sign autographs.

Leslieville residents show Raptors superfan some love with supersized Nav Bhatia heads

Leslieville residents show Raptors superfan some love with supersized Nav Bhatia heads East-end residents Matt Durant and Ara Mamourian, both long-time Raptors fans, are showing some local love for superfan Nav Bhatia. About a week ago Durant, who is a Leslieville-based visual artist, came up with the idea of creating some super-sized Nav “heads”. He shared his idea with Mamourian, who was immediately on board. “We see Drake heads and (Coach) Nick Nurse heads, but nobody has a Nav head and I thought that was the hugest oversight ever,” said Mamourian, a Leslieville-based real estate broker. “We’ve seen Nav since Day 1, he’s become a staple at the ACC and before that at the Skydome.

I asked him why he decided to come out and see the fans and he said: "because they are cool. Best fans in the world."

One of those fans is also a birthday boy. Right at midnight the crowd of  friends and strangers came together to sing Happy Birthday to Prashan Shiv.

"I feel so great," he said

It doesn't take much to figure out what this 33-year-old is wishing for now.

"We're making history on my birthday. That's it."

Eventually the party died down and by 4 a.m. most of the fans were fast asleep protected from the rain by tarps. I wonder if they're all dreaming of a Raptors win come Monday night.

Jurassic Park After Dark: Camping out with Raptors fans© Spencer Gallachian-Lowe/CBC Fans get some sleep Sunday night while in line to get in to Jurassic Park.
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The Toronto Raptors are preparing for a truly massive crowd to attend the victory parade celebrating their first NBA title. The parade is planned for Monday, and Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment is getting ready for a huge event. MLSE Head of Community Affairs and Events Mike Bartlett told Chris Fox of CP24 that he could estimate between 1.5 and 2 million attendees. Bartlett promised to deliver the “biggest party Toronto has ever seen” on Monday, culminating in a rally at 12:30 p.m. ET. Players will be carried along the parade route in double-decker buses.

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