The parade began at 11:30 a.m. at the corner of de Maisonneuve Boulevard and Crescent Street in the city’s downtown core. The sidewalks were lined with thousands of excited, bundled fans who came out in the rain to catch a glimpse of the unlikely champions.
Before the crowd, running back William Stanback hoisted the trophy above his head and cheered. There was doubt about the team all season but they believed in themselves, he said.
“Look at where we’re at now,” Stanback said.
The Alouettes had their first parade in 13 years after pulling off a last-minute unexpected win against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers last week.
Montreal managed a 28-24 upset on Sunday at Tim Hortons Field in Hamilton in the 110th Grey Cup. It is the franchise’s first CFL title since 2010.
Quarterback Cody Fajardo, whose 19-yard touchdown pass to Tyson Philpot led the Alouettes to clinch the game, said it has been an “incredible journey.” He was named MVP — a stark contrast to when he left the Saskatchewan Roughriders one year ago as an unwanted free agent.
The 31-year-old says he plans to continue the push and grind to become an even better quarterback and that he is excited to see what the future has in store for the Alouettes.
“I’m just very thankful to be part of this organization and to see everybody at the parade brought a tear to my eye,” Fajardo said.
The players, along with the members of the franchise, boarded four double-decker buses for the parade route. Head coach Jason Maas and his family followed in a convertible as delighted Montrealers welcomed the team home.
Hugo Lemay, a 14-year-old football player with the Grizzlis de Boucherville, soaked it all in with his friends. The last time the Als won the Grey Cup, he was in diapers.
“It’s an incredible feeling,” he said.
The Alouettes are not only celebrating their Grey Cup victory, but a comeback after a tumultuous few years. The team came into Sunday’s game as an eight-point underdog while Winnipeg was in the finals for the fourth straight year.
Montreal didn’t even have an owner at the beginning of 2023 and the league took over the reins twice in a nearly four-year span as ownership became an ongoing problem. The team began to rebuild after it was sold to Quebec media mogul Pierre Karl Péladeau last March.
Defensive back Kabion Ento was all smiles as fans lined up to shake hands with players and ask for autographs.
“Shout out to Montreal, we love you all. We appreciate you all for coming out,” Ento said.
— with files from Global’s Gloria Henriquez and The Canadian Press