The Toronto Raptors are set to face off against the Golden State Warriors Thursday night at 9 p.m., but fans began lining up to get into Jurassic Park much, much earlier than that.
At 6 a.m., 15 hours before the game was set to begin, there was already a line to get into the viewing party outside of Scotiabank Arena.
Some fans were there for Good Morning America, which went live from Jurassic Park in the morning, but many were there for the 9 p.m. game.
“This is incredible. I mean, this is something that doesn’t happen all the time,” said Drew Ebanks from outside of Scotiabank Arena shortly after 6:30 a.m.
Ebanks is both a fan and the founder of the basketball media organization On Point Basketball.
“We have the best fans in the world right here,” he said.
LISTEN: Alan is joined by Kamil Karamali who is live at Jurassic Park counting down to big game 1 – Raps / Warriors.
Fans will not be allowed to enter Jurassic Park for the game until 7 p.m., but they were already chanting, “Let’s go Raptors,” in the early-morning lineup.
Programming for the party will include special guests, a live DJ and musical performances.
Street closures began Thursday morning and in the early afternoon to make room for the party.
They include Bremner Boulevard from Maple Leaf Square to Lower Simcoe Street, and York Street from Lakeshore Boulevard to Front Street.
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For Game 6 of the Eastern Conference final last Saturday, tens of thousands of Raptors fans filled Jurassic Park and erupted in celebration when the Raptors defeated the Milwaukee Bucks.
Yet another massive crowd is expected Thursday night and everyone making their way downtown is being encouraged to take public transit as parking will be limited.
There are also a number of other viewing parties planned in the Greater Toronto Area, including at Mississauga’s Celebration Square, Brampton’s Garden Square, Burlington’s Civic Square and Newmarket’s Riverwalk Commons, among others.
Thursday night’s game will mark the first time the Raptors play in the NBA Finals, and the first time an NBA Finals game is held outside of the United States.
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