Montrealers fanned out into city streets until the early morning amid fireworks and teargas after the Toronto Raptors made history by winning the team’s first NBA championship.
While it was once unthinkable for Montrealers to cheer on Toronto, fans gathered at two outdoor viewing parties in the city. The Jurassic Parks shut down two streets as fans gathered in a heavy downpour for the start of the game.
James Cook, who took in the victory on the big screen on Peel Street, compared the ambiance to the Montreal Canadiens winning the Stanley Cup in 1993. He said the game was wonderful but that fans were on edge until the clock ran out.
“It’s a once-in-a-lifetime event,” he said. “The Raptors are champions.”
WATCH: Montrealers rally behind the Toronto Raptors.
The Raptors made NBA history by winning Game 6 on Thursday night, becoming the first Canadian team to win the championship. They beat the Golden State Warriors 114-110 at Oracle Arena in Oakland, Calif.
The victory spawned celebrations in cities across Canada, which lasted until the early morning. As thousands of Montrealers took to the streets, the festivities took a different turn on busy Ste-Catherine Street despite heavy police presence.
Montreal police spokesperson Manuel Couture said there were no arrests, injuries or major incidents to report. However, he said police had to intervene when people crawled on to the top of cars and picked up rocks from a construction pile to throw them at officers.
Several cars were also vandalized, including two police cars.
“Normally when we see mischief we send a message to people to stop misbehaving and respect the criminal code and if people continue to break the law we have to disperse them,” he said.
WATCH: Players, fans react after Toronto Raptors clinch NBA title
Couture says sometimes joyous events unfold in unfortunate ways and that anyone who had their cars vandalized should contact police.
“It happens sometimes that people are just celebrating they are happy and they are caught in the middle of something that is unacceptable,” he said.
While many celebrated respectfully, clinical psychologist Dr. Pierre Faubert says people who engage in violence in these cases were probably already upset. Many people also crave the distinct feeling of being part of a team, he added.
“There is like an explosion of pent-up inhibitions and restrictions that build up during the civilized moments of our lives,” Faubert said. “This is a time to become wild.”
‘Everybody loves a winner’
While Montrealers and Torontonians have a bitter sports rivalry spanning decades, that didn’t seem to stop local basketball fans from showing up in throngs and cheering on the Raptors until the clock ran out.
Moshe Lander, an economics professor at Concordia University, says it was stunning to see Montrealers support Toronto, but that clever We the North branding helped make all Canadians feel the Raptors are their team.
“We could not imagine this happening, say, if the Leafs were in the Stanley Cup final,” he said.
Lander also chalks up to how Montreal has long been starved for sports championships combined with the exciting lead-up to the final game. However, he did caution that basketball isn’t necessarily coming to the city just yet — but that fans should enjoy the Raptors’ historic victory.
“Everybody loves a winner,” he said.
WATCH: Toronto Raptors earn NBA title after defeating Golden State Warriors in Game 6
—With files from Global News’ Dan Spector and The Canadian Press