Toronto Raptors celebration sees Plant Guy, Kawhi’s jokes and many more memorable moments
The parade began at 10 a.m., departing from Exhibition Place and slowly making its way down Lakeshore Boulevard, past Scotiabank Arena, en route to a rally at Nathan Phillips Square.
Here are some of the most memorable moments from the parade and rally:
Raptors stars celebrated with cigars and champagne atop a double-decker bus, taking turns hoisting the trophy.
When it was his turn, it appeared as though Raptor Kyle Lowry didn’t want to let go of the trophy as he basked in the moment.
WATCH: Raptors’ fans jam into downtown Toronto for victory parade. Mike Drolet reports.
As thousands of fans slowed the progression of the parade, Raptors MVP Kawhi Leonard called the turnout “amazing.”
“Everybody’s out, I don’t believe nobody went into work today, or they got the first few hours of their day off,” he said. “Look at it, it’s crazy!”
WATCH: Raptors victory parade: Kawhi Leonard says nobody in Toronto went to work today
One fan who was dubbed “Plant Guy” after he carried a tree-like plant around the downtown Toronto as a ‘housewarming gift’ for Leonard when the team won the championship made an appearance during the parade.
Plant Guy, whose real name is Kyle, finally got his chance to offer Leonard a housewarming plant in person.
WATCH: Raptors victory parade: Kawhi Leonard accepts plant from the crowd
The crowd erupted into cheers as Kyle offered a small plant up to Leonard on the bus. The gift was received with the help of rapper and the Raptors’ global ambassador, Drake.
Plant Guy isn’t the only fan who is hoping Leonard, now a free agent, will choose to stay in Toronto.
As the bus made its way through downtown Toronto, fans could be heard yelling “one more year,” while others held signs petitioning Leonard to stay with the team.
WATCH: Raptors victory parade: Fans petition Kawhi to stay in Toronto
Meanwhile, in Nathan Phillips Square, fans started to become antsy waiting for the team.
Security barriers put up to restrict access near the city’s iconic ‘Toronto’ sign were crashed and breached by fans as they crowded in in an effort to get a better view of the stage.
The square quickly reached capacity and officials asked residents to avoid the area as the celebrations continued.
WATCH: Raptors victory parade: Fans crash through barriers at media area at Nathan Phillips Square
Other fans, awaiting the team’s arrival, climbed the archways over Nathan Phillips Square, temporarily halting the celebration.
Security officials at the square worked to remove the fans from the arches, making several announcements asking fans to cease the dangerous activity.
As they waited in the heat, thousands of fans took part in a sing-along of the national anthem, belting ‘O Canada,’ followed by a ‘Let’s go Raptors” chant.
WATCH: Raptors victory parade: Thousands sing ‘O Canada’ during celebration
Finally, nearly three hours behind schedule, the Toronto Raptors arrived at Nathan Phillips Square for the celebratory rally.
The crowds cheered as the athletes made their way on stage.
WATCH: Raptors victory parade: Team gets welcomed at Nathan Phillips Square
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also made an appearance at the celebration taking photos with fans.
He was spotted backstage chatting briefly with Lowry before taking a selfie with the Raptors star.
WATCH: Raptors victory parade: Kyle Lowry, Justin Trudeau chat and take selfie
Trudeau then addressed the roaring crowd at Nathan Phillips Square.
“World champions!” he yelled. “This was an incredible victory for the Raptors, but for the fans as well. You stood behind those Raptors every day. Win, loss, every single day you showed what Canada is made of: people who believe.”
Raptors victory parade: Trudeau screams himself hoarse at victory rally
The Raptors were also presented with the key to the city, courtesy of Mayor John Tory.
Tory announced Bremmner Boulevard would be renamed “Raptors Way” before presenting the entire team with the key to the city.
WATCH: Raptors victory parade: Team receives key to the city of Toronto
Raptors Fred VanVleet, Lowry and Leonard each took a turn addressing the enormous crowd, thanking fans for the support.
WATCH: Raptors MVP Kawhi Leonard thanks fans for welcoming him to Toronto
Leonard thanked Raptors fans for welcoming him to the city.
“I just want to thank y’all for welcoming me here after the trade with open arms,” he said. “It made my experience that much better. This group of guys let me do what I do on the floor. Coach Nick [Nurse] let me do what I do, and now we got a championship.”
Leonard told fans to enjoy the moment and “have fun with it.”
He ended his speech by mocking his own laugh with an exaggerated “ha-ha-ha,” sending his teammates into hysteric laughter.
WATCH: Raptors superstars thank fans for support
Drake, who rode to the rally on the bus with the team, also addressed the crowd, calling on fans to show Kawhi just what the championship means to them.
“I just want you to look around at all of us that are from here, and let him know exactly what this means tonight, because you deserve this,” he said.
WATCH: Raptors victory parade: Drake tells crowd ‘you deserve’ championship
“This is a talented, relentless group of guys that put it all on the line and sacrificed everything for each and every one of y’all this year and I want you to know that these moments are few and far between,” Drake said, before asking fans to hug each other in celebration of the championship.
WATCH: As Toronto Raptors fans file home from official celebrations, and the team’s championship run becomes a shining memory, Eric Sorensen looks at the scope of a sporting moment that seized an entire country.