Most of the Raptors players were escorted through the city on double-decker buses, slowly crawling through the packed streets, waving to crowds and interacting with diehard fans for a couple of hours before reaching the overpopulated Nathan Phillips Square at Queen and Bay streets.
Joining them for the ride was global ambassador and superfan Drake, who has actively supported the team since late 2013.
Serving as the city’s hype man, the God’s Plan rapper took the stage to address the team’s victory.
“You deserve this,” he told the crowd collectively. “These moments are few and far between.”
Drake’s words were met with an uproar of applause, namely after he yelled: “We are the NBA 2019 champions of the world.”
However, it wasn’t until he confirmed that OVO Fest — his record label’s annual music festival — would be returning later this year that the crowd erupted into a frenzy of cheers and excitement.
“I hope that all these guys will join me this year because we’re bringing OVO Fest back so I hope we can go crazy,” he said.
OVO Fest has run annually in Toronto since 2010, however it did not take place in 2018, leaving many fans concerned about the festival’s future. However, many of the rapper’s fans were pleased with the recent announcement.
Although no details or additional information regarding the festival have been released, OVO Fest typically coincides with the annual Toronto Caribana festival, which is held on the Civic Holiday weekend.
Ahead of the celebratory parade, Drake released and dedicated two brand-new songs, Omerta and Money in the Grave, to the Toronto Raptors on Friday night.
2019 marks the NBA team’s first championship win ever. The Toronto Raptors were founded in 1995.