Yesterday the sun was shining and the temperature above zero as Sharon and I arrived in Calgary. This morning, Nov. 19, it was snowing heavily and it is still snowing this afternoon.
I started my Grey Cup Week by attending the official arrival of the Grey Cup. There was a procession on Stephen Avenue to the downtown Olympic Plaza.
Leading the procession was the Regimental Pipe and Drum Corps of the Calgary Highlanders. They looked impressive marching through the snow with their kilts gently swirling.
Following them was the Lord Strathcona Horse (Royal Canadians) Ceremonial Mounted Troop. They were even more impressive in full red ceremonial uniforms.
One of the troop was on foot carrying the Grey Cup. An accompanying photo shows the Cup bearer crossing the street.
I wish there had been some people out to watch the procession.
As they entered the Plaza I managed another photo of the Cup being carried between CFL Commissioner, Randy Ambrosie, and former CFL All-Star running back, John Cornish.
Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi embraced the weather saying it was perfect for football.
Commissioner Ambrosie said there would be football fans from across Canada and outside our nation in Calgary. There was a small crowd gathered at the park.
He noted a few Hamilton fans present and drew an oskee wee wee chant. He did not see any Bomber fans but thought they did not have a chant. At that moment in true Saskatchewan spirit a woman said what about Rider fans.
Nenshi said he was glad to welcome Rider fans noting most of them already had relatives in Calgary.
He spoke of his love of Canadian football and said he was not going to lift the Cup as it broke the last time he hoisted it. He said he was sticking to his story that it was already broken before he lifted it the last time.
Grey Cup Festival Chair Mike Franco said the City expected $80 million in economic benefits from hosting the Grey Cup.
After the speeches ended I spoke with the Mayor. It felt a touch surreal to be interviewing him in the midst of the winter wonderland of falling snow.
He said he had been going to CFL games for about 30 years. His mother’s company was occasionally given tickets.
His favourite team is actually the University of Calgary Dinos who are competing in the Vanier Cup this weekend. Were the Grey Cup not in Calgary he would have been at the Vanier Cup. He kindly did not mention the Dinos had beaten the U. of S. Huskies to get to the Vanier Cup.
I also spoke with John Cornish. I knew he had been working at the T-D as a teller while a Stampeder running back.
After retiring he said he moved into the investment side of the bank and then had a job at Cambridge Investments where he learned sales.
He is now working for himself leading Team Cornish, an investment group at RBC, handling investments for high net worth families. I expect he is going to do very well financially.
Tomorrow, Nov. 20, I get a chance to sit on the press conferences of the head coaches.