In 2017, the Wolfpack brought Rugby League to the city of Toronto and now the city has fallen in love with this action-packed, fast-paced and adrenaline-fuelled sport.
No matter whether you’ve just booked your holiday flights to Toronto and are spending a few days in the city or you’re an away fan that has made the trip to watch your team play against the Toronto Wolfpack, read this guide to see what you can do before, during and after the game.
Who are the Toronto Wolfpack?
Make the Den your Cottage this long weekend!#TheHuntIsOn as Toronto Wolfpack take on @LondonBroncosRL in a crucial ‘Super 8s The Qualifiers’ clash this Saturday (Sept 1st – 12:30pm).
Adults from $25, Juniors FREE
🎟Buy Tickets👉https://t.co/W6Fsu6jYNX pic.twitter.com/wiEaHrmrh7
— Toronto Wolfpack (@TOwolfpack) August 27, 2018
Before we start looking at the different things you can do on game day it is only right to introduce you to the Toronto Wolfpack.
The Wolfpack, as they are known, are a professional Rugby League team who started in League 1 and are now looking to progress to England’s top tier; the Super League.
Toronto Wolfpack is the world’s first transatlantic major professional sports team. Since their creation in 2017, the team has won the Kingstone Press League 1 title and have been competing in the Betfred Championship for the first time.
The team’s home games are held at the Lamport Stadium. Throughout the summer, the venue in Liberty Village transforms into “The Den”, boasting one of the most intimate sporting atmospheres you can find.
Upcoming Toronto Wolfpack fixtures:
– Toronto Wolfpack vs London Broncos, Saturday September 1
– Salford Red Devils vs Toronto Wolfpack, Saturday September 8
– Toronto Wolfpack vs Toulouse Olympique, Saturday September 15
– Toronto Wolfpack vs Widnes Vikings, Saturday September 22
– Leeds Rhinos vs Toronto Wolfpack, Friday September 28
Before the game
Grab a coffee
— Balzac’s Coffee (@Balzacs) August 17, 2018
Balzac’s Coffee Roasters are inspired by Honoré de Balzac, one of history’s consummate coffee aficionados who was known for drinking copious amounts of coffee throughout the night to fuel his writings.
Balzac’s Coffee is first and foremost a Coffee Roasting Company and their first Café opened in Stratford, Ontario in 1996. Today they are located in 14 different Ontario towns and cities and the Liberty Village Café opened in 2006 in the old Irwin Toy Factory Building.
Steve Janzen from Balzac Coffee Roasters told us why you should make sure to visit the café near to the Toronto Wolfpack stadium.
“From our store in Liberty Village, it is a short 3-5 minute walk to Lamport Stadium, home ground of the Toronto Wolf Pack. Fans can meet up at the café and plan their journey onward whether it be to enjoy the friendly atmosphere of the café or go to one of the many pubs in the area.
“Balzac’s offers a wide range of beverages to get you ready for any activity such as seeing the Wolf Pack at Lamport Stadium or perhaps seeing other sports or music events in the many venues within walking distance.
“Some of our delicious and unique beverages include our delicious Nitro Cold Brew Coffee. Poured from a beer tap into a tulip glass this beverage is sure to get you going for any event.
“For a warmer option you can’t miss our café Canadian, a take on the tradition latte but with a Canadian twist of, you guessed it, maple syrup! Espresso mixed with a touch of maple syrup and finished with the organic milk of your choice. This drink is a real comforter with subtle sweetness and creamy texture.
“Other popular options include our fresh pressed lemonade or iced tea, quick and easy if you’re running late for a game and need a little pick me up on a warmer day. And of course, we always have a selection of brewed coffees and Kusmi Tea for you to choose from if you’re looking to get back to basics. Ask any of our knowledgeable staff about the daily offerings to find the perfect cup for you.”
Enjoy some brunch
Toronto is renowned for its brunch scene. For Torontonians, it’s a way of life and means much more than just eggs and toast.
What some people may regard as a lazy midday feast has a completely different meaning in Toronto and cafes and restaurants across the city offer all different forms of this popular meal.
What makes the brunch scene in the city so unique are its different adaptations of the meal. From ricotta pancake with ricotta cheese, sour cherries and maple syrup to good ol’ eggs benedict laid on top of a warm biscuit, the city offers lots of exclusive brunch menus.
Jessica, who is the writer behind the popular Diary of a Toronto Girl blog, recommends fans of Toronto Wolfpack or away fans enjoy some brunch ahead of the big game.
Other popular brunch spots in Toronto:
Head to a pub or bar
To get into the matchday spirit and discuss the forthcoming game you should certainly look to visit some of the pubs that are popular with Wolfpack fans.
The Brazen Head Irish Pub and Restaurant is a great place to visit before kick-off. The Liberty Village-based pub often has live music and one of the three patios will give you and fellow fans a wonderful view overlooking Toronto’s skyline. Most importantly there is a great selection of drinks with amber ale like Henderson’s Best and lager like Irish Harp on offer.
Another pub that is popular with fans of Toronto Wolfpack is the 3 Brewers Liberty. Here you can enjoy a number of classic beers available on tap such as the white, blonde, IPA, amber or brown ales. The pub is just a short walk away from the stadium – making it the perfect pit stop before the game.
Both of these pubs also show Toronto Wolfpack’s away games in England.
Inside the Den
Enjoy the food, drink and music
Lamport Stadium, or “the Den” as Wolfpack fans call it, offers you a festival-like atmosphere on game day with both ends seeing many fans standing for the entirety of the game.
The multi-purpose stadium is located in Liberty Village on King Street West and if you are heading to the 9,600 seater-stadium the Toronto Wolfpack recommend drivers to park at the south end of the stadium, where limited paid Green P parking is available. If you’re using public transport then you should use the TTC Transit Planner.
It is certainly worth getting into the stadium an hour before kick-off to save any mad rush to your seats and you will also experience the build-up in the atmosphere as the kick-off gets closer.
There are food and beer tents selling Ontario craft beers dotted across the stadium that are open throughout the game so if you get peckish or thirsty you can just leave your seat to grab a bite to eat or a drink.
One of the highlights will certainly be the hot dog cannon. Yes, you’ve read that right; there is a cannon that shoots hot dogs into the crowd at half-time!
Another unique aspect of game day is the live DJ or band that will be playing as this provides a great soundtrack for a fantastic day of rugby.
Don’t worry if you don’t know much about rugby league
If you’re not familiar with rugby league, but want to enjoy a sporting experience that you won’t forget in a hurry, then don’t think that you’ll be out of place.
The game starts when the horn is sounded and the in-house announcer will coach you through the game and will explain certain rules as the match progresses. At half-time there will be a fun dance routine to enjoy from the Wolfpack’s dance crew, called the SheWolves.
Stick around after the game to meet the players
At the end of the game, it is a tradition for the Wolfpack’s players to do a lap around the pitch, shaking hands with supporters along the way.
The players will then head to the beer garden and will enjoy a drink with the fans. There really isn’t many other sporting events that allow you to get this close to the athletes.
After the game
Visit some of the city’s attractions
Depending on what time the kick-off is, but with most fixtures kicking off in the morning or around midday, it gives you ample time to explore the city after the game.
Jessica from Diary of a Toronto Girl says that you should make the most of the time you have by visiting some of the city’s top attractions.
She adds, “After the game, stop by the Canadian National Exhibition (running until September 4th) for fun carnival games and rides!”
The Royal Ontario Museum is one museum you should make time for after the game as the museum, founded in 1914, displays art, culture and nature from around the world and across the ages. It is regarded as one of the top 10 cultural institutions in North America and is Canada’s largest and most comprehensive museum.
There are 13 million artworks, cultural objects and natural history specimens, featured in 40 gallery and exhibition spaces. The Gallery of Chinese Architecture, the James and Louise Temerty Galleries of the Age of Dinosaurs, and Life in Crisis: Schad Gallery of Biodiversity are among the most popular.
The CN Tower is just a 10-minute drive or around 30 minutes away on the train, while the aquarium is 15 minutes by car or 30 minutes away on the train from Liberty Village.
Go for dinner
Going for some dinner to toast the Wolfpack’s victory (hopefully!) or to talk about the great game you’ve watched is a great idea.
There are lots of eateries you can visit around the stadium and one of the best is ONO Poke Bar, which is around a five-minute drive or 10-minute walk away from the Lamport Stadium.
‘ONO was founded in 2017 with a mission to serve patrons with a fresh, healthy alternative while on the go. The eatery creates Asian-Hawaiian inspired Poké Bowls & Sushi Burritos and aims to deliver what the restaurant likes to call the ‘ONO dining experience. This means delivering the freshest, highest quality ingredients with flavourful sauces. ONO is one of the highest rated restaurants within the Liberty community and amongst Poké spots in the city.
Farhan Kassam, the Co-owner, adds, “We pride ourselves on originality and are always looking for ways to deliver health-conscious dining in innovative and unique ways. We are the original home of The Torched Salmon Poké Bowl for starters. We’ve also recently launched a Smoked Tofu dish and baby scallop poké. Dishes not seen amongst other Poké spots.
“In a nutshell, we make game day healthy and do so through unique, flavourful dishes not seen around the city.”
The ONO Poke Bar also offers a 15% discount for fans on gameday if they are able to show staff their tickets or confirmation they have attended the game.
If you’re after a steakhouse, then STK Toronto is the best placed to head to after a game. STK artfully blends the modern steakhouse and chic lounge into one, offering a dynamic fine dining experience with the superior quality of a traditional steakhouse. Unlike traditional steakhouses, STK sets itself apart by focusing on the experience as a whole versus any singular aspect of a good night out. It’s not just the food, décor or the nightly music – it’s the combination of all these things that creates a vibe that you can only find at STK.
A spokesperson for STK feels Toronto Wolfpack fans and away supporters will really enjoy the camaraderie that the steakhouse encourages.
“The space was designed to create connections between tables that encourage conversation, camaraderie and fun. It is the perfect stop for Toronto Wolfpack fans that want to experience fine dining in a high-energy atmosphere before or after a game.”
Best area to stay
A common question that many sports fans will have when flying over to Toronto is where they should stay. There are plenty of choices and so many different neighbourhoods that each have their pros.
First of all, we’d recommend reading our “Where to stay in Toronto” guide as this gives you an idea of the different attractions in each neighbourhood and will hopefully narrow down the choices.
Jessica, who started Diary of a Toronto Girl back in 2015, adds, “Liberty Village is a lively neighbourhood close to tons of great restaurants and bars, and it’s located right by the Lamport Stadium! The Entertainment District would be another great area to stay in, with all the main tourist attractions in the area like the CN Tower and Ripley’s Aquarium.”
If you are planning on going to see a Toronto Wolfpack game and are looking for flight prices or hotel deals, take a look at Canadian Affair’s website.