Riderville hits the road: The cost of following the Riders to Toronto this weekend

Riderville hits the road: The cost of following the Riders to Toronto this weekend

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If you’re thinking about attending the CFL eastern final at BMO Field in Toronto, you have less than a week to prepare.

The Saskatchewan Roughriders beat the Ottawa Redblacks on Sunday in the eastern semi-finals, ousting the defending champs and catapulting them to the final.

The Riders will play the Toronto Argonauts on their opponent’s home field on November 19.

Rider Nation will have an opportunity to cheer on their team as they attempt to secure a spot in the Grey Cup.

Tickets for Sunday’s game are still available online and run at $27 for an upper-level seat and $107 for a lower level seat. If you want to smell the player’s sweat, field level seats are $272 each. 

The cost of travelling to Toronto for the game depends on whether you want to save or splurge. (CBC News Graphics)

Flights to and from Toronto from Regina for the weekend will cost about $800 and $900, round trip, with fares expected to rise over the next three days.

It’s cheaper to fly out of Saskatoon, with round-trip flights starting at $640. 

Accommodation is available at a number of places a short bus ride away from the field. Through the Couchsurfing website, you can stay with locals for free, if you don’t mind sleeping on the couch of someone you don’t know.

Airbnbs in the area are about $45 per night and the Toronto Travellers Home offers small suites for just over $100 a night. In the mid-range, the Sheraton Centre Hotel is about $190 per night.

If you want to go all out, the Shangri-La Hotel is over $500 per night, but offers five-star luxury.

Don’t forget transportation. An Uber ride to the area from the Toronto Pearson Airport will cost about $20. A taxi or limo costs about $50-$60, respectively. A single bus fare is $3.25 in the city, while weekly passes are $43.75.

Toronto City Hall - Nathan Phillips Square - TORONTO sign

A night in Toronto, including airfare from Regina, will likely cost you at least $1,000. (David Donnelly/CBC)

No outside food or drinks are permitted on the premises of BMO Field. Fans are, however, allowed to bring in empty water bottles which they can fill at various fountains around the property, one which is right by the main entrance.

Water bottles are $4.25 at BMO Field, and beer is $12-13. The stadium boasts premium dishes like the kimchi and pulled chicken hot dog and the buffalo dog, both which are about $9.

Bags are allowed at BMO field but are subject to search.

Overall, heading to Toronto for a night to see the game will likely cost you nearly $1,000 and could cost more than $3,000 if you splurge. 

‘It’s once in a lifetime’

Donna Hodel, a lifelong Roughrider fan from Regina, is heading to Toronto on Saturday with her husband to attend the game.  

She said she was busy booking flights and buying their tickets right after the team’s big win on Sunday.

“It’s my birthday actually on the 19th and [my husband] said ‘What do you want for your birthday?’ Like everybody, we got enough stuff. And I said, ‘Well, we could go to Toronto for the final if the Riders win’ and so it was kind of a no brainer.”

“It is a lot of money but we decided why not. It’s once in a lifetime.”

The pair set a goal to see a Rider game in every stadium in every province in Canada.

They only have three left to go — Hamilton, Toronto and Vancouver — so Sunday’s game will tick another one off of the list.

BMO Field

Toronto’s BMO Field, where the Riders will play in the CFL eastern final, was host of the 2016 Grey Cup game. (Chris Young/The Canadian Press)

The couple paid $185 for two seats right behind the Rider bench, but Hodel said they aren’t the most intense football fans they know. In fact, one of her friends is flying in from Italy for the game.

“She makes me look like a part-time fan,” Hodel said, laughing.  

Hodel said she predicts a Roughriders win on Sunday. That would make them the first team from the west to win the eastern final.

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