Toronto Bills Series
Rogers Centre
Toronto, Ontario
Chicago Bears vs. Buffalo Bills
Buffalo Bills Stadium
November 7, 2010
22 - 19 Loss
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  Stadium Vitals                
Opened: June 3, 1989
Capacity: 54,000 seats
Playing Surface: FieldTurf
Draft Beer: $10.75
Hot Dog: $5.25
Stadium Parking: $30.00       
Buffalo Bills Toronto Series
Rogers Centre
Stadium Address

One Blue Jays Way
Toronto, Ontario M5V 1J3
(416) 341-3000  
Get Directions 
 
 


Stadium Review
- Toronto Bills Series

City of Buffalo SkylineThe Buffalo Bills are a small market team in a league of big fish, and since 1960, owner Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. has steered the course of the franchise, maintaining the team's ties to the city of Buffalo. Buffalo is an old steel town that's seen its share of hard times and the recent economic downturn continues to take its toll on the area. Lots of its homegrown talent have left western New York to look for jobs in other cities and as you travel the country you'll find Bills transplants everywhere.

Including the surrounding suburbs, western New York has a population of roughly 900,000 people, most of which are die hard Bills fans. Pro football has become and institution in this area, and the Buffalo Bills boast one of the NFL's most resilient fan bases. After over a decade of team ineptness, including ten years without a playoff appearance, Ralph Wilson Stadium continues to sell out. However, the pressure imposed on smaller market teams to be profitable is a constant concern and the threat of the losing the Buffalo Bills to a larger market is very real. At ninety-two years old, Mr. Wilson is still shrewd and spry, but he won't be around forever. When he leaves us for good, many fear that the Bills will leave Buffalo as well.

Anna, Myself and Big Hans at the Rogers CentreWe've been told that the Bills Toronto Series is a direct attempt to increase the sustainability of the Buffalo Bills franchise by expanding its appeal into southern Ontario. The idea is to play some Buffalo Bills home games in the city of Toronto in an attempt to build a more regional fanbase by including our neighbor to the north. By growing a Canadian contingent of Buffalo Bills fans, the organization hopes to keep the franchise viable with an expanded market. Conspiracy theorists will tell you that this is merely a first step toward transitioning the Buffalo Bills to the city of Toronto permanently in a diabolical plot to finally wrestle our franchise from the hard-working people of Buffalo. I can't say if they're right, no one knows for sure, but there's already interest on the part of the Rogers Centre in splitting Bills home games, especially if the NFL goes to an 18 game regular season. What I can say, however, is that although Bills ownership might have good intentions with the Bills Toronto Series, they certainly have failed in their attempt to create a true home field advantage when the Buffalo Bills take the field here in Canada.

Chicago Bears Fans invade Toronto for Bills Toronto SeriesI spent the weekend in Toronto as the Toronto Bills ... I mean, the Buffalo Bills, prepared to lock horns with the Chicago Bears in early November. I was most astounded by the number of Bears fans that invaded southern Ontario throughout the weekend, however. They were everywhere. Bears fans collected at the CN Tower, they roamed the Hockey Hall of Fame, and most disturbingly, Chicago Bears fans dominated the "home crowd" inside the Rogers Centre on gameday.


The main problem is that going to a Bills game in Toronto is extremely cost prohibitive for western New Yorkers; and quite frankly, the Canadians who are supposed to become our regional fanbase couldn't care less about American football. What's left is a block of tickets that's readily available to be bought up by Chicago Bears fans or whoever the visiting team might happen to be.  When the Dolphins and Jets came to town the two previous years, their fans snatched up the tickets and showed up in droves, so when the Buffalo Bills take the field on Sunday, they might as well be on the road.

The Rogers Centre crowd was extremely pro-Bears, so the Buffalo Bills basically surrender their home field advantage in the cozy confines of Ralph Wilson Stadium for a ninth game on the road. When the Bills offense took the field on Sunday, signals at the line were drowned out by a booming wall of sound created by fans of the visiting team.  As a die hard Bills fan, it was an embarrassment.

Fan Zone Tailgating at the Rogers Centre for Toronto Bills SeriesThe other thing that really bothered me about my experience in southern Ontario was the pregame. I was warned that the city of Toronto has a strictly enforced no tailgating policy as well as open container laws. Apparently, if you even try to set down a cooler or crack open a beer next to your vehicle, citations are issued immediately by the Canadian Police (damned Mounties!). The enterprising tailgater is therefore left with very few options. There's the team sponsored activities, including the Budweiser Bills Tailgate Party, but everyone in your party must be 19 or older to enter the tailgate area. If you have kids with you, this tailgate party is not an option. In this case, your only alternative is the Pre-Game festival located in the Fan Zone on the other side of the stadium. This family friendly, alcohol free gathering includes live bands and entertainment, but it's hardly NFL tailgating. I ended up going into the stadium an hour and a half before game time to grab a beer ... which I'm sure is exactly what the event organizers were hoping for. The bottom line is that Toronto Tailgating has a very sterile feel to it. I prefer the familiar wide expanse of asphalt and premiere tailgating that you find outside Ralph Wilson Stadium.

Street Meat in Toronto on the Quest for 31On a more positive note, the Rogers Centre has some excellent concessions. Prime Rib Mini sliders, grilled bistro chicken sandwiches, classic poutine, and slow roasted carved meats are all available for consumption. Football fans will also find an impressive selection of draft beer available as well. Along with the Budweiser and Labbatts products that you'll find in concessions stands throughout the stadium, I was happy to find Alexander Keith's on tap. If nothing else, the Canadians understand the value of some high quality sustenance. If you're on a budget, I highly recommend the sausage vendors selling "street meat" located outside the Rogers Centre. This southern Ontario staple is best consumed accented by the full compliment of toppings located in bins on the counter area. At $3.75, you really can't go wrong.

Hans Steiniger and Annabella at the Rogers CentreThe game itself was a major disappointment. The Buffalo Bills are becoming a team that's really adept at finding creative ways to lose close games. Including the 22-19 loss to the Chicago Bears, their last three games have been three point loses. After carving up what appeared to be a formidable Baltimore Ravens defense two weeks ago with laser-sited strikes to streaking wide receivers, Ryan Fitzpatrick looked very mediocre. The running game was nonexistent and the defense again looked ordinary. In the end, costly turnovers led to the Bills undoing and Chicago narrowly escaped with a well deserved win.

Quest for 31 at the Rogers Centre - Bills Toronto SeriesThe Bills are 0-3 in Canada, 0-4 if you count their matchup against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats on August 8, 1961. At the time the fledgling AFL was desperate to prove its legitimacy to the more established NFL and a matchup between one of their worst teams was setup with one of the CFL's best. The NFL had sent several teams up north and won every matchup, so it was thought to be an easy win for the Bills. A win would prove that the AFL was at least the second best pro football league in North America, but a loss would be an costly to the new league. The Buffalo Bills took on the the Hamilton Tiger-Cats at Ivor Wynne Stadium in Hamilton, Ontario and they lost the game 38-21. It was the only time a pro football team from the US was ever defeated by a pro football team from Canada. Almost forty years later, the Bills once again turn to Canadian bretheren, this time to save our franchise ... or maybe to take it from us.


For more information on the city of Toronto, Ontario check out my other reviews by clicking on the links below:
     NHL: March 19, 2011 - Boston Bruins vs. Toronto Maple Leafs
    
NHL: Toronto Maple Leafs, Air Canada Centre - General Information
     NBA: March 18, 2011 - Washington Wizard vs. Toronto Raptors
     NBA: Toronto Raptors, Air Canada Centre - General Information
 

 
City of Toronto Local Information  
Top Tourist Attractions:
CN Tower, Toronto Eaton Centre,  Nathan Phillips Square
Hockey Hall of Fame
Casa Loma
Harbourfront


Local Foods:
Poutine (French fries covered in cheese curds & gravy)
Toronto Sausage Vendors "Street Meat" (accented w/ variety of toppings)

What They're Drinkin':
Labbatt's Blue, Molson Canadian, Mooshead

Fan Resources:
Pocket Map of Toronto
Stadium Policy
Stadium Parking Map
Metro Rail Map (Subway/RT)
Fan Forum:
Buffalo Range.com, The Stadium Wall.com

Local Sports Media:
Toronto Star
FAN 590


Popular Bar Districts:
Richmond Street (Club Cayo Coco, Lot 332, Circa, This is London, Runway  224, Frequency)
Adelaide Street (Courthouse, Bar 244, Crocodile Rock)
Yorkville (Club V, Babaluu, Lobby Night Club)
Alleycatz Live Jazz Bar - located on Youngs Street
Steam Whistle Brewing - located next to Rogers Centre (1st beer is FREE)

Best Restaurants:
Captain John's Harbour Boat Restaurant (Seafood)
360 Restaurant - located at the top of the CN Tower (Fine dining)
Acqua Ristorante (Fine Dining)
The Loose Moose (Sports Bar & Grill)
Gabby's (Pub Grub)


Getting to the Stadium:
The Rogers Centre is located in downtown Toronto with plenty of parking available in the area.  However, Toronto is notorious for its horrible traffic.  Be sure to leave early if you're driving downtown for a game.  You're best bet is probably to take the subway.  Take the Yellow Line (Yonge-University-Spedina) to Union Station. Follow the SkyWalk west or walk west on the south side of Front Street to the Rogers Centre.

Where To Stay:
The Rogers Centre is located in the heart of downtown Toronto.  If you're going to the Bills Toronto Series game, you'll want to take full advantage of what the international metropolis of downtown Toronto has to offer.  With its theatre districts and world class dining, plan to stay downtown.  I recommend the Renaissance Hotel which is connected to the Rogers Centre.  Other options include the Fairmont Royal York or the Intercontinental Toronto Centre.  

 
Planning Your Next Trip to see the Buffalo Bills at the Rogers Centre?
Traveling to all thirty-one stadiums around the National Football League, teaches you a thing or two about getting the most for your money.  I've set up this website to help others that are interested in NFL Travel.  Below you'll find links for cheap Buffalo Bills tickets, arena seating charts, and local weather for everything you need to plan a successful trip to the Rogers Centre in Toronto or to Ralph Wilson Stadium in Orchard Park.


Compare Prices for Buffalo Bills Football Tickets Here:


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Buffalo Bills ticket availability at each of the top online ticket brokers on the web.  Try each link to find the cheapest NFL ticket prices:
TicketCity.com
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Razorgator.com
  
Quest for 31 at the Rogers Centre Toronto Bills Series - Quest for 31 Hans and Hans with Annabella in Toronto 
The NFL comes to Canda   Hans and Hans with Annabella   In the Shadow of the Rogers Centre
         
NFL in Toronto, Ontario   Rogers Centre Stadium Policies   Budweiser Bills Tailgate Party at the Rogers Centre 
The NFL Shield in Toronto, Ontario   Stadium Policies for the Rogers Centre   Canadian Tailgating ...
         
Fan Zone at the Rogers Centre    Balloon animals and hats    FieldTurf surface at Rogers Centre 
Fan Zone Tailgate next to the Rogers Centre    Balloon Animals and Hats for the kids   Go Bills!  Pregame at the Rogers Centre
         
Toronto Bills vs Chicago Bears - Rogers Centre    Are we seeing signs of the Toronto Bills?    Gametime in Canda 
Checking out the Field   Could this be the beginning of the Toronto Bills?   Annabella and myself before kickoff
         
         
     
COMMENTS?
Please feel free to post any suggestions or comments you might have
for my journey to the Bills Toronto Series at the Rogers Centre, including the following:
 
             
 - Local Hotspots (Bar Districts, Restaurants, Clubs)
               - Local Foods (Traditional Cuisine, Micro Brews)
               - Tailgating Traditions
               - Your Experiences or Helpful Hints

               - If you saw me let me know!
 
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From: Sam in Paris (france)
Sent: Wednesday, April 14, 2010 4:48 PM

I just discover your blog and i'm very impressed for all your trip on stadium. Nice to read you :-) you have a funny life ans it's cool to share your experience with all of us. read you soon...
 

   
   

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