Millions of people have been flooding the streets of downtown Toronto to celebrate the first Raptors NBA championship in history. Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment revealed earlier today that two million fans are set to attend today's festivities. Now, the streets of Toronto are so overcrowded due to the Raptors parade that subway stations are closing down and fans at Nathan Phillips Square are passing out.
Raptors fans have been lining up to watch the parade since this weekend to catch a glimpse of the team that brought the NBA championship home to Canada. Since this morning, the crowd has only continued to grow – so much so, that roads are completely jammed with fans who want to be part of the parade.
The City of Toronto has stated that Nathan Phillips Square is now closed to any additional fans as it has reached its maximum capacity. Some have taken to social media to beg people to stop coming downtown because it's already so overcrowded.
Serious problems are now starting to arise along the parade route. Fans who are currently at Nathan Phillips Square have been reporting that those who have been waiting to see the Raptors for hours aren't doing so well.
According to Lori Ewing, a sports writer for The Canadian Press, those who are at the front of the crowd are begging for water as the day continues and temperatures rise.
Ewing reports that security is pulling multiple people over the barrier every few seconds. She claims that security had to pull a semi-conscious child over the barrier and into a stretcher earlier today.
One Twitter user at the parade even claims that 60 people have passed out in the square due to dehydration and the lack of water while waiting for the Raptors.
However, the overcrowding is an issue even beyond Nathan Phillips Square. It's also affecting transit for non-parade goers. According to TTC media relations, the overcrowding is so bad in downtown that Queen and Osgoode Stations are both closed. This is because there are so many people above ground and around these stations that commuters passing through the area cannot reach ground level and are stuck underground.
While the City of Toronto originally planned for the Raptors to reach Nathan Phillips Square by 12:30 PM, the players were still far from their final destination an hour later, at 1:30 PM.
The unprecedented overcrowding at the parade has caused major delays along the route, as the double-decker buses attempt to work their way through the huge amount of fans.