“Today it was decided that one of the world’s largest and most popular sporting events will come to Canada for the first time,” says Mayor Tory. “The FIFA World Cup is a once in a generation opportunity to showcase Canada to the world and Toronto will be making a strong case to host games in our city.”
Don’t care? You might want to at least think about starting to. The World Cup is only the largest sporting event in the world.
Toronto, Montreal and Edmonton are the three Canadian cities which are part of the United 2026 bid, which includes 23 potential host cities in Canada, the United States and Mexico. The individual host cities will be selected in 2021. And unlike the Olympics, the United bid was not contingent on building new facilities, at least not in Canada, yet it promises to produce billions in revenue and profits.
Indeed, Toronto, as a multicultural city, comes alive with World Cup fever every four years. Fans and ex-pats of the 32 countries taking part this year seemingly come out of the woodwork, packing bars, restaurants and streets across the city, gathering with fellow supporters to cheer on favourite team. Get ready. From June 14 to July 15, the horn-honking, flag-waving and chest-beating will be a regular daytime activity, as some matches start as early as 6 a.m. Toronto time, and the latest at 3 p.m.
Let the flag waving begin.
Oh, and the drinking. Toronto bars are allowed to begin serving alcohol at 9 a.m. during the World Cup, since the host country Russia is seven hours ahead.
If you’re looking for a place to get your World Cup glow on, here’s a select list of some of the best places and neighbourhoods in the city to join the festivities.
Germany is the defending World Cup champion and a favourite to repeat, so it makes sense to list it first. However, unfortunately, one of the best places in Toronto to cheer on Die Mannschaft – The Musket Restaurant in Islington-City Centre West – is permanently closed.
305 Roncesvalles Ave
Round the Horn
331 Roncesvalles Ave
Both located in Roncesvalles neighbourhood, which is fitting given the neighbourhood’s Polish roots.
Euro Sports Bar and Grill
252 Lansdowne Ave. (Lansdowne and College) — in the Brockton Village neighbourhood
Lifetime Sports Bar
818 College St. (at Ossington) — In the Little Italy neighbourhood
Insert smiling emoji here… Even though Italy, Ireland and other football countries didn’t qualify for the 2018 World Cup, their sporting spirit will be on full display. These first two hot spots in Little Italy are famous in their own right and therefore worth a visit. They’re also well known gathering spots for fans of all nations looking to watch the action.
594 College St.
665 College St.
70 The Esplanade (and other locations in GTA) — in the St. Lawrence Market neighbourhood. Also in the Entertainment District, near the Church and Wellesley neighbourhood, and the Davisville neighbourhood.
And, of course, there are sports go-to places: Real Sports at 40 Bay St.; Bier Markt, with locations throughout the GTA; Jack Astor’s at Yonge and Dundas or Front and Church; and Shark Club at Yonge and Dundas. Essentially anyone, regardless of who you’re rooting for, can go to cheer on your team.
You might even see some fans of Italy, the U.S. and the Netherlands there, too, since, well… Be nice.