A high school marching band and green-clad Saskatchewan Roughriders fans welcomed the Grey Cup as it arrived at Calgary City Hall on a chuckwagon.
Hundreds of people cheered as Kelly Sutherland — a 10-time world champion chuckwagon driver and a 10-time Calgary Stampede Derby champion — held the trophy while riding in a chuckwagon with Mark Cohon, commissioner of the Canadian Football League, to the steps of City Hall.
The arrival of the Grey Cup signals the start of festivities leading up to Sunday's championship game between the Roughriders and the Montreal Alouettes at McMahon Stadium.
"I think we're going to have an amazing time here in Calgary. As I said, fans come from across this country and reconnect with each other and that's what the Grey Cup is about — it's about connecting as Canadians," said Cohon.
Arlene Mongovius, decked out in her green team colours, came from Saskatoon with four friends to cheer on the Roughriders. She said she hopes Calgarians will cheer for her home team.
"Well, I'm really hoping. We cheered for Calgary last year when they were in the game. I'm really hoping Calgary returns the favour," she said. The Calgary Stampeders won the Grey Cup in 2008.
Mongovius will have some help from Calgary Mayor Dave Bronconnier.
"As much and hard it is to actually say, the 'Riders instead of the Stampeders, nonetheless, it is the western-based team and we'll be cheering them on, Sunday afternoon," said Bronconnier.
Dozens of Grey Cup events are scheduled, leading up to Sunday's game at 4:30 MT.
- CFL player awards at the Telus Convention Centre on Thursday night.
- Families are invited to Olympic Plaza on Friday, Saturday and Sunday for pancake breakfasts, live entertainment and a chance to meet former Stampeders, and Calgary Flames alumni.
- Free live performances will be held Friday, Saturday and Sunday on Stephen Avenue between Olympic Plaza and Second Street S.W.
- A gala concert is being held on Saturday at Pengrowth Stadium featuring Great Big Sea, George Canyon, Divine Brown and Sophie Millman. Tickets are available through Ticketmaster.
- On Saturday, Hollywood actress Elisha Cuthbert, who was born in Calgary, will lead the Grey Cup Festival Parade as grand marshal starting at 11 a.m.