It couldn't have been more quintessentially Canadian. One of those "only in the Canadian Football League" moments played out in downtown Toronto on Saturday afternoon.
Throughout the 2017 CFL season, Saskatchewan Roughriders receiver Duron Carter has spent hours watching film, perfecting his game. Normally it's of the football game from the previous week, breaking down what happened and how he can be better.
But on Saturday afternoon in the big city, less than 24 hours before the biggest game of the season to date, Carter took in a film of a different kind, alongside more than 20 Roughriders fans.
Earlier this week Carter took to Twitter, saying he wanted to arrange a movie night for Roughriders fans the day before the CFL East final. He kept updating the progress of his planning throughout the week, complete with asking the fans if they preferred a 1 p.m. or 4 p.m. matinee. To top it off, Carter told the fans he would pick up the bill.
The Cineplex Cinema Varsity is the location!!! We have meetings and a early game so we have a choice of 1pm or 4pm on Saturday! Vote now!!— @DC_CHILLIN_8
At around 3:45 p.m. ET, Carter rolled up the escalator into the lounge of the Cineplex Cinema Varsity location as 24 green-clad Riders fans cheered and chanted "Go Riders Go!"
Here comes @DC_CHILLIN_8 to the cheers of the @sskroughriders. At a movie theatre in downtown Toronto. Carter is now counting the people and buying the movie tickets. @CFL @cbcsports @CBCSask pic.twitter.com/8Y9CxjRSLb— @Devin_Heroux
"Rider Nation embraces me for who I am," Carter said. "Usually people are writing articles about what I shouldn't be doing. There's none of that in Regina. It's about football and winning. And that's what I'm about."
Carter shook the hands of the fans as he counted them all. Then he went to the register to find out the total: $324. He counted out mostly $50 bills and handed them over to the cashier.
"I'm glad it's this many," he laughed. "If it was anymore I would have had to go to the bank and sign my name. It's a good turnout. We're about to see a great movie."
The movie they all watched? Justice League.
"Let's do this. Enjoy the show everyone," Carter told the crowd of "Rider Priders" as they followed him into the theatre.
"We love him. We love his quirky ways"
Most of the 24 people who showed up from the movie were from Saskatchewan, die-hards who travelled to Toronto to take in the game on Sunday.
Cheryl Rous is from the small town of Chamberlain, Sask., about 45 minutes away from Regina. She flew into Toronto with her husband and two sisters on Friday morning. When Rous and her crew found out about the movie matinee with Carter online, they made immediate plans to attend.
"This is amazing," Rous said. "We love him. We love his quirky ways. We just love him."
This is the first game all year Rous is attending live. She says they watch all the games on T.V., but after the Roughriders beat the Ottawa Redblacks last Sunday in the Eastern semifinal, they made plans the next morning to be in Toronto this weekend.
"We booked our tickets, flights and hotel immediately," Rous said.
As for getting to watch a movie the day before the big game with one of her favourite receivers, Rous says it's the perfect way to countdown to kickoff.
"What a great way to relax," she said. "It's better than sitting in a bar being nervous before the game."
The Toronto Argonauts host the Saskatchewan Roughriders in the CFL East final on Sunday. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m. ET.
Carter is hoping he gets another chance to watch a film or two this season. It would mean he and the Roughriders were preparing for the Grey Cup.