British Columbia

City of Vancouver working on creating Toronto Raptors fan zone for NBA finals

City Coun. Michael Wiebe says the idea is to host a family-friendly fan zone for the NBA finals, as the Toronto Raptors take on the Golden State Warriors.

Coun. Michael Wiebe says the idea is to host a family-friendly fan zone for the NBA finals

Toronto Raptors Kawhi Leonard hoists the Eastern Conference championship trophy, Saturday. Vancouver city officials are considering hosting a local, public fan zone for the NBA finals. (Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press)

The Toronto Raptors are heading to the NBA finals, and, at the far end of the country in Vancouver, that means plenty of bandwagon fans ready to get behind Canada's only pro basketball team.

Now, the City of Vancouver is trying to create a local version of Jurassic Park — the public square in the South Core neighbourhood of Toronto where fans gather to watch the games, also known as Maple Leaf Square, but nicknamed Jurassic Park during the Raptors 2014 post season.

The Vancouver version still hasn't been given the go-ahead, but it has already been dubbed "Jurassic West."

"We're hoping to do a family-friendly event, outdoors — stages, food trucks — and have a lot of fun with it," said Vancouver Coun. Michael Wiebe. "I look forward to continuing to work with the organizers, and hopefully we'll be able to come up with something soon."

Wiebe said the city is interested in hosting the fan zone outside the Vancouver Art Gallery.

"We're looking at site plans and working with the groups, so I'm hoping that if something can come, we'll probably know as early as tomorrow morning," he said on Monday.

"We can really have an opportunity to strengthen basketball in Vancouver, which I think there's been a great history — I think it's something we can continue," said Wiebe.

Vancouver's pro basketball team, the Grizzlies, joined the league in 1995 — the same year as the Toronto Raptors — but was moved to Memphis after the 2000-2001 season.

On Saturday night, the Raptors made franchise history, beating the Milwaukee Bucks to secure the Eastern conference Championship, qualifying for the NBA finals for the first time.

The finals against the Golden State Warriors begin on Thursday.

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