Ford vows to find CFL's Argonauts a new home
Mayor will do 'everything in his power' to move football team from Rogers Centre
Mayor Rob Ford has vowed to do "everything in his power" to get the Canadian Football League's Toronto Argonauts a new home field.
"We need a football stadium in this city, bad," Ford said on Tuesday.
This is not the first time Ford has raised the issue of a stadium, but his interest was recently renewed when he took in a CFL game at Winnipeg's new $200-million, 33,000-seat Investors Group Field.
He called the game an "amazing, amazing experience" and thinks Toronto’s team deserves a similar stadium. "Just go out to Winnipeg — they have a brand new stadium and it’s packed," he said.
The Argonauts have been looking to relocate the home field as far back as 2000, when a plan to move the team to the University of Toronto's Varsity Stadium was abandoned.
The team used to play on the university grounds, but moved to Exhibition Stadium after 1959.
The Argos have been playing in the Rogers Centre since it opened in 1989.
The team recently played a preseason game at Varsity Stadium, which Ford also attended.
"We can either work with U of T, we can work with BMO [Field] or maybe we can work with Downsview or Woodbine," he said of the options for the stadium.
But a U of T spokesman previously ruled out adding more seats to accommodate CFL coming to the 5,000-seat campus stadium. BMO Field, home to Toronto's Major League Soccer team, Downsview and Woodbine would need renovations to host football. Similar discussions about moving the team to York University have also fell through in years' past.
Regardless, Ford stressed the importance of a new place to play football in Toronto.
"We need a football stadium," he said, "especially after winning the Grey Cup."