Published November 6, 2021
It’s finally time for our list of Toronto Raptors family tips! It’s been a long time coming, as the last game we went to before last night was in March 2020. It was the penultimate (that means second-last, kids) home game before the infamous shut-down of seemingly everything. I had won a trivia contest and we sat way up in the rafters in the Bell Fan Deck.
We recalled that night longingly all through the Orlando bubble and the lost year in Tampa last season. But now, our team is finally back home and Scotiabank Arena is bustling once again! We returned last night to see the Raptors’ fifth home game of the season and had a great time.
As with everything these days, Covid has changed how things are run so there are new safety regulations. Plus, as we did detailed for Blue Jays games, we have some entertainment and money-saving tips as well.
(Note: Some of this information is related specifically to the Raptors games but other events at Scotiabank Arena, including Maple Leafs games, have similar protocols.)
Covid Safety Regulations
- Both Scotiabank Arena and the Raptors sent me emails ahead of time detailing their back-to-action plan – more information here.
- Proof of vaccination is required of all patrons over 12 (except for guests with a verified medical exemption) with the new government-issued vaccination receipt and personal identification.
- There are three separate checkpoints upon entering the building: vaccination, tickets then security. There are plenty of staff members guiding guests through and it is a quick well-organized process.
- Hand sanitizing stations are spread out around the building and cleaning protocols have been increased.
- Touchless systems are in place: credit card tap machines are at all concession stands and, upon entry, tickets are scanned digitally.
- Mask-wearing is required unless eating or drinking. We did see a few people not wearing masks or wearing them improperly. But, for the most part, patrons were respectful of the new-normal rules.
- The Scotiabank Arena has gone back to full-capacity and there is no built-in distanced seating or family-specific area. With that in mind, I intentionally bought aisle seats near an exit so that we would have extra space around us, since my daughter is too young to be vaccinated.
Money-Saving Tips & Tricks
- The most expensive games are against major-market teams and those with superstar players. For the best price, get tickets against teams with lesser-known rosters and/or who are lower in the standings (“lower tier”) if you don’t mind not seeing Lebron or Luka.
- Weekend and matinée games are more expensive than weekdays. So see if there’s a weekday game if you want to see a high-ranked opponent (or the return of a beloved former Raptor, which is always popular).
- Within the building, obviously the upper bowl seats are cheaper than lower bowl. However, the ends of the arena are less expensive because there isn’t the side-to-side sight-lines we’re used to from TV coverage. We didn’t mind so I was able to get lower bowl end seats for the same price as upper bowl centre seats.
Food & Drink
- Outside food and drink is not allowed inside the arena. However, there are water fountains at sections 101, 110, 311 and 323 so you can bring in an empty bottle to fill up.
- There are numerous gourmet options available, but the most economical selections are the classics found at the “Food Junction” stands: popcorn, nachos, french fries, peanuts, pretzels and chicken tenders.
- If the Raptors make 12 3-pointers in a game, McDonalds gives out a free order of medium fries the next day (Small print: “Minimum $1 pre-tax purchase required. Must be Canadian 13+. Valid the day after the game 11am – 4am at participating restaurants in Ontario and Atlantic Canada.”)
- Grab a cheap pre-game lunch or dinner before entering the building. There are fast-food options along Bremner Boulevard and at the new Union Station food court, just north of the Scotiabank Arena. One of our favourites is the Danish Pastry House in the Union Station concourse, with baked goods that are affordable, delicious and portable to boot!
Promotions & In-Arena Experience
- Become a Raptors Insider for free through the team’s website and download the app. Play games, enter contests, receive special offers, get notification of ticket sales, and more!
- You can get a free birthday message on the jumbotron by sending in your information here.
- Show off a homemade sign and get up to dance if you and/or your kids want to get on the jumbotron or win prizes during pauses in play. Watch out for the T.O. Crew for T-shirt giveaways and the roving camera operators for the jumbotron.
- Get there early to watch the team shoot-around, listen to DJ 4 Corners spin some classics and watch the introduction videos on the jumbotron.
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