Toronto Argos Game Day Off-the-Field Action Report for Game 3: Touchdown Atlantic

We’ve previously analyzed the Off the Field action for Home Game 1 and Home Game 2 – both, oddly enough, played in Toronto.

But, once again, the fans of the Good Ship Argonaut have, er, graciously donated one of our Home Games to the fine people of Atlantic Canada. So off we go to Husky Stadium at St. Mary’s University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, for Touchdown Atlantic 2023.

Bottom line, we had a great time, even if it didn’t feel like an Argos home game, and I really, truly, deeply, want Halifax to get its own CFL team.

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Argos 31, Saskatchewan 13


Let’s get the score out of the way. A resounding victory for the Double Blue.

you might want to skip the next part

And, what’s this? A palindrome? 31-13? How often does that happen? Let’s fire up the Unnecessary Analysis Machine! When was the last CFL palindromic game? It musta been a long time ago … let’s see …

CFL Palindromic Analysis

Well, uh, the last time it happened was last season. Winnipeg 31, Saskatchewan 13. And it turns out 31-13 is the Most Common CFL Palindromic Score. Since 1958 the CFL has had 56 games with palindromic scores, but 17 of those were ties, and we are hereby deciding that ties are Uninteresting. Sorry, Saskatchewan-Calgary 4-4 in 1963.

And neither is a score like “10-1” a palindrome even though that’s happened twice. Amazingly, Montreal lost to both Edmonton and Calgary in 1963 by identical 10-1 scores, the only time that score’s ever happened.

31-13 has happened a dozen times.

More CFL Palindromic Analysis

I cannot let this go. After 5,974 CFL games since 1958, there have been 39 True Palindromic Games, starting with Toronto over Ottawa 42-24, and a score of 31-13 is by far the most common, having occurred 12 times (including this year in Halifax.)

The highest scoring palindromic game was the very satisfying Toronto 52, Hamilton 25 in 1991.

now that you’ve actually set up this database, what else should we know?

  • after 5,974 #CFL games since 1958, the most common score is 27-24 (35 times), and there have been 1,252 different scores.

  • there are 333 scores that have only occurred once, including

  • 1-0 (Montreal 1, Ottawa 0, in 1966)

  • 56-0 (CFL’s Biggest shutout – Winnipeg over Saskatchewan in 1986)

more oddities –

  • Hamilton and BC have beat each other 3-0
  • 2-0 has never yet happened, but 3-0 and 4-0 has
  • the average CFL score is 30-17
  • the most common score (35 times) is 27-24

  • every number from 1 to 70 has been a Winning Score, except 2 and 69

  • every number from 0 to 52 has been a Losing Score.

could we get back to the game in Halifax if it’s not too much trouble

Er, I’ve got more. The (late) Baltimore Stallions are the only team with a Perfect Palindromic Record, having won twice, each time by the same 41-14 score, over both Toronto and Hamilton on consecutive weeks in 1995. That’s crazy! (Either that or there could be a bug in my database.)

Mike Hogan of the Argos helpfully pointed out that 82ºF is 28ºC (another palindrome) and mentioned this off-topic and yet still entertaining Weird Al video “Bob” in which every line is a palindrome –

Anyway, back to Touchdown Atlantic in Halifax

Cathy and I flew down for this and enjoyed the weekend very much. This was supoposedly a TORONTO ARGONAUTS HOME GAME but as you’ll see, it didn’t exactly feel like one.

the overall atmosphere

Halifax was crawling with Saskatchewan fans wearing green. Probably outnumbering Argo jerseys 10-1 or more. How many had actually come from Saskatchewan for the game? Who knows, but somehow that entire province’s identity seems to be wrapped up in the Roughriders and even people who moved away decades ago somehow still have a Roughrider jersey they can dig out.

I like to joke that the reason you see so many Roughrider fans at road games is that people just cannot WAIT to get out of Saskatchewan.

Halifax’s waterfront is great but


there were no signs or banners or flags or anything to let you know that Touchdown Atlantic was actually happening. The game was sold out, so maybe someone thought it didn’t matter, but it would have been nice to see a little hype for the locals. Vendors were asking me what was happening, was there a game on? Even the hotel we were in – where the CFL league staff were also staying, and where we were the only people to notice the Grey Cup entering the lobby – showed no evidence that anything special was happening.

The long term goal here is for Halifax to get its own team, not just for it to host some out of town fans once in a while. I wish the event hadn’t been so invisible.

pockets of pregame fun

The team sponsored a night at Durty Nelly’s bar and we’re grateful for the free beer! Pinball was on hand, exuding 110% charm as always. I’m ready to run through a wall! Just say where!

Of course you only heard about this event if you bumped into another fan; there didn’t seem to be much of an official plan to let the Argo faithful know about it.

game day

The game was Saturday afternoon. We made our way over to the campus of St. Mary’s University in the middle of Halifax and the temporary stadium therein. Turns out this is the second time I’ve seen the Argos play here – my son and I came in 2005 for an exhibition 16-16 tie vs. the Ticats. This time I was with Cathy. And weirdly it almost seemed like we were in the exact same seats. Here’s 2005 and 2023 – hey, I got a new hat somewhere along the way.

Me and Alex, 2005

Me and Cathy, 2023

Cathy had been bugging me all week to be more like a Maritimer, to ask the people at drive-thru windows how they’re doing or to chat about the weather with the guy at the toll booth, and the guy sitting beside me overheard and said “Well it must be working, you actually talked to me when you sat down, unlike typical Torontonians.”

sidebar: Former Chief Centurions of the Warriors Band

How many CCWB’s were on hand? Three! At least! That we know about! It was a treat to invite Halifax’s own Dr. David Greenberg, CCWB I, founder of the Most Illustrious UW Warriors Band back in 1966. Cathy joined the band when I was CCWB IX, and later became CCWB XI herself. And 30 years later we got married. (Me and Cathy, that is.) Thank you Dave! And thanks Mrs Dave (Cheryl) for taking this picture!


signs of the game

Here are a couple of my favourites. Grey Cup in Halifax? Sign us up!


Also be sure to bring a marker in case you need to adjust your sign for the conclusion of the game.


whose game is it anyway?

Update: I’ve been told that despite what we all assumed, the CFL decided this was to be a neutral game, not an Argo home game, and directed the game day staff and announcer accordingly, which would explain a few things. I’m not sure I agree with that decision, but I guess it’s their show.

This [edit: see above] was an Argo “home” game but it sure didn’t feel like one. Forget that Argo fans were outnumbered by weird green-clad Saskatchewanians. It was still OUR home game. Small but enthusiastic groups with Argo jerseys, and the native Haligonians sitting near us were pulling for Toronto. (And there was at least one guy in a Doug Flutie San Diego Chargers jersey. I’ll count that as double blue apparel.)

So tell me why –

  • the (local Halifax) announcer – enthusiastically welcomed Saskatchewan mascot Gainer the Gopher to the field, but never mentioned the presence of Argo mascot Jason (i have since been advised by another attendee that Jason was introduced, so apologies if I missed that);

  • the local announcer guy eagerly told us to stand for the fourth quarter traditional playing of “The Last Saskatchewan Pirate”, which I will concede is a good song, by (ahem) a band from Ontario, but this is a SASKATCHEWAN HOME GAME TRADITION, so why are we doing it at an Argo home game?

  • “Green Is the Colour”, Saskatchewan’s fight song, was played after the Riders’ lone touchdown. Played louder and repeated more often than Go Argos Go.

  • The prime VIP seats in the center of the opposite grandstand seemed to be 80% full of people wearing green. How’d that happen? Why didn’t Argo fans hear about those seats?


The hype sure seemed to be for Saskatchewan.

Look, if we Argo fans are going to donate one of our precious home games to Halifax, let’s not turn it into a Rider home game like this.

what else was happening off the field?

None of the regular Argo promotions happened. Hardly any giveaways. But they did have a guy attempt to kick field goals – I think he won a $200 OK Tire gift card. OK Tire also donated $50K to Nova Scotia youth football. Well done! More than OK.

I fondly remember the old Wendy’s “Kick for a Million” promotion and was lucky to be at Skydome when that guy won the $1,000,000, even if it really was just $20K/year for 50 years.

There was another promotion where two fans competed to see who could put on a totally frozen solid T-shirt. That looked cool. (see what I did there?)

what about the anthem

O Canada clocked in at 1:18, sung very nicely by a local singer. Fastest anthem of our “home” season so far.

remember those signs I was wondering about last time?

Well we got a good look at what was on the other side – nothing.


what about QR codes?

There was a temporary jumbotron in the corner and as far as I could tell, the QRCodes it displayed were indeed encoded properly (unlike the Pizza Pizza QR code promotion at home game 2.) This one, for instance, is which redirects properly to Purolator’s Tackle Hunger promotion.


Another QR code looked for feedback on Touchdown Atlantic for a chance to win a prize package. Hey, fill this out, you never know. (It’s a survey looking at the economic impact of the game – and asking you if you would support the idea of a team in Halifax. Why yes, I would. I’ve been to every CFL game in Halifax so far! (total: 2))

Let’s hope our QR Codes at BMO are fixed for the next game. (Trust me, if they are, I’ll let you know.)


They were handing out little yellow footballs. I gave mine to a kid who didn’t get one. Reminder, this is what you do with free things at sporting events. Give them to kids.

There were Touchdown Atlantic shirts and hats for sale. I wish there’d been a nice souvenir pin. I would have added that to my collection.

Also “Touchdown” beer.


what’s with these orange lines?

I don’t get what these orange lines on the field are.

halftime show

At first I thought, wow, the divot replacement squad here is armed with swords but no, those are Scottish dancers. Nice work, ladies.


did you sing Go Argos Go?

yes! Thank you, game day folks, for playing this (however I think the recording needs a little audio attention or level setting or something. It’s hard to tell at first if it’s actually playing, and then people stumble into the song on about the 4th line.)

Of course I conducted the faithful – thanks Will for the picture!


Two different people said to me “Hey, didn’t you used to be the bandleader?” Made my day.

creature comforts lacking a bit

You can only do so much with temporary seating. Frankly I found it all to be a little cramped, and if you were sitting in the middle of a row, there was almost no way to get to your seat without everybody else getting up and out of the way.

Trash cans were overflowing. OK I get it this is a temporary setup, but still, not a good look.

Worst of all, the food and drinks were sold out of food trucks located quite a ways from the seats themselves, and the lineup for the restrooms was horrendous. Cathy missed most of the 1st quarter in line for food, and almost all of the 3rd quarter in line for the temporary porta-potties (she reported “at least 30 people in line for each of the 20 toilets.”) Even more aggravating, not far from us in the end zone was another row of portapotties, that were off limits unless you had a special wristband for that area.

The stadium was surrounded by campus buildings. Aren’t there restrooms in there we could use?

Which leads me to –

Can the CFL work in Halifax with a setup like this?

I think so. I hope so. The buzz in the packed stadium – uncomfortably packed, but thankfully packed – was great. Everybody wants it to work!! BUT – A flimsy temporary stadium isn’t going to be good enough, at least without substantial improvements to the food and restroom situation. People might tolerate that for a single exhibition game but the casual fan would be unlikely to return. Fix that situation.

The CFL staff were all staying in our hotel and I had a few conversations with some, including one with a senior exec where I said “look, we all want this to work, we just need to find someone with $200,000,000 for a stadium, so you should find someone with $200,000,000.”

I was informed it’s a little more complicated than that. But I’m hoping. I want to go to a Grey Cup in Halifax too.

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