We all saw sad writing on the wall when the city of Toronto announced Tuesday afternoon that public events of all kinds would be banned until June 30, as the impact on our major sports would be unavoidable. Fortunately, the office of Mayor John Tory has since clarified matters with one crucially important detail: sporting events held at privately-owned facilities will not be affected by this government order.
It doesn't mean we're out of the woods. But sports fans should still breathe a big sigh of relief.
Toronto is truly a global city and renowned center for culture and commerce, and happens to be home to teams in just about every sport played in North America. There's the defending NBA champion Raptors, the Maple Leafs, and the Blue Jays, as well as the Argonauts of the CFL and Toronto FC of Major League Soccer. We can and should cross our collective fingers that today's news doesn't automatically spell doom for all of them in these days of COVID-19.
In the meantime, the province of Ontario has affirmed that a ban on gatherings of more than five people will remain in place until at least the middle of April. That means we still have far to go before we can suggest that things are even remotely on the way back to normal. But in these times, any shred of encouraging information must be clutched tight.
For now, Toronto sports aren't automatically dead until the start of July.