America Votes Obama party at The Bloor Cinema in Toronto

Obama Party Packs The Bloor Cinema

Over 800 people packed The Bloor Cinema last night to witness a piece of history as the U.S. election results poured in.

NOW Magazine organized this America Votes party, which had a licensed bar and free entry (Bloor Cinema memberships needed, which were just $3).

Toronto is overwhelmingly supportive of democrat Barack Obama, so it wasn't much of a surprise that the place was at capacity by 8:30 p.m.

America Votes Obama party at The Bloor Cinema in TorontoAn Obama supporter at America Votes Obama party at The Bloor Cinema in Toronto

I almost didn't get in as the venue was at capacity when I arrived. But they let me in anyway with standing room only.

Suits me fine, so long as I could see the screen.

I didn't want to have to brave the cold at Yonge-Dundas Square, where Spacing magazine was holding their own Obama victory party.

Once inside, I noticed the lineup for the concession stand went up the stairs.

A longer lineup for alcohol went all the way up the other staircase to the mezzanine.

People were lining up close to an hour for a few beers, provided by Pauper's Pub across the street.

"We ended up going through 20 cases of beer," said one of the servers. "This is four times the amount we expected to go through."

The coverage itself wavered between CNN, and The Daily Show/The Colbert Report's

America Votes Obama party at The Bloor Cinema in Toronto serves up the beer

INdecision 2008.The latter coverage was perhaps a little lighter and easier to follow, the banter quickly became inane, which prompted shouts from the crowd of "C-N-N! C-N-N!" followed by a smaller chant of "C-B-C! C-B-C!"

America Votes Obama party at The Bloor Cinema in Toronto

In between coverage, I caught them switching the feed to the CBC once, which gave some helpful Canadian context to the coverage, courtesy of Peter Mansbridge.

America Votes Obama party at The Bloor Cinema in Toronto

I wish they switched back more to the CBC election coverage at times, as the U.S. network was often a mess of so-called pundits chiming in with boring or irrelevant banter.

Sarah Palin lookalike contest during America Votes Obama Party at The Bloor Cinema

They also screened some vintage TV ads from the '50s and a trailer for Repo! The Genetic Opera when they weren't giving away prizes to trivia contestants and Sarah Palin lookalikes in attendance (there was really only one).

America Votes Obama party at The Bloor Cinema in Toronto with a cabaret-style performance

The commentary by NOW editors was almost nonexistent once the coverage got going. A cabaret-style striptease provided some comic relief at one point, however it didn't seem to fit in with the rest of the night's festivities.

America Votes Obama party at The Bloor Cinema in Toronto

After a while it got a bit hot and stuffy in the theatre, so I took a stroll down Bloor St. for some fresh air. At 9:15 p.m. there was still a lineup that snaked down Bloor Street and around the corner.

America Votes Obama surfing the online results at All Things Tea on Bloor Street

A little further down, at least three people following online coverage of the election on their laptops at All Things Tea. And Chippy's had an amusing sandwich board outside their shop.

America Votes Obama but Chippy's hates McCain

Back inside, the election race was heating up and all eyes were glued to the screen.

America Votes Obama party at The Bloor Cinema in Toronto

When the news came that Obama had won, we were still stuck watching The Comedy Network.

America Votes Obama party at The Bloor Cinema in Toronto

All the same, the capacity crowd roared in appreciation and jubilation. I even saw some people shed a few tears in the excitement.

America Votes Obama party at The Bloor Cinema in Toronto

While the official party ended then, most stuck around another hour or two to take in Senator John McCain's concession speech and Obama's victory speech.

John McCain on the big screen at America Votes Obama party at The Bloor Cinema in Toronto

Overall, I think this was a positive experience, sharing a moment of history with a bunch of fellow Torontonians.

Now we can look forward to Obama babies and One-of-a-kind Cabbage Patch Kids based on Barack Obama, John McCain, Joe Biden and Sarah Palin.

How was your U.S. election night experience? Did you venture out to a bar to take in the results with a gathering of strangers or did you follow along at home online or on TV?

Photos by Roger Cullman.


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