60 places to watch the 2014 World Cup in Toronto
World Cup soccer in Toronto is going to be huge this summer. The tournament kicks off Thursday afternoon at 4:00pm with hosts Brazil playing Croatia at the Arena Corinthians in Sao Paolo. Over the next month, 32 countries will battle it out for the ultimate sporting prize: a chance to hoist the famous green and gold trophy and the all-important right to be insufferable for the next four years.
Even casual soccer fans will find something to like this year. Brazil is just an hour ahead of Toronto, so kick off times are bar and patio friendly--no midnight wake-up calls or 5:00am starts.
If you're wondering what happened to Canada, the team finished third in their North, Central America, and Caribbean qualifying group behind the mighty Honduras and Panama, therefore failing to proceed to the next round. But, don't fret. Who needs Canada when there are so many other great countries to support. Here is our guide to watching the 2014 World Cup in Toronto.
If partisan crowds aren't your thing, there is a dizzying selection of quality places to catch a game this summer in Toronto. The Queen and Beaver, though listed here as a place for England fans to cheer on their team, is also a good neutral option. Likewise, Cafe Diplomatico on College might be famous for its Italian affiliation, but the bar will be showing all games this tournament and is a good option for fans of European teams throughout the tournament.
As the name implies, the Football Factory at Queen and Bathurst is also a solid bet. The place will be overflowing with clamouring football-sorry, soccer-fans so arrive early and grab a spot on the patio. On Roncesvalles, local stalwart The Dizzy will be packed with delirious fans. Midtown soccer fans will want to hit up Scallywag's, which always sports a rabid fan base (expect English and Brazilian fans).
PUBLIC VIEWINGS AREAS
The CBC is setting up three viewing lounges at the Eaton Centre: at Trinity Way, at the Urban Eatery, and on the third level near the Queen Street bridge. The areas will be open for all matches that coincide with mall hours. The atrium of the CBC building on Front Street is also playing host to viewing parties throughout the tourney--"three storeys of LED screens."
On Adelaide St. W., Copacabana Brazilian Steakhouse is hosting a slew of several World Cup viewing parties. The venue is promising to remain neutral, but there's a good chance it will lean Brazilian as the tournament goes on. Games will be shown on LED TVs on the open-air third floor and there will be drink promotions and other entertainment.
During the third place consolation game and the World Cup final, CIBC, the CBC, and Budweiser are teaming up for a Brazilian-themed festival at Front and John streets. On Saturday, bands Alysha Barilla, Jordan John, and Shad will perform with a Brazilian band. Sunday sees the broadcast of the final and a concert from featuring Maestro. Drink in the Budweiser beer garden, yell in CIBC's "cheer booth," and take part in Adidas giveaways.
In Newmarket, Upper Canada Mall will be showing all of the games that fall within shopping hours on large flat screen TVs surrounded by lounge seating.
Not exactly public, but if you want to watch the game outside in the sun on a huge screen, Cabana Pool Bar will be screening games on a 21ft LED screen. They also plan to host a Brazilian beach party on Saturday, June 21.
Bosnia and Herzegovina
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What did we miss? Add your favourite country-specific World Cup spot and we'll add it to our list.
Chris Bateman is a staff writer at blogTO. Follow him on Twitter at @chrisbateman.
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