nathan phillips square raptors

Fans climbed the arches at Nathan Phillips Square to view the Raptors party

Over 100,000 people packed Nathan Phillips Square in Toronto for the Raptors' celebrations yesterday and it was tough to miss the people who decided to mark the occasion by climbing the iconic arches. 

Self-described Raptors super-fan Joseph Messi was among those who braved the climb and numerous photos from the day capture him high above the crowd.

nathan philiips square raptors

Joseph Messi climbed all the way to the top of the arches at Nathan Phillips Square. Photo by Hector Vasquez.

Messi, who went to Jurassic Park for every NBA Finals game, said he was filled with so much pride and excitement that he just had to do something drastic.

“My brother said don’t do it, but I couldn’t control myself,” he said. “I had so much love, excitement and support for the Toronto Raptors so I just jumped in and everyone started cheering ‘MVP’.”

nathan phillips square raptors

Plenty of Raptors fans decided to climb the arches during the Raptors' celebrations at Nathan Phillips Square. Photo by Hector Vasquez.

Other hardcore fans were seen climbing the arches too as well as traffic lights, the Toronto sign, scaffolding and more all across the city. 

Messi said he was prepared to get down if a security guard or police officer told him to, and even though no one did, he decided to come down when he saw others climbing the arches because he worried for their safety.

nathan phillips square raptors

Fans took all sorts of positions on the arches to try to get a better view of the festivities. Photo by Hector Vasquez.

Although Messi said he got off by choice, all climbers were eventually told to get down before the speeches could continue. 

Still, he said the climb was no big deal for him. He also climbed a large pole at Yonge and Dundas Square to celebrate the Raptors.

Messi said he used to live in France and during the World Cup, he would always find something to climb.

“When France won the world cup, I was planning to climb the Eiffel Tower,” he said. “But there’s just too much security. If there wasn’t any security, no doubt I would’ve climbed it.”

Messi said his climbing days are far from over.

“I like to always do different things,” he said. “Next time it will be a surprise. I want to be the Raptors spider-man. I’m ready for it.”

Lead photo by

Hector Vasquez


Join the conversation Load comments

Latest in Sports & Play

The massive waterpark at Canada's Wonderland opens for the summer this week

This incredible tropical beach is just two hours from Toronto

This hiking trail near Toronto comes with an epic waterfall

Toronto just got European-style bike infrastructure and cyclists are overjoyed

25 fun day trips from Toronto to add to your summer bucket list

Drake's son is going to be a basketball star one day but for now he's just adorable

People are getting stuck on rides at Canada's Wonderland again

35 natural wonders to explore in Ontario this summer