Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and some 2 million other fans cheered the NBA champion Toronto Raptors on Monday in a victory celebration that united the nation, but the party was marred by a shooting that seriously wounded two people.
Five double-decker buses that carried the players and their families moved along the parade route at a snail’s pace due to the massive crowd, as players including Kawhi Leonard, who was named most valuable player of the NBA Finals, sprayed champagne on the fans.
The Canadian musician Drake, one of the team’s most prominent and outspoken fans, earned a place on one of the buses.
The convoy arrived nearly two hours behind schedule near Toronto’s city hall, where the team was greeted on a stage by Trudeau and other dignitaries.
The shooting interrupted an otherwise peaceful, six-hour bash that only began to clear out in the late afternoon. Two people were taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, Toronto police said on Twitter. Two also were taken into custody and two firearms were recovered, police said. An investigation is ongoing.
The shots were fired near Nathan Phillips Square, the parade’s final destination, during the victory speeches, causing hundreds of people to scatter for cover. However, it caused only a brief pause in the celebrations.
Canadians from coast to coast and all the way up to the Arctic have been celebrating since the Toronto Raptors captured their first National Basketball Association championship in a country that is traditionally known for its love of ice hockey.
The Raptors clinched the best-of-seven series in Oakland, California, on Thursday in six games by beating the defending champion Golden State Warriors 114-110, giving rise to a nationwide love affair with basketball.