Horse-in-hotel tradition continues in Vancouver, as Stamps' fans invade Holiday Inn (photos)

55 Yard Line

Vancouver and Toronto are often compared, but the former has a clear advantage over the latter as a Grey Cup host city; it's easier to get a horse in a hotel. Yes, the famed Calgary Grey Cup Committee tradition (which can trace its origins back to the 1948 cross-country train trip to Toronto with horses along, often cited as the true beginning of the Grey Cup Festival) of riding a horse through a fancy hotel lobby happened again this year, with Fletcher Armstrong (the same rider from 2012) taking his horse to Vancouver's Holiday Inn this time. There was far less drama about this than there was about the saga of Marty The Horse in 2012, where Royal York Hotel management initially rejected the idea of equine hijinks, forcing Armstrong and Marty to seek refuge in banks and bars before a flood of social media outrage compelled them to recant. The horse hijinks ran much smoother this year (as they did in 2013 in Regina as well), with Armstrong and his horse, "Tuffy," even managing to get some beer inside the hotel:

Tuffy and Fletcher Armstrong receive some beer inside the Holiday Inn. (Ben Nelms/Reuters.)
Tuffy and Fletcher Armstrong receive some beer inside the Holiday Inn. (Ben Nelms/Reuters.)

The horse-in-a-hotel practice may seem odd to outsiders, but it represents one of the many great Canadian elements of the Grey Cup, the interprovincial rivalries. Calgary fans have always been famed for bringing the party and kicking down some of the stodginess, and the horse is a big part of that. (The free pancake breakfasts they serve during Grey Cup week also help.) With the Stampeders in the Grey Cup, it's thoroughly appropriate for these fans to keep this tradition going. Good for Vancouver (and for the Holiday Inn management in particular) for having a sense of humour and not trying to resist the horse. It's a valuable tradition, of course, of course...

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