The Blue Jays are finally back in Toronto Friday, and Niagara Falls is pulling out all the stops.
To mark the team’s first game at Rogers Centre in 22 months, the Niagara Falls Illumination Board will light up the Horseshoe Falls and American Falls in blue and white from 10 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.
Skylon Tower and Niagara Fallsview Casino Resort will also be lit in blue and white for much of the night, while tourist attractions including Niagara City Cruises and Niagara Skywheel will share photos with Blue Jays flags.
Niagara Falls Tourism president Janice Thomson said the illuminations will make for a “breathtaking welcome home” for Canada’s baseball team, and “a unique symbol of the united support the team has received from both nations these past two years.”
The Jays start a three-game series with the Royals Friday, their first game at home since an 8-3 win over Tampa Bay on Sept. 29, 2019.
During the shortened 2020 season, the team played its home games in Buffalo. This season, home games began in Dunedin, Fla., before returning to Buffalo in June.
This weekend marks the first time Toronto fans will see new team members George Springer and Hyun-Jin Ryu, or witness a possible MVP season by Vladimir Guerrero Jr.
The Jays received a National Interest Exemption, allowing them to cross the border without undergoing Canada’s COVID-19 travel restrictions. Earlier this month, Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino said the decision was made in conjunction with the Public Health Agency of Canada along with provincial and municipal health officials.
Team members must still undergo pre- and post-arrival testing upon crossing the border. Unvaccinated players will be tested an additional four times per week and not be permitted to travel anywhere except the stadium and hotel.
Marnie Starkman, the team’s executive vice-president of business operations, said the illumination of Niagara Falls will be a “truly special welcome back, especially on the route between the Blue Jays’ home away from in Buffalo and our true home in Toronto.”
Footage of the illumination will be shared on the Sportsnet game broadcast.
A special edition of Blue Jays Central on Sportsnet starts at 6 p.m. Friday, followed by the game at 7:07 p.m.