OTTAWA -- For the first time in 667 days, the Ottawa Redblacks took to the field at TD Place for a CFL football game.

The largest event in Ottawa since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic saw 15,000 fans pack the stadium at Lansdowne to watch the Redblacks face the B.C. Lions. The Lions spoiled the party, beating the Redblacks 24-12 Saturday night.

"Touchdown right? This feels like some sort of a touchdown today that we're back," said Mark Goudie, CEO of the Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group.

It's the first Redblacks game in Ottawa since November 1, 2019.

”You got that nervous energy on game day here, probably amplified when we haven’t had a game for a couple of years," said Goudie. "But, you know there’s excitement for what’s to come and then there’s that ginormous game day to do list that everybody's feverishly trying to get done”

The game generated a buzz at Lansdowne Park and in the Glebe for the first time since large events were shutdown at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020.

"Feels pretty good. I'm excited to be here with my brother," said one fan outside TD Place before kick-off.

The return of CFL football and thousands of fans at TD Place a boost to fans spirits, and businesses in the area.

"It's incredible. We've had this day marked on a calendar for a little bit of time now," said Noah Busschaert, general manager of Jack Astor's Bar and Grill at Lansdowne.

"This is the probably as close to normal as we've gotten, so it's a good feeling for our group of people."

Under COVID-19 protocols, a maximum of 15,000 fans were permitted inside TD Place for the game.

Other COVID-19 measures in place under the TD Place COVID-19 Fan Safety plan include:

  • Mandatory face masks while inside the perimeter of TD Place
  • Digital tickets
  • TD Place is now cashless, with only debit and credit cards accepted
  • Guests will be assigned a mandatory gate for entry
  • Guests will no longer be permitted to re-enter the venue throughout the event

The Redblacks next home game is Friday, Sept. 3 against Montreal.