One of the best parts of watching World Cup soccer in Toronto is the ability to watch it with people who are passionate about the game in a way that many of us will never really understand.
Try watching a game with fans of Brazil at a place like College Street’s Bar Cervejaria as they are feverishly blowing whistles and pounding out samba beats on drums. Or hearing, blocks before you reach them, Korean fans chanting in the rain as they wait to watch a playoff game.
If you’re of Italian descent, you were probably on St. Clair Avenue on July 9, 2006 with hundreds of thousands of fellow fans, savouring a hard-won World Cup victory by Italy. If you followed France, you probably still haven’t gotten the image of the Zinedine Zidane headbutt out of your mind.
Nothing in international sport, short of an Olympic gold medal in hockey, ignites public displays of national pride in this city like the World Cup. This year, the madness starts on June 11.
Joseph Michael Howarth spent the 2006 World Cup tournament as a soccer tourist, roaming from venue to venue. He collected thousands of photographs and will open a gallery showing of them on Thursday, June 10 at the Rivoli Lounge on Queen Street West.
“You don’t even have to like soccer. You will find it fascinating, and you will begin to appreciate the sport,” he told CTV News.
“If you just watch the game at home, you’re not really going to get the thrill of the game.”
With that in mind, here’s some advice on where to go. We’ve grouped the teams, and offered some guidance on where to watch them, as follows:
* Brazil, Italy and Portugal
* European and Asian countries, plus the U.S., Australia and New Zealand
* Hispanic countries
This is a work in progress. Please feel free to contribute comments below if you have some soccer-watching tips to pass along.