Red Deer basketball fans can watch the Toronto Raptors play against the Golden State Warriors in Game 5 of the NBA Final on Monday in “Deerassic Park,” the city’s version of Toronto’s “Jurassic Park.” File photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS

Raptors fever fuels viewing party at Servus Arena

Much of Canada has its eyes locked on the Toronto Raptors’ quest for a championship – and Red Deer is no different.

A viewing party for Game 5 of the final between Canada’s only NBA team and the defending champion Golden State Warriors will be held at Servus Arena on Monday night.

“We’re trying to pick up on the excitement that’s growing across Canada. You see these viewing parties popping up in other communities, and Red Deer wanted to hop onto the bandwagon,” said Barb McKee, Red Deer recreation superintendent.

Servus Arena will become “Deerassic Park” – Red Deer’s version of “Jurassic Park,” a public location in Toronto where fans can watch the game on a big screen.

Cities across the country, including Halifax and several communities in Ontario, have had viewing parties throughout the playoffs. Many of the events have been outdoors, but Red Deer’s venue will be inside.

“We want to be able to control the lighting to make sure our projected image works well, so we chose to go inside,” said McKee.

The game will be projected on an inflatable 25-foot screen, which will be temporarily installed on the floor of the arena. The same sized screen has been used by the city during Movie Night in the Park screenings.

City staff has been “pleasantly surprised” by the reaction Deerassic Park has received on social media, McKee said.

“I just checked earlier this afternoon, and there were more than 700 people who indicated they were interested or are definitely going to the event on Monday.”

McKee said she’s only a little surprised by how much Canada has gotten behind the Raptors.

“To me, it boils down to Canadian pride, and we’re just so enthusiastic to have a team competing on a stage like this.”

As far as McKee knows, this is the first time the city has hosted a sporting event viewing party like this.

Liquor and food will be available at the family-friendly event as well. Attendees are encouraged to bring their own lawn chairs.

Hunting Hills High School drummers will welcome attendees to the arena before the game.

Doors for Deerassic Park open at 6:30 and tipoff is 7 p.m.

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