Football’s roots run deep in Hamilton.

Even the character of this city feels like a classic gridiron battle; where natural beauty and hard-nosed grit come together.

Soon, the city will add another chapter to its steeped 150+ years of football history when it welcomes the 110th CFL Grey Cup back to Hamilton Nov. 19, 2023. Hamilton last hosted the Grey Cup in 2021, for the first time in 25 years.

Read on for some historic football highlights and how you can connect with them before and after the big game.

1. Oskee What What?

“Oskee Wee Wee. Oskee Waa Waa. Holy Mackinaw. Tigers! Eat ’em raw!”

This cheer gets belted loud n’ proud at every Hamilton Tiger-Cats game. And when travelling Hamiltonians run into each other abroad, “Oskee Wee Wee” sometimes even serves as “hello”. But where did it come from? Back in the 1920s, a man named Vince Wirtz performed it at football games and the NHL’s Hamilton Tigers’ hockey games. The only difference between the original version and today was the original’s call for a “Whisky Waa Waa”. Hey, we’ll raise a glass to that!

Your Hamilton Game Plan:

Grey Cup attendees can cheer their hearts out at Tim Hortons Field come game day with a new outdoor tailgate arena and a huge performance stage. Explore the all-new enhanced stadium experience.

2. A Larger Than Life Legend

Angelo Mosca was a tough-as-nails defender for the Ticats through the ’60s and into the early ’70s. His gritty and tough style was pure Hamilton, making him one of the franchise’s most iconic players. That becomes even clearer when you see his imposing image immortalized in a couple of murals around the city.

The five-time Grey Cup champion, Football Hall of Famer, pro wrestler and Hamilton icon passed away in November at the age of 84.

Your Hamilton Game Plan

Head to the corner of John and Hunter Streets downtown to see the Scott McDonald designed mural of Mosca. See Norman Fournier’s mural-version of Mosca and teammate Garney Henley hoisting the 1972 Grey Cup in front of the Ivor Wynne faithful at Hutch’s on the Beach. And visit the West Town Bar & Grill on Locke Street for Tim Ninehouse’s mural of Tim Hortons Field from the top of the escarpment. See more great street art across the city with our mural guide.

3. The Stadium Stroll

The walk to Tim Hortons Field on game day is an only-in-Hamilton experience.

Nestled in Hamilton’s Stipley neighbourhood, the approach to the stadium is an experience in and of itself, with baseball fans fondly comparing it to a visit to Wrigley Field in Chicago. Fans fill the sidewalks, waving and “Oskee Wee Wee-ing” to the filled porches that line the streets; many hosting their own pregame festivities. Lawn parking is a brisk business. This is the urban tailgate. It’s the community of Canadian football at its finest.

Your Hamilton Game Plan

This experience is best served on game day, but a walk through the stadium neighbourhood on any day just feels like football. Want to see what else you can see, do and eat near the stadium? Here are our guides to East Hamilton and some Places to Eat Around Tim Hortons Field.

4. The Rhythm of the Game

In Hamilton, the music and football scenes feed off of each other. The most infamous concert in these parts happened at Ivor Wynne Stadium in 1975. Pink Floyd took the stage in front of a well-over capacity crowd of 55,000 - with mayhem expectedly ensuing. The city's own Arkells packed the stadium for their Rally concerts and 2021 Grey Cup halftime show.

Your Hamilton Game Plan

Punk rock legends Green Day are set to take the stage for this year's Grey Cup Halftime Show, for what’s sure to be an unforgettable performance. Add to this the Built in the Hammer Grey Cup Festival with headliner Carrie Underwood and more than 40 bands at Fan Central on James Street North.

5. The Historic & Revived Royal Connaught

During the Ticats heyday in the 1960s, the Royal Connaught Hotel was the epicentre for the team’s sendoff to six Grey Cup games. Pep rallies were held in front of the hotel as thousands of roaring fans would fill King Street and Gore Park. Downtown came alive to energize their football heroes - firing them up for battles where they captured three championships in the decade.

Your Hamilton Game Plan

The rejuvenated Royal Connaught stands proudly in the heart of downtown Hamilton in front of Gore Park with its iconic fountain. The condo complex is surrounded by plenty of great restaurants - including a number of local faves on nearby King William Street on a pretty, cobblestoned stretch dubbed “Restaurant Row”.

6. The Hallowed Hamilton AAA Grounds

The Tiger-Cats have made their home at the corner of Balsam and Beechwood - the site of Ivor Wynne Stadium and now Tim Hortons Field – for over 70 years. Prior to the Hamilton Tigers and Wildcats merging to become the modern-day Tiger-Cats, they clawed up the turf at the Hamilton AAA Grounds. In fact, this location was the host of the 2nd Grey Cup in 1910, which the Tigers lost to the Toronto Varsity Blues in front of 12,000 fans. The AAA Grounds went on to host a total of seven Grey Cups - with Hamilton teams winning four of those. It's Hamilton’s oldest sports park.

Your Hamilton Game Plan

Minus the grandstand, the Hamilton AAA Grounds still exist today. You can check it out on your way to Locke Street in the residential Kirkendall neighbourhood. The pretty and historic street is packed with local dining favourites like Donut Monster, Bardo, and the iconic West Town Bar & Grill.

7. Tim Hortons: a Stadium Namesake Nearby

The historic Ivor Wynn Stadium was rebuilt and reopen as Tim Hortons Field back in 2014. Get a shot of history (and caffeine) nearby on Ottawa Street North at the first-ever Tim Hortons location. First opened in 1964 by NHL legend Tim Horton at the corner of Ottawa Street North and Dunsmere Road, the flagship location now houses a mini-museum to honour the franchise’s roots.

Your Hamilton Game Plan

After your pilgrimage to this historic coffee and donut mecca, explore more of Ottawa Street North, home to Hamilton’s historic fabric district and great destination dining with must stops like Hambrgr, Cannon Coffee, Merk Snack Bar, Caro, and Millionaire’s Daughter.

Touchdown in Hamilton

As the 110th Grey Cup approaches, the excitement around the city continues to grow. This will be Hamilton’s 12th time hosting Canada’s greatest national get-together. Football fans are in store for a packed house at Tim Hortons Field - which boasts some of the best sightlines in football - and all the festivities that go along with it. The roar of the crowd, the pregame and halftime performances, and a massive slice of Canadian spirit are all part of what will be an incredible event.

Chris Sansilo

Chris Sanislo is a freelance copywriter who proudly calls Hamilton home. He provides creative writing support for a number of clients and agencies around the city. Find him at