Sarnia's Valley Axe hosting a Toronto Raptors viewing party for Game 5 of the NBA Finals. June 10, 2019. (Photo by Valley Axe)

Raptors run inspires Valley Axe owners

The hosts of Sarnia’s “Jurassic Park” are calling their Raptors viewing parties a huge success, and they’re already looking to organize similar events in the future.

Valley Axe projected games three through six of the NBA Finals on a 30-foot screen at the former Bluewater Fun Park on London Line.

Owner Bo Tait said they had screaming fans for every viewing party despite rainy weather for Thursday night’s championship-clinching game.

“For Game 5 Monday night, for a 9 p.m. start, we had over 200 people come out– I mean in Sarnia that’s a huge feat. I would’ve never expected that many people to jump on board with what we were doing. It was really an amazing crowd,” he said. “This used to be the Bluewater Fun Park and there’s a ton of memories back here. The park’s gone now so we wanted to make sure that it became a useable space to create new memories and that’s exactly what we accomplished.”

Tait said Sarnia’s “Jurassic Park” was about the experience, not the money.

“We didn’t charge anyone to come in, it was just free to enter. Because it was such a momentous occasion– for some people they’ve never seen a Canadian team win a championship– we just wanted to provide a service to the community that wasn’t going to break the bank,” said Tait. “These fans are going to get to remember some really dramatic moments on an outdoor 30-foot screen surrounded by 200 people. I mean I remember where I was when the Blue Jays won in 1992 and I was just watching with my family at home.”

Tait said he knew there was a demand for the parties after speaking with a number of local Raptors fans.

“We knew we were set up for this type of community event, so we took a stab at it and it really worked out for us,” he said. “We’ve had a lot of requests already for us to do more, such as the Women’s World Cup, the Super Bowl, a Blue Jays playoff run. So I think it’s pretty obvious that there’s a demand for this and we would like to continue with this type of operation.”

Tait said upwards of 500 people could fit in the space for future events.

The Toronto Raptors took down the Golden State Warriors 114-110 on Thursday, to win the NBA Finals best-of-seven series 4-2.