Here We Are Now Tifo-tain Us!

Here We Are Now Tifo-tain Us!

It has been more than a quarter of a century since Canada had its own top flight association football league. Now, after several years of planning and preparations, the Canadian Premier League is set to launch today, as Forge FC host York 9 in Hamilton.

The stadium, bearing the name of Canada’s most well-known coffee shop, is expected to be filled with the masses to catch a first glimpse at what the play will look like on the pitch. I too can’t wait to see the football, but there are other elements of the match day that I also have great anticipation for. At the top of that list is the tifo that supporters will create.

Over the years I have come to deeply appreciate visual displays, or tifo. Planning, creating, and deploying such expressions of support are one of the ways that I have spent time with people in the football community. The long hours and required collaborations have led to the friendships that have enriched my life in a variety of ways. I am grateful to have been involved in a number of efforts over the years that I felt are quality and have stood the test of time.

I have spent a bit of time reflecting on some of the displays that have been put together over the years for matches in Canada. Below are a couple of lists. The first is made up of three displays made in honour of people who have passed away. Next are three displays for across the country that I have respect for. The final three are ones that I got to be a part of.

What is your favourite display done in support of a Canadian club or national team? Which Canadian Premier League side are you most looking forward to seeing how their supporters create displays? Post in the comments below.

IN MEMORIAM

(3) Thank You, Jarrek (The Voyageurs)
Sunday, March 24, 2019
BC Place
CMNT 4 French Guinea 1 (CONCACAF League Qualifier)

A small display made for a dear member of U-Sector and the Voyageurs, Jarrek, who passed away in 2018. Jarrek was involved in supporter culture in various ways, including designing the U-Sector logo and the Voyageurs scarf. Thank you Jarrek for your lasting contributions to supporter culture in our country!

Photo Credit: Zachary Adam Meisenheimer

(2) More Than A Number (Curva Collective)
Saturday, May 20, 2017
BC Place
Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2 Sporting Kansas City 0 (MLS)

Surrey United FC and former Vancouver Whitecaps FC Youth player Travis Selje was tragically killed in 2017. Curva Collective honoured Travis with this small display depicting his numbers for SUFC and VWFC.

Photo Credit: Jay Mayede (for Curva Collective)

(1) Dom 170 (Curva Collective)
Saturday, October 4, 2014
BC Place
Vancouver Whitecaps 2 FC Dallas 0 (MLS)

Curva Collective honoured the greatest goal scorer in the history of the Vancouver Whitecaps, Domenic Mobilio. The concept was for a display with a bit of animation and was the brainchild of AFTN (and Curva Collective partner) Steve Pandher. The image has Dom in a shooting stance and a hole was placed where his foot would follow through. For the display 170 (very light weight plastic) footballs were pushed through the whole with an industrial blower (thanks for the hardware, Brandon Smid!) to represent his 170 goals for the club.

Photo Credit: Tom Ewasiuk (for AFTN)

ACROSS CANADA

(3) THANK YOU!! (U-Sector and Red Patch Boys)
Saturday, October 17, 2009
BMO Field
Toronto FC 1 Real Salt Lake 0 (MLS)

Danny Dichio will always be synonymous with the early years of TFC. Scored their first goal and is a legend of their club and continues to be a coach of their younger players. For his final ever home league match for the club U-Sector and Red Patch Boys got together to create a thank you overhead that covered the entire south stand at BMO Field. The design is quite simple, but the size and the sentiment attached put this far up the list.

(2) Vers Un Nouveau Titre A Notre Heritage – To A New Title In Our History (UM02)
Tuesday, March 3, 2015
Stade Olympique
Montreal Impact FC 1 vs Pachuca 1 (3-3 Montreal advances on away goals)
CONCACAF Champions’ League Quarter Final Second Leg

On their way to making a historic appearance in the CCL final, Montreal first knocked out Pachuca in the quarters thanks to a late Cameron Porter strike and this stunning display.

Photo Credit: UM02 website

(1) Our Funhouse…Your Nightmare: Welcome To The Circus (Toronto Supporters)
Saturday, August 27, 2016
BMO Field
Toronto FC 0 Montreal Impact FC 1 (MLS)

The League and Cup matches between Toronto and Montreal this year rose to new levels. In the past Montreal had done tifo depicting Toronto as clowns, so riffed on that with this great circus display that saw the curtain of the big top being drawn back to reveal a creepy clown. Good job to all involved.

Photo Credit: Youtube

SOME PERSONAL FAVOURITES

(3) Canada Flag (The Voyageurs)
Friday, March 25, 2016
BC Place
CMNT 0 vs. Mexico 3 (CONCACAF World Cup Qualifier)

A very simple concept that was executed quite well by everyone in the Voyageurs’ sections for this sellout match at BC Place. Unfortunately, the result didn’t match up to quality of the display. A member occasion nonetheless.

Photo Credit: Nik Williams-Walshe

(2) The Art Of Football (Curva Collective & Vancouver Southsiders)
Saturday, August 30, 2014
BC Place
Vancouver Whitecaps FC 0 Portland Timbers FC 3 (MLS/Cascadia Cup)

Based on Sung Tzu’s The Art Of War, this joint effort between Curva Collective and the Southsiders feature the starting line-up (thanks to the generosity of Carl Robinson). The ‘keeper and defenders were on the VSS side of the tunnel with the word banner reading, “Invincibility Lies In The Defence” while the midfielders and strikers were on our side of the tunnel with the word banner that read, “The Possibility Of Victory In The Attack”. The overhead piece on the tunnel, mimicked the book’s design and had The Art Of Football in both Chinese and English (thank you Ricky Pak!). One of my favourite collaborations over the years.

Photo Credit: Tom Ewasiuk (for AFTN)

(1) The Will To Conquer Is The First Condition Of Victory (Curva Collective)
Saturday, March 2, 2013
BC Place
Vancouver Whitecaps FC 1 vs. Toronto FC 0 (MLS)

You never forget your first large scale display and this was Curva Collective’s. It came at the first league match of 2013. John Humphries came up with the words (from a French soldier during World War I) that went so well with the image of the Vancouver skyline, the fist coming out of BC Place and the rays. Gershon Koffie showed the will to win and scored the only goal of the game before celebrating with us at the final whistle. This display was turned into t-shirts and also into the movement’s iconic fist flag.

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Zachary Meisenheimer
Authored by: Zachary Meisenheimer

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