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Huge Montreal Canadiens flag flies over Toronto city hall after latest Maple Leafs collapse

Huge Montreal Canadiens flag flies over Toronto city hall after latest Maple Leafs collapse
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Calling it one of his toughest tasks as mayor, lifelong Toronto Maple Leafs fan John Tory raised a huge Montreal Canadiens flag at Toronto city hall.

“This one, I will admit, was painful,” said Tory who on Thursday fulfilled terms of the bet he lost with Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante over whose NHL team would win their first-round playoff series.

Plante, Tory said, was “rubbing it in a little bit” when she sent an oversized flag. He joked that he now knows why she sent it by VIA train instead of mail.

Earlier Tory, under terms of their bet over whose team would the Original Six matchup, sent Plante some Toronto craft beer and peameal bacon sandwiches from the St. Lawrence Market.

The Habs came back from a 3-1 series deficit to win Game 7 on May 31 , sending the Leafs, once again, to an early summer vacation.

Tory’s pennant-raising obligations came days after the CN Tower glowed in Montreal’s team colours as a show of support for the only Canadian team left in the playoffs, a tribute to an archrival that rankled Tory and many Leafs fans.

On Thursday a handful of red-clad Montreal fans clapped and cheered as the mayor, decked out in Leafs paraphernalia, raised the bleu-blanc-rouge flag. Asked how long it would remain up, Tory quipped “five minutes.”

He also predicted the Leafs will next year win their first Stanley Cup in 55 years, so some other mayor will be hoisting the Leafs’ colours at their city hall.

Bernardo Pollard, a 46-year-old Torontonian who fell in love with the Habs as a young kid, came to Nathan Phillips Square to see the flag spectacle.

“It doesn’t happen too often,” Pollard said, “so I had to be here to support Canada’s team — the Montreal Canadiens.”
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