Sunday, September 15th, 2019 was the day of the She The North rally. For those living under the proverbial rock, the rally was a celebration and homecoming for Bianca Andreescu, the winner of the U.S Open tennis tournament.
Andreescu is a 19-year old from Mississauga that defeated the greatest female tennis player of all-time, Serena Williams, last Saturday to win the U.S Open. Suffice to say, it was a once-in-a-lifetime achievement and Andreescu is more than worthy of some celebration.
Fitting then, that the rally took place at Mississauga’s Celebration Square. Thousands of Mississauga natives gathered at the Square to cheer, chant, and get a glimpse of Canada’s newest star. Around 5:30 PM, dignitaries were brought on stage, including Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie, former Mayor Hazel McCallion, Toronto Mayor John Tory, and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
TSN’s resident tennis expert, Mark Roe, opened up proceedings by, perhaps controversially, saying he believes Andreescu’s win at the U.S Open is the biggest sports story of the year. Roe’s implication is that Andreescu is a big story than the Toronto Raptors winning the NBA Championship. And speaking of the Raptors, the lovable mascot, The Raptor, was on hand to dance on stage.
Justin Trudeau took to the podium and stated that Bianca is an inspiration to all Canadians, and cited her parents as well. The Andreescu’s emigrated to Canada from Romania before having their daughter, thus being a highlight for Canada’s immigration system. Trudeau said that Bianca’s determination and perseverance is proof that today’s youth are tomorrow’s leaders.
Toronto Mayor, John Tory, also came to the podium and said Bianca is “Canada’s champion, she’s the GTA’s champion”. Tory also announced that today, Monday September 16th, from here onward will be Bianca Andreescu Day in Toronto. Not a bad achievement for a 19 year old.
Alas, that wasn’t the end of the celebrations. Mayor Bonnie Crombie then came to the podium and reiterated how proud she, and the entire city, is of Andreescu. She stated that Bianca’s humility and grace in the wake of her monumental win embodies the spirit of Mississauga and Canada. And then she presented Bianca with the key to the city!
And finally, it was time for Andreescu herself to take the stage. After receiving a heroes welcome on her way to the stage – including a rather iconic moment standing with the Canadian flag surrounded by fans and Romanian flags – Bianca rather fittingly began with “wow, this is crazy.”
The 19-year old star expressed her disbelief about the crowd in attendance and the fact that she is where she is. She said that she is proof, as is Serena Williams and Roger Federer, that anyone can do whatever they want, and encouraged everyone to try. And then, in a very nice touch, she finished her speech with “I love you” to the city of Mississauga.
And that was pretty much the end of the rally. Andreescu posed for photos with Trudeau, Mayor Crombie, Mayor Tory, Hazel McCallion and more, before posing for countless photos with fans. There will be a street named after her in Mississauga, although the location of that was not announced at the rally.
— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) September 16, 2019
The thousands that came out to cheer for Andreescu were in fine voice, despite the poor weather. And Bianca got the heroes welcome she deserved and it’s a very proud moment in the city’s history. She The North was a terrific event in the heart of Mississauga, which was very fitting because young Bianca Andreescu represents that pounding heart very well indeed.