Bar owners, fans prepare for Blue Jays return to Canada: ‘This experience will go down in the Buffalo history books’

Buffalo Bisons & Blue Jays

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — The Toronto Blue Jays may not be calling Buffalo home for much longer. A source tells News 4 the Blue Jays have received municipal approval to return home to Toronto.

Club officials have submitted an application to federal officials in Canada which is what they call the final hurdle to clear before returning.

Brendan Swords is the bar manager of Washington Square Bar and Grill across from Sahlen Field and said business has been booming since the Blue Jays came to town. He said he knows they have to go home eventually but he’s not looking forward to it.

The team is scheduled to stay in Buffalo through the homestand that ends on July 21. The source says they hope to be back at Rogers Centre for a scheduled home game on July 30.

Swords bought Washington Square Bar and Grill back in January and opened in February – during the height of the pandemic. He said the Blue Jays coming to town is the best thing that could’ve happened at that time.

“Never did we ever imagine having the Blue Jays here, an MLB team in Buffalo,” Swords said. “Business was booming with them, we could not keep up with anything involved and that was a great thing for us. We were selling out of beer, food, everything left and right. You name it, we couldn’t keep it in stock. We actually added in a whole new patio just for the Blue Jays coming to town.”

The Blue Jays have been playing home games at Sahlen Field since June 1.

Swords said as COVID-19 rates go down in Canada, he’s preparing for the inevitable.

“I’d love to see them stay longer but I completely understand they are based in Toronto, that is their home and it was nice for the time being having them in Buffalo for the last month or two.”

Blue Jays fans in the 716 say this experience will go down in the Buffalo history books.

Rich Damaro is from Buffalo and just visiting his hometown this week. “It’s amazing, we always were a great sports town, I’m an age-old Bills fan, I grew up in the city and it would be great to see the Blue Jays stay,” he said.

“I live right down here so its nice to walk down here. I do miss the Bisons but it’s nice to have a Major League Baseball team here,” said Shelby Termini.

While he’ll miss the business the Blue Jays have brought in, Swords said he’s also excited to meet the Bisons fans.

“To have the Blue Jays here as long as we did, it was a blessing. They had to go back eventually,” he said. “As far as Bisons go. I’d love to see them here, I’d love to have them back, it’ll be great experience.”

Kayla Green is a reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2021. See more of her work here.

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