The Labour Day Classic is officially on.
The city of Hamilton building department issued a temporary occupancy permit for Tim Hortons Field Sunday night, paving the way the way for Monday's clash between the Hamilton Tiger-Cats and the Toronto Argonauts.
The documentation was completed less than 18 hours before the scheduled 1 p.m. kickoff at the $145 million stadium after City inspectors spent much of Sunday making sure the facility met the necessary requirements. It's good for just 12 hours, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Monday.
"We can now confidently assure the public that my staff have conducted a thorough inspection and can confirm that Tim Hortons Field meets all of the safety requirements for this permit under Ontario Building Code," City of Hamilton chief building official Ed VanderWindt said in a release.
And the stadium, which has been plagued by delays, is far from complete. Capacity for Monday's game will be just 18,000, which is 6,000 short of its intended capacity, with the entire upper section of the west side grandstand still unavailable.
A fire in the early hours of Saturday morning which caused $25,000 worth damage wasn't enough to scuttle the opening. Damage was limited to a mechanical room which controls the air conditioning units for corporate suites that are not ready for Monday's game.
Game preparations have been ongoing for several days, with Ticat employees working alongside construction crews to get the stadium ready for the crush of fans expected for the sold out game. The players got their first look at the dressing room at team facilities on Sunday and reviews, were, unsurprisingly, very good.
“Everyone is excited. It's like walking into you new house. It's top-of-the-line, next level stuff,” said veteran offensive lineman Tim O'Neill. “It's the nicest locker room I've ever been so it's going to be nice to call it home.”