Close to 4,000 people attended an event in Toronto on Monday to celebrate the Canadian launch of Pokémon Go, formalizing a practice that had been going on unofficially, and on a much smaller scale, since the game launched in the U.S. on July 6.
In the intervening two weeks, it's believed that nearly 6% of Canadian Android owners downloaded the game, though that number has certainly spiked since its official launch on Sunday.
Great view showcasing the turnout for today's meeting. Go Toronto! Pokemon GO a major success pic.twitter.com/b8BcspBMA5Great view showcasing the turnout for today's meeting. Go Toronto! Pokemon GO a major success pic.twitter.com/b8BcspBMA5— Logic Gate Studios (@LogicGateStudio) July 19, 2016July 19, 2016
Monday's launch event was organized over Facebook by eSports events company Legacy Gamers. Held at the CN Tower, a well-known Toronto landmark, players rushed to the venue after 8pm in search of friends, enemies, and rare Pokémon.
As we've told you in our many guides, Pokémon Go is at its most exciting and dynamic the more people congregate in a single area. That dynamism is heightened by the presence of Gyms and PokéStops, the reason for the CN Tower's selection, since there are several of both nearby.
There was even a real Pikachu in the crowd.
Some companies were taking advantage of the hoards of people to promote their wares, like this gaming store offering free ice cream to those on Team Valor (go red!).
#TeamValor gets delicious Ice Cream in #toronto today! Just swing by the shop. #PokemonGoToronto pic.twitter.com/lccnmigJb0#TeamValor gets delicious Ice Cream in #toronto today! Just swing by the shop. #PokemonGoToronto pic.twitter.com/lccnmigJb0— FaceToFaceGames TO (@F2FToronto) July 18, 2016July 18, 2016
Despite the crowds there were no security-related issues (the area was cordoned off and protected by police) and everyone seemed to have a good time — the result we want to see after a fortnight of robberies, accidents and negative press.
Thanks to friend of the site @gilbertp23 for the on-site photos.
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Daniel Bader is a Senior Editor at iMore, offering his Canadian analysis on Apple and its awesome products. In addition to writing and producing, Daniel regularly appears on Canadian networks CBC and CTV as a technology analyst.