Dozens of flashing media cameras, a red carpet and a mob of fans were part of the frenzy downtown on Thursday when a four-legged visitor gained newfound celebrity in Toronto.  

Marty the horse, the Calgary Stampeders’ mascot, embarked on a tour ahead of Sunday’s big game against the Argonauts, eating apples and leaving some road apples in his wake.

Stampeders fans carried on an equine Grey Cup tradition by riding Marty up to the front of the Fairmont Royal York hotel on Front Street at 10 a.m. where the animal received a red carpet welcome and a chef presented a silver bucket of carrots.

Marty wasn’t permitted to saddle up to the hotel’s front desk, and was forced to stay outside. But hotel staff had a change of heart and decided to let him in at 2 p.m.

In 1948, Calgary fans paraded the team’s horse through the Royal York on Front Street ahead of the Grey Cup final.

On Thursday, Marty then made his way, followed by fans and cheerleaders, to First Canadian Place where he was allowed inside.

Citytv then extended some horse-pitality, offering Marty some apples and a peek inside a studio.

He was then scheduled to head to McVeigh’s pub on Church Street and to the Holiday Inn on Carlton Street around 5 p.m.

The Stampeders’ stand-in mascot, will also make an appearance at Sunday’s Grey Cup final at Rogers Centre. The Stampeders’ official horse, Quick Six, gallops along the sidelines of Calgary’s McMahon Stadium during games.

Officials from the CFL and Rogers Centre said the stand-in horse won’t be allowed to run along the sidelines of the Toronto stadium due to safety concerns. But he will stand in the stadium’s northeast corner. The rider, Karyn Drake, said she’ll be allowed in the stadium but will only be permitted to sit — not ride — on the horse.

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The Argonauts’ rivals are hosting two Western-style pancake breakfasts at Nathan Phillips Square on Friday and Saturday mornings. There will be live music, giveaways and line dancing.

The fan zone opens Thursday at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre’s south building and runs through to Sunday between 4 p.m. and 1 a.m. Fans will get the chance to collect autographs from hall of famers and current CFL stars.

Click here for a full list of Grey Cup festivities

Meanwhile, festivities are continuing in downtown on Thursday. Fans will get the chance to test their football skills on a mini-football field at Yonge-Dundas Square, where there are cheerleader performances, live music and food.

Over at Nathan Phillips Square thrill-seekers can ride the tallest urban zip line in North America, challenge themselves on a Canadian Forces obstacle course and enjoy food prepared by top chefs and culinary students.

And the league’s best players will be celebrated Thursday night at the Gibson’s Finest Player Awards at Koerner Hall on Bloor Street, near St. George.

Visitors arriving at Pearson International Airport will also experience the CFL buzz when 10,000 foam fingers will be given away. The world’s largest foam fingers will also be on display in Terminals 1 and 3. A Canadian Football Hall of Fame and Museum exhibition will also be on display in Terminal 1.