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Canadians gather to watch Americans cast their vote in U.S. election

People wait for results at Democratic presidential nominee former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's election night event at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center November 8, 2016 in New York City. Clinton is running against Republican nominee, Donald J. Trump to be the 45th President of the United States.

Elsa/Getty Images

Across Canada, people began gathering Tuesday for the season finale of the ultimate political reality TV show: the U.S. presidential election.

From coast to coast to coast, Canadians and Americans in Canada were glued to television sets and computers as the tallies came in.

America Votes: Coverage of the 2016 U.S. election night

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In Halifax, at a north-end pub where live results were projected on big screens inside and outside, Laura Neals said she wanted to get together with friends to take in an evening she called "historic."

Neals said she was especially excited at the possibility Hillary Clinton could become the first female president in the U.S., which would become the 60th country — including Canada — to have had a woman in charge.

"It's a moment that is important for America but I think it's important for every woman in the world," Neals, 29, said as she sipped on a beer. "It feels like a new frontier and I'm excited to see it in real life, in real time."

One Toronto hotel, which dubbed the election campaign "braggattrocious," was already packed as the first polling stations south of the border closed and a large television set screened the incoming numbers.

On hand was Elizabeth Littlejohn, a communications and new media professor, who had two sets of Kleenex with her:

"This little one is for if Hillary wins, and this big one is for if Trump wins," Littlejohn said.

Nearby, another hotel pub selling $10-themed cocktails — Locker Room Talk and My Own Private Emails — was scrambling to accommodate everyone looking to watch.

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Anne Leathers, a New Yorker in Toronto for work, said it blew her mind how many people were talking about the election in Canada.

"It's a bit like a reality TV show for everyone outside of America," Leathers said. "I work for a British company and it's very much like that for them."

With politics going up against the puck drop, one Montreal pub was planning to screen hockey on the main floor and host an election-viewing party upstairs.

No matter who wins, said Maria Rajanayagam with the American Chamber of Commerce in Vancouver, the vote was worth celebrating as history in the making.

"This is such a momentous occasion of either having the first woman president elected or having a very independent person elected," said Rajanayagam, who was planning to join a few hundred Canadians and Americans at a downtown hotel to watch.

"It's the most talked about election for a very long time and it's one that definitely needed to be celebrated, so here we are."

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Outside Churchill, Man., Jim Halfpenny hoped to be taking in the results via computer at the Churchill Northern Studies centre, where there is no TV.

"I'm scared about the outcome and more scared than I've been for the last six elections," Halfpenny said.

A more sedate — if no less intense — affair was a semi-closed event at an east-end Toronto venue hosted by the U.S. Consulate itself, where Consulate General Juan Alsace and a handful of officials were watching along with guests, who passed security screening to get in.

"This is less of a 'drink and yell at the big screen viewing' party and more a 'sit down and watch' with a politics-loving crowd," the consulate said.

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